a unique range of toys and resources for children - by ali coleman

Welcome to plainlycanvas.

For many years I have been combining my love of sewing and design, with my part time work as an Early Childhood Teacher in Auckland, New Zealand. I am fascinated by children’s play, and by the toys and resources children make use of - especially handmade items. For as long as I can remember, I have loved sewing and designing things. As of late 2016, plainlycanvas has become my full time job, although I still visit the Early Childhood Centre where I used to work - dropping off prototypes for the children, and watching them play.

Since 2011 I have been using plain cotton canvas to sew bags, toys and storage containers. The children have been readily incorporating these into their play - their actions and ideas are a fascinating source of inspiration to me. More recently I have also started using waterproof cotton and waterproof polycotton canvas to make bags and resources that are suitable for extensive outdoor use. The resources are all extremely strongly constructed - they are made to last.

Over the years, I have noticed how much children love to make use of simple toys that can be made by hand, or using a regular sewing machine. As a result, I have incorporated a number of sewing patterns which are available to be downloaded. I have also included lists of the children's favourite collections. I think the possibilities, history and appeal associated with hand made toys, and hand collected items, makes them invaluable. I don’t think it is necessary to drain resources and create mountains of landfill in order to provide fascinating toys, resources and experiences for children.

There are a few features of the canvas products on my website that I would like to briefly explain - 

  • the plain cotton canvas that I use is a natural product, it hasn’t been dyed or bleached. It is extremely hardwearing and functional. As with all natural products, cotton canvas must not be left lying around damp or it will develop mildew. The products are designed to be kept out in the open - as toys to play with, or as storage containers which can be displayed on open shelving. Dried thoroughly after washing or becoming damp, they will last many years. 
  • the waterproof cotton canvas + waterproof polycotton canvas are fine to be used anywhere. Marks can often be brushed off. The products can also be washed in warm water. (no washing machines, driers or irons for this fabric though!)
  • I am very interested in feedback - please feel free to contact me any time. I hope you find the website inspiring.

    With best wishes,

    Ali.