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Skinny Wolf Ribbon Rosettes

TDF Open House 2017

If we’re being honest, most parents secretly (and some not so subtly) want their kids to be winners. The good no-tears news is that everyone gets to be Best in Show with these charming hand-made rosettes from local talent, Leila Sanderson!

Today the talented Skinny Wolf founder takes us through her handmade kids’ range, and shares some of the incredible designs she’s created for TDF Open House, on now until Sunday in Collingwood.

23rd November, 2017

Skinny Wolf rosettes, handcrafted by Leila Sanderson on display in her home. Photo – Emily Weaving.

Skinny Wolf rosettes are available at TDF Open House, currently running until Sunday November 26th, 10am-5pm daily. Photo – Emily Weaving.

‘All parts of my work life are part-time but they add up to full-time!’ tells the designer/florist/multi-skilled maker. Photo – Emily Weaving.

Aach one-of-a-kind rosette is made by precisely folding premium grosgrain ribbon, and anchoring it with meticulous stitches and knots. Photo – Emily Weaving.

Leila imports her premium ribbons from the US and often scours the web for beautiful vintage supplies. Photo – Emily Weaving.

‘Humans love rewards in life and we also like to feel part of a gang,’ explains Leila, in response to the popularity of her designs. Photo – Emily Weaving.

Shot from  a conceptual, Napoleon-inspired collaborative project, for which Leila created the costume, and styled. Floral head dress by Katie Marx and modelling by Lana Malouf. Photo – Lilli Waters.

Her rotational symmetric design, or cockade, is an 18th century millinery technique and is in fact derived from a French word meaning show-off. Photo – Emily Weaving.

Elle Murrell
Thursday 23rd November 2017

‘Humans love rewards in life and we also like to feel part of a gang.’ – Leila Sanderson of Skinny Wolf.

Leila Sanderson always wanted to be a shopkeeper, and in 2014 she ‘finally’ did it, launching her online store Skinny Wolf!! Inspired by her childhood loves of ‘playing house or in the mud, dressing up, drawing, picking flowers, and reading fairy tales’, her range includes hand-stitched quilts, printed soft furnishings, art prints, mini teepees, AND those show-stopping ribbon rosettes.

While rosettes may have historically been worn to show one’s political or military allegiance, for Leila, they’re about celebrating life’s milestones, saying thanks or just for showing off! Her rotational symmetric design, or ‘cockade’, is an 18th century millinery technique and is in fact derived from a French word meaning ‘show-off’ – even Napoleon was a fan! The designer/florist/multi-skilled maker first came across the process in an old French book; each one-of-a-kind rosette is made by precisely folding premium grosgrain ribbon (imported from the US, and often vintage), and anchoring it with meticulous stitches and knots.

Since moving to Melbourne after graduating art school in London, UK-born Leila has been working in an amazing number of ‘creative part-time adding up to full-time’ roles, including for furniture-maker Greg Hatton, florist Katie Marx and also doing visual merchandising. When she’s not driving around the city making arrangements and deliveries, she works on Skinny Wolf from her dining room, which isn’t in the woods in case you were wondering.

So, what then is the story behind the slightly-ominous name? ‘Greg gave me the nickname Skinny! When I first started working for him, and also because I was skinnier than I am now!’ jokes Leila. ‘The wolf part comes from the fact that in a previous job in an accounts department I learnt how to deal with people who didn’t pay their bills on time! I still do book keeping and every so often I’m asked to “release the wolf”!’

Skinny Wolf rosettes are available at TDF Open House, currently running until Sunday November 26th, 10am-5pm daily. 

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The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.