Chris Tavener specialises in handmade and hand-smocked dresses for girls up to the age of about 10. Chris first began dressmaking at school and has returned to it with a passion after retiring from her career. Each dress Chris makes is unique – Chris only makes one of any design or style in a particular fabric. The dresses can be worn every day but of course are perfect for those big special occasions too. There are sundresses, nightdresses, bonnets, vintage country-style dresses with puffed sleeves, elegant longer dresses for more formal occasions, and some in modern brightly-coloured prints. Chris tries to cater for a range of tastes and styles. Most of her dresses are sashed which means they can be adjusted for the correct fit as the child grows.
Chris loves the act of creating each item from scratch and seeing it come together, from the initial choice of material, style and thread colours, through the cutting-out and smocking, culminating in a unique finished article.
Before specialising in smocking, Chris spent several years making mohair artist bears and calico dolls, and some of these are available on her website. Each bear has their own name and character and comes with a signed certificate of authenticity.
Chris has exhibited her work at handmade craft fairs around Port Stephens, Newcastle and Central Coast since 2007 and she joined the Hunter Arts Network in 2013. Chris is now a regular exhibitor at the Tocal Field Days in the Hunter Valley every year.
All Chris’ dresses are available for sale through Etsy at the address below, or from the HAN craft fairs or by appointment from her home.