Review: Cath Kidston items

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Sadly, a triumph of style over content. Cath Kidston

It’s not often that I post a negative review on Second Cherry. Most products that one might buy aren’t dangerous and the public doesn’t need warning off them, but I was so disappointed with my Cath Kidston purchases that I felt I really had to say something. 

Back in the summer I had a hiatus from work, so I decided to pretty up the house a bit. Cath Kidston was my first port of call. I’ve long lusted after her beautiful prints and very often, when I admire a print from an editorial feature I’ll discover that it’s by Cath Kidston. Her balance of colour and form is just about perfect, and I love all that 50s retro vibe, so I was very excited about my purchases.

From the company, I ordered the following:
* Floral fleeces (designed for Ikea) x 2.
* Cotton duck tablecloth in Candy Flowers.
* Cotton duck apron in Candy Flowers.
* Cotton haberdashery fabric in various colourways.
* Bath towel and hand towel in English Rose.
* Paper table runners in three colourways.
* Paper napkins in five colourways.  

And sadly, they are all basically rubbish, other than the apron and tablecloth, which are satisfactory.

I can’t tell you how disappointed I am in both the quality and size of these items. The floral fleeces are stingily small. The fabric itself is fine, though thin, but I had to stitch the two of them together to get a fleece of usable size, and it isn’t warm. These fleeces cost me £28 each and I found ones of far better quality and size in a local discount store for that price.

The haberdashery fabric is very thin indeed. When it arrives, it’s crisped up with size, but it doesn’t wash well: definitely a fashion fabric, it is nowhere near robust enough for curtains or cushion covers, which is its stated intention, though I think it could be used very well to make dresses. 

The bath towel and hand towel, again, are both very stingy in size. This bath towel is barely bigger smaller than my hand towels, and the print of the fabric is only on one side, so what you basically have is a piece of towelling fabric stitched over with hems on all four sides, like something you could make yourself – they are not properly woven in a piece as towels, which is what I was expecting. I had intended to order the bathrobe in the same colourway, but the thin quality of the towels really put me off. After a single wash, they are feeling very flimsy and quite stiff. I have used the bath towel as a bathroom curtain and the hand towel lingers unused. 

The paper napkins are very small also – real saucer size rather than dinner-table size – though the quality is adequate. And the paper table runners are not the thick, robust paper I was expecting, but are a thin, transparent tissue style of paper, almost like rice paper, that allows show-through, so has to be laid over a white cloth for the colours to appear. The printing is also very muddy and the greens in particular are not as bright as they are on the paper napkins, so they don’t match. 

kidston2The cotton tablecloth is not a proper tablecloth woven to shape but is merely a length of fabric cut off a roll, with a hem at each end and the selvedges visible. I don’t therefore use it as a tablecloth, but as a throw for the mattress on my sofa, where I can tuck under the raw edges. The cotton duck fabric, however, is robust enough and wears well, so both this and the apron, which uses the same fabric, are OK and I am using them.

All in all, I am terribly disappointed and feel that this is a firm that needs to sort out its quality control, as Cath Kidston prices are not cheap. I am now reluctant to order from this company, for all that I love their designs. Laura Ashley offers far better quality for a similar price, and for furnishing the house, I found myself very quickly turning to Sanderson, whose fabrics are of superb quality, with a robust thread count and crisp printing.  

For those who do want to order, I would say stick to the cotton duck and furnishing fabrics. As to the homeware items such as trays, mugs and tins, and the fashion items, I can’t speak. 

One star, for the beautiful designs.  

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