Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Hokusai at the British Museum

I nipped off to London on Monday for the Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum.
"From the age of 6 I had a penchant for copying the form of things, and from about 50 my pictures were frequently published; but until the age of seventy, nothing I drew was worthy of notice."
There is hope for us all!

I had a solo lunch at the Wolseley and who should sit down next to me but the very lovely
 Eileen Cooper, Keeper of the Royal Academy Schools.   I had just watched the joyous BBC 4 programme Royal Academy Summer Exhibition  and so thought I may burst when I spoke Eileen.

Back to work, I've been busy with oversized linen totes,

 and some rather nice vintage French cotton drill.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Looking For The Sunshine

We have a few babies due and so Miss Belle has been busy quilting.

I was on bibs,
 I may have had to steal a pair of leggings from someone to make a soft absorbent backing!

Love this coated lobster and crab print from Laura Ashley.

Sticking with the brights - Ankara pencil case.

Grey and yellow quilty case.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Balenciaga & Howard Hodgkin

We had a trip to London, some of us went to see Annie and others went to see Balenciaga.

My favourite.

Upstairs in the exhibition were other designers showing a Balenziaga influence in shaping, 
Gareth Pugh 2013.

Elizabeth Parke Firestone's shoes, when you find something you like why not?

She had an amazing wardrobe.

Women's evening cape 1963.

 A T-shaped kimono cut manipulated into dramatic folds with an invisible internal ribbon, 1950.

Taffeta as thin as burned paper, the shape inspired by the balloon skirts of the women of Ibiza.  Created with hoops to create spacious voids that fill with air when walking, ties at the hem which tie above the knee.


I also managed to get to the National Portrait Gallery, always a treat.

Howard Hodgkin, my favourite was a tiny pencil drawing, no photos allowed.

I couldn't resist this Judith Kerr portrait for my studio.

We also went to the Japan Centre for a bit of reading material.

I am very much enjoying The Master of Us All, a perfect read for the train journey home.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Superfast Making

I bought this silk dress in the Rag Market a few weeks ago for a tenner, I wasn't fussed on the dress but thought the fabric was the star.

I had a lunch date so I whipped the top off and added some vintage fancy elastic - it was a big lunch - that I'd bought from the Textile society fair.

It was already lined so I was good to go.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Ankara African Waxed Print & Soviet Era Fabric

I've been buying Ankara fabric from Birmingham to Barbados and finally I got down to using it.  It's known as an African waxed fabric, although it's not actually from Africa.  It has a sort of sheen/stiffness to it and I was concerned that when washed it would lose its crispness - both fabric and print  - and possibly colour also, but what do I know, it washes beautifully.  I love these bold prints and I've made myself one of the above, it's lightweight but sturdy and I think it just looks fab.  This one is on Etsy.

This one makes me think beach balls and it would make a great beach bag.

I found this mid century Soviet era print at the recent Textile Society Fair that I went to, the lady selling it travels the world looking for good fabric!  It was interesting to me that it was produced on a very narrow loom.  I also bought vintage French - watch this space - and Hungarian textiles from the same wise woman!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Maj Nilsson & Afro Basaldella

I bought this rather gorgeous Haddon print at the Textile Society Fair.  Designed by Maj Nilsson in 1959 for David Whitehead Ltd.  It's so simple it almost reminds me of potato prints.

I've been having a little play with a leather hide I got earlier this week, I think it looks rather good against the bright yellow pocket zip.

The Haddon large tote is now in my Etsy shop.

I bought this barkcloth because it shouted out at me, it seemed the epitome of 1950/60's design, just what people have been trying to replicate ever since and after a bit of investigation it seems that I do have a good eye.  This print was designed by Italian Abstract artist Afro Basadella for David Whitehead, that first Art History degree was not wasted on me! 

I've been experimenting with making my totes stiffer and so bonded the fabric to a hefty middle.
The Afro Basaldella tote can be found in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Abstract Barkcloth

Today I've been working with some great mid century barkcloth that I found at the Textile Society fair in Manchester recently.  It was a pair of curtains in beautiful condition and after i'd deconstructed and laundered the fabric looked fresh as a daisy.  This is vat dyed, the print goes straight through the fabric fibres so the print on the reverse is pretty much the same.  Modern fabric just isn't of this quality.

I lined it with some coated linen and added bright yellow topstitching to the very useful pockets.

Monday, 15 May 2017


I've been hard at work with the Marimekko, blue Unikko and 

I'm eeking out the last of my mid century Alpine.

We've developed the after school routine of ice creams and five minutes down-time, 
Sally Hope thinks she should be included!

Monday, 8 May 2017

19th Century Chanvre

A book that I would recommend on the state of the fashion industry, featuring a very good table of who the big names are owned by is, Stitched Up by Tansy Hoskins.  
Also a good article on Carin Mansfield of in-ku and a good essay on Slow Fashion.


The completed pockets waiting to be attached, all the edges are seamed, the selvedge at the top is hard to distinguish because it's so fine, that's how the weavers rolled a couple of hundred years ago.

Bottom of pocket, hand stitched on with original hemp thread using modern but authentic beeswax.

Can you make out the top selvedge of the pocket?
I love how the different thread has taken up the dye and slubs.

A close up of the mending on the pocket.  No other part of the apron had to be darned, the sheet had worn thin in the middle so I used it from the bottom selvedge upwards and the darned pockets are purely for my amusement!