Tag Archives: silk

Coat: Mission Impossible

I vowed that this year I’d BUY a winter coat. A coat that someone else had made. Cashmere. Sleek and expensive (I fancied – as in ideal but unobtainable – the red Dior, trapeze shaped, scarlet). My fingers would be saved from being needle-blunt-end punctured and I wouldn’t have to wrestle with placket pockets and broken machine needles. It’d be easy: present credit card, swathe oneself in the soft underbelly hair of a South American goat. I couldn’t do it though. I couldn’t find a decent coat that cost less then the price of a small car and I’ve worn down my shoe leather hauling my increasingly sad self from shop to shop to shop. So I made my winter coat again. Beautiful deep grey felted pure wool from the Cloth House and a cherry silk lining. I’ve worn it every day since I finished it a week last Thursday. Hope you like it….

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Fennel Silk: A Very Splendid Thing

I’ve had a very exciting time recently making a silk blouse for the lovely and enormously talented Niki at unifiedspace. Niki designed the fennel print cloth which is such a beautiful green (the photographs don’t really do it justice) and which was a joy to work. I’d like to have metres and billowing metres of it and waft around like Elizabeth Taylor (the later Richard Burton years)….

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Niki and I live about 400 miles apart, not ideal for regular fittings so I posted this off into the ether with a churningly butterflied stomach, crossing everything in anticipation. It’s fine. Niki’s happy. And so am I.

Clik (watch this space…)

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Silver Thread

I’ve had it up to the back teeth with metallic thread. It’s a pain: it splits like giraffe legs on a frozen pond, it won’t go through the eye of a needle and it tangles without so much as a ‘sorry’.

Trouble is, it looks good….

I’m using split stitch which is a labour of love but the finished piece is tactile and smile-inducing, even if I have a punctured finger. I hate wearing a thimble, it makes me feel like Mrs Tiggywinkle….102 and spherical. 

Will this be another one for the wall? Suggestions as to what to do with it please!

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Little Black Dress #2

It’s not that little really, in fact, its pretty long.

Party, especially ‘party’ so close to Christmas says ‘long’ to me. I like a bit of a sweep and there are far too few occasions on which sweep is acceptable, so I grab sweep when it’s offered…I think I’ll be the only one again. I can’t help my head being stuck in an MGM extravaganza and firmly attached to Fred Astaire…a dissolute childhood: sunny day, curtains closed against the glare, long frocks and dancing…

I’ve also been having a couture moment. Heaven only knows why when I’ve got Christmas looming and I’m sleep-talking lists and having night panics about stuffing and whether half a bottle of cognac is enough to see us through….Anyhow, I decided that hand stitching the facings and belt would be a good thing, a nod to the tiny, and not always regular, elf-stitched underpinnings of couture. I do like the insides of garments, they tell a story of pricked fingers and relentless unpicking and swearing at the illogical skew-whiffedness and sheer bloody-mindedness of some fabrics….

So here it is. The frock for the sparkly party….all neat and carefree on the outside and stitched into submission on the inside. I put green glass beads on the edges of the belt…my nod to sparkle (and there was plenty of the real stuff there…). It’s made of heavy silk crepe and the braid for the belt came from India via the lovely Cloth House in Soho.

Still feeling a little fragile….

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Inspiration

It’s been an odd week. Sad really. I was inspired to write these poems by the the end of a marriage. Someone for whom I had made a wedding dress just a few years ago. She was an easy client. Delightful. It was a joyful time and it now seems pointless. A dress which took months to make and which was nurtured, now not wanted. I know that most people only wear their wedding dress once and then it’s put away in tissue but it’s still felt wherever it’s stored: on a shelf in a linen press, in a bottom drawer, in a mirrored dressing room. It has its place. But when things go awry, it’s a reminder of all that is wrong and the bond breaks.

 

Wedding Dress

 

There was another fitting after that first one.

Then another and another and then it was done.

Complete.

Hanging, waiting in its white cotton case

for her.

Seams steamed open and bound with satin.

Bones anchored with tiny stitches

by hand,

a silver thimble protecting punctured skin

pushing again and again

to make that curve,

that wasp waist.

 

Your dress is my dress too:

lived with me,

grown,

become beautiful.

 

And I send it away with you and feel it gone.

 

My wedding dress was black silk velvet and I wore it ’til it fell apart. I still have my coat (it was February and cold) which is wrapped in pink tissue and lives in a box in my wardrobe. It’s made from black and gold Chinese silk with a filigree gold button that belonged to my grandmother.

 

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