Tuesday, 25 April 2017


We nipped off to Italy again for Easter, 
this time to Milan, completely different from last year in Florence.  

My young assistants both had a tonne of homework/revision which they insisted on taking.  Fortunately for me they had plenty of highlighters, I started Siri on the flight.

On our first morning we had a tour with Andrea from Art Discoveries Milano.  I learned the value of a good guide on my solo trip to India where Nand saved the Jaipur leg of my tour and gave me much advice on the rest of my travels.   If we go to a place we don't know, on the first morning we get a local guide to show what we wouldn't know we were missing and set us up for the rest of our stay.   In Florence Elisabetta gave us the low down on GOOD gelato which was has stood us in good stead. 

Andrea pointed out so much that we would have missed, I particularly liked the laundry.

Magnificent buildings, this is the very up market Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Walking through the Accademia di Brera to get to the hidden Botanical Gardens
we found the students hard at work.

Good gelato, we may have had one every day.

The Fashion District, of course.


Fendi, these boots are knit with a lace pattern.

D&G spools.

Sewing was everywhere, Milan Fashion Week was just the week before.

In Palazzo Morando we found out everything we could possibly want to know about sequins and there was also a pretty comprehensive Manolo Blank retrospective.  Sadly my people felt about shoes in Milan the same as they had about chairs in Copenhagen.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Every Day Style - Lotta Jansdotter

I've made Esme from, Lotta Jansdotter - Everyday Style, a few times before.  I made up a dress before but didn't like it, when will I learn that if you don't absolutely love the fabric don't bother!  I've already worn this a few times and feel a bit like a piece of 1970's wallpaper but I absolutely adore it, very easy to wear.  The fabric I found in a charity shop somewhere, 4m of untouched vintage fairly narrow weave cotton barkcloth on a tiny scale.  It washes and drapes well so that'll do for me.

Then onto a bit of stash busting and I made Esme in a top from some superfine needle cord that I got in Remnant Kings in Glasgow a couple of years ago, (I recently trekked to the one in Edinburgh, not worth the walk but Glasgow is a big thumbs up).  It's got a tiny bit of stretch making it very comfortable to wear although I'm not a big lover of stretch at all.  

I decided to do the neck facing - I normally don't bother and just roll it - with a Liberty lawn.  I got this from Shaukat,  excellent fabric but awful customer service, if you are not easily intimidated then go in and have a rummage, if you are then mail order and you'll be very happy.

These are entomology pins from Watkins and Doncaster The Naturalists, super super super fine and excellent for using with a lawn or chiffon.  I think other famous sewing names do sell them under there own name but these were a much better price and I think longer and obviously the original entomology pin used for pinning insects.

I also added the Liberty to the cuff inner because I like to turn them back and why not have a bit of something fancy on show.  I hand stitched just because I could.

The inside should always look as good as the outside.

Finally the finished garment with the sweet little turn up cuffs.
  I shall be out and about scouting for more fabric in this tomorrow.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

New Vintage

I found this gorgeous linen cloth - now a cross back apron -  a few weeks ago,
 I often find them in an excellent condition but this is the first that I have found that's absolutely brand sparkly new.  These cloths are printed with a turquoise dye that will last for years without perishing, only water will remove the original print.

You can see from these close up photos how precise this embroideress was 
hitting the lines bang on.

At the same time I also found this pink linen with teal cut work embroidery.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Spring At Last

Sun at last, today we opened up the studio 
and some of us managed to catch some rays.  

A little bit of Harris Tweed in the shop.

Mark Hearld, Squirrel and Sunflower and a few other items added.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Shetland Here We Come

I'm a little bit delirious this afternoon, 
I've just booked my flights for Shetland Wool Week 2017!

On the production front, I've been busy with some Mark Hearld fabrics.
Squirrel and Sunflower project bag, brick red on linen union backed with an oatmeal pure wool.
The Uradale yarn is from Shetland  and the hand made leather note book was a mail order purchase from Shetland, way before I'd ever thought about going there.

make-up bag, travel bag or whatever you want bag.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Manx Tweed

A little bit of Manx Tweed  that used to be a scarf,  originally produced at Tynwald Mills,

 St. Johns, Isle of Man.


Harris Tweed vintage herringbone, I used to be a skirt!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Harris Tweed Rainbow

I've been sewing up my Harris Tweed remnants today.  I bought this from a fair a while ago, I think it's 1980's, it was the end of a bolt and I was very excited to see the Orb stamp.

After much deliberation I made it up into a coat for myself and put the orb in the pocket,
 I even lined it in bright red.

I love this edge to edge style, it's so versatile.

First outing to the V&A.

Freshly made Harris Tweed, Hot pink, grey and yellow, what's not to like?

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Hand Embroidered Linen

I've been busy in the studio with my vintage tablecloths.   For these photos we tried using the quilt I made for my M.A.  it's completely made up from embroidered tablecloths and the batting is pure wool, I've washed it a good few times in the washing machine and it's doing very well.  This apron has a cottage garden design all around the border, lots of tiny but beautiful flowers and even more abundant now I've added pockets.

I love a good steady curve.

So many woman hours must have gone into this one.

A bright and pretty printed retro floral, these wild roses on linen just make me happy.

Most of the tablecloths that I use have some signs of wear, they've been used and laundered a lot but this is why they appeal to me.  Good linen becomes so soft with age, you just can't get it with anything new.  This one had a repair and it's still there but inside the pocket with the embroidered pocket panel sitting almost exactly over the same corner design.


We have babies on the horizon so Miss Belle decided she needed to get busy.

She's making careful notes/photos so she gets her quilts just right.  Some of her patches have inspirational words that she picked for herself, I asked if these were appropriate for babies and she said, "well they won't be able to read so it'll be fine".

She's been taking over my studio after school and enjoying playing with my new sewing machine, I've had it for a year but this is the first time she's ventured away from hers.  I don't think I'll ever get her off the reverse pedal and leg riser!

She's left just a little bit of space for me and the Welsh gals.