Monday, 6 January 2014

Thoughts from a Fevered Brain

Happy New Year everyone!

Well, I'm not not fevered exactly, but I'm very frustrated because I've been too unwell to sew, struck down with a rotten head cold! I've spent the whole weekend in bed unable to do anything except watch trashy cop dramas. So my altered Anna pattern and lovely Brixtonian fabric is still languishing waiting for cutting and construction. 

It's been a busy week since I last posted- myself and the Salacious Sirens performed at The Gorringe for New Year's Eve with a bunch of booting-shaking Charleston-esque mash-ups. I spent most of the night rushing around with very little on and even when I was 'fully dressed' I was sporting a very un-demure neckline, so perhaps this is to blame for my spate of un-wellness. Here's said dress, just because it's fabulous and I don't get too many legitimate opportunities to wear it:

Salacious Sirens L- R: Bebe Boheme, Violet Empire, Ottolie Divine, and Lady Libertine

I also went back to work after what seemed like a good break, so perhaps it's a dash of 'work-itis'. Whatever it is it's not doing me any favours, I was really looking forward to getting my teeth (or should it be shears) into that dress.

However it's not all be unproductive over the last few days- I've been reading and admiring lots of End of Year round-ups and inspiration lists from my blogroll (one day I am going to write bogroll by mistake and cringe, I may as well put that out there now) so although I can't really do any 'best and worst' round-ups (as I haven't really made that much yet!) I would like to write about what inspired me to start sewing again, and learning to make proper garments:
1. My Ma
Knichet doesn't really sew anymore but never stops knitting, and I'm happy to have learnt from her and have her fantastic archive of vintage patterns to peruse whenever the fancy takes me. Plonk yourself on a rush-hour South-bound London bus and there she'll be, clicking away amongst the bustling commuter crowds. I have a few lovely handmade garments that I've salvaged from Knichet's home-sewn wardrobe but sadly I'm just too big to wear much of what she made when she was a 'sylphlike' slip of a thing in her 20s. 

2. Edith Dawson
My bloke's grandmother. I've mentioned the magnificent trove of Mancunian treasures that were hers that I gleaned in the last house clearance (including the Bernina that I can't wait to get my mitts on). As well as being a noted ballroom dancer in her time she was a prolific dressmaker (and won awards for it!) and had a fantastic sense of style. Although I never got to meet her, the first time I went to the old house in Manchester I had a whale of a time picking from her old wardrobe- almost all of which are handmade pieces made up in outrageous '60s prints (sadly also mostly outrageous 60s synthetics, but all the patterns have been kept so can remake in kinder materials to my heart's content).
One day I will do a post dedicated to my Edith Dawson dresses as they are wonderful, but most of them need some alteration to fit more flatteringly and I'll be keen to receive any expert tips! She also had a wonderful hat collection that I must showcase. 


Me in a fantastic Edith Dawson creation, from the 60s I believe (I'm on my way to a festival, hence the camping pack looming over me).
Orange ombre fabric, bow details on the sleeves, and wait for it- a pleated skirt, sadly not shown here. 

3. Tilly from Tilly and the Buttons
I saw the first few episodes of The Great British Sewing Bee (I missed the last couple as I was off in Vancouver!) and I loved it. I even subscribed to Cloth Magazine in my enthusiasm, but only received 3 issues before it sadly 
folded , so rather belatedly I turned to the internet for my sewing inspiration fix and was delighted to find Tilly's blog. I love her style (although sadly not all of it would suit my shape, but darn it I will find a way to wear Breton stripes!) and her humour, and have found loads more fantastic sewing blogs to inspire me through hers. 

My other current favourites are: Dolly Clackett. I want everything that this lady sews- the styles, the prints, and I also want her shoes! Again I love the humour in the blog too, and seeing Leamington Spa in the outfit posts reminds me of my years living there as a student. I also have a massive style crush on Lladybird who has an insanely prolific output and a wickedly sharp wit. Seriously, 'Lurk her closet', I want to make everything that she has (but it would take me 100 times longer). I also really enjoy reading Paunnet's blog- again she has a sense of style that I really appreciate and a look that's quite similar to mine so seeing what suits her and the patterns she likes is very inspiring to me- plus she's always sharing great new design finds so is definitely one to follow!

There are a bunch of others too that I'll feel guilty for not mentioning later as I have a massive blogroll and I look forward to seeing each new creation as it gets posted up, but I think these four are the most similar to my personal style that I've found. I find it really empowering seeing how great all the sewists that I follow look in their handmade outfits and hope that one day soon my creations will come out as well. It is so much nicer to be inspired by real people making things to suit their personal styles and shapes and looking brilliant in them, than spending time internet shopping and buying a bunch of ill-fitting RTW stuff that won't look anything on me like it does on the model.

Anyway, a long post, the product of too much time in bed being introspective and not enough time getting busy with the shears!

Until next time,

NorseOtter xxx


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