What I’ve been reading: St. John Mandel/Paton

Read what I thought of them here: Librarium 2015

26 years on

Justice for the 96 who died in Hillsborough Stadium


photo courtesy of BBC

Eames Era shift dress: New Look 6095

I spent a lot of money on this abstract 1950s cotton fabric; a 2 yard length, only 36″ wide, set me back £32, but I absolutely fell in love with it and had to have it. I found it in my local vintage clothing shop, Donna Flower in Barnstaple, North Devon, which also sells online. The website is well worth a visit if you are interested in textiles and haberdashery from the last century. I couldn’t fit my pattern pieces on my short length of fabric, so used a half metre of linen/viscose mix to make a contrasting panel. I used a strip of bias cut from the same blue linen to make a band round the sleeves. My pattern is a very simple shift dress, New Look 6095, with cap sleeves, centre back zipper, vertical darts at the back, and bust darts at the front. It took a couple of hours from start to finish. I have made it for Sunday brunch after the wedding I am going to in May. I need to make one more outfit for the rehearsal dinner on the evening before the wedding. Watch this space.DSC_0308

….click on any pic to view large….

Ultimate Fashion Hollywood

DSC_0004Sewing season is here again. With a fortnight’s holiday, Easter is always the time when my thoughts turn to making new clothes for myself. I am going to a wedding next month and have had a piece of fabric and a pattern earmarked for the occasion for sometime, and am pleased to report that my new dress is complete. The pattern is a Vogue original from 1956-57 reissued in 2008 as a winner of the Vintage Vogue contest. Vogue has an ongoing call for old dressmaking patterns from home sewers, and every year they will reissue four which they feel would be popular. I was surprised to learn that although Vogue has an archive of its catalogues, it does not have an archive of actual patterns. The pattern I have used is V1044, submitted to the contest by Bonnie Hollen; I hope she would be pleased with my end result. Apart from including multiple sizes in one pattern envelope, rather than the single sizes of yore, the manufacturers stick with the same fit and original notions, although the instructions have been modernised. The pattern called for sew-in interfacing which I substitued for iron-on, and grosgrain ribbon for an inside belt which I didn’t make. I may realise the benefit of this and add it at a later stage.  …click on pic to view large…

There were a lot of processes involved in making this dress, and it took a lot of fabric, but I am so pleased with the end result and feel that all the time it took was well worth it. I made a belt with buckle and eyelets, which was a first, sewed decorative tucks, made buttonholes and fabric covered buttons. The most difficult part was joining the upper and lower bodice parts together, trying to match the pattern of the fabric and manipulating the yoke/armhole/sleeve (which was none of these but a combination of all three). I bought my fabric from Middlesex Textiles in London – they stock a huge range of amazingly colourful printed fabrics, many inspired by African and Indonesian batiks. 6 yards of fabric cost me only £16.00, and the fullness of the skirt meant I had very little left over. The selvedge is printed with the words “THE BEST OF ULTIMATE FASHION HOLLYWOOD”, hence the name of this post. I have today received a few more lengths of fabric from the same supplier, and can’t wait to get “Veritable Super Julia” and “Afristyle Gold Wax” on the cutting table.

It was a beautiful day to take some photos out the front of my house, and although the mannequin is rather misshapen and has seen better days, my dress looks pretty good gleaming in the sunshine. The gold printed over the green reflects the light really well.   DSC_0303 DSC_0302

What I’ve been reading: Flanagan/Larsen

Read what I thought of them here: Librarium 2015

International Women’s Day : Laura Bates

“Again and again, people told me sexism is no longer a problem – that women are equal now, more or less, and if you can’t take a joke or take a compliment, then you need to stop being so ‘frigid’ and get a sense of humor. Even if I couldn’t solve the problem right away, I was determined that nobody should be able to tell us we couldn’t talk about it anymore.”

In 2012, Laura Bates set up The Everyday Sexism Project website, giving a voice to women and girls, a place where they could share their stories and experiences of being female in a male-dominated world. Frankly, anyone who can read those contributions without being appalled and embarassed about the inequalities between the genders, is burying their head in the sand. From all walks of life, all situations, day in day out, the stories poured in; stories of a constant drip, drip of comments, gestures, attacks and worse which all served to put women and girls in their place, ie on a strata below men. Our girls are growing up in a society where they are nominally equal, but obviously less than equal. In 2014 Laura Bates collected thousands of the stories that had been shared via the website and published them in a book called Everyday Sexism and which I reviewed on my Librarium 2014 page. I think it’s essential reading for everyone.

Start spreading the news..


My daughter has just returned from a short stay in New York – what an opportunity. Here are some of her pictures.

Originally posted on PJV:

Last week a group of over 70 Photojournalism, Photography and Graphic Design students from Staffordshire University visited New York, and I was lucky enough to be a part of that group! The trip was an amazing experience, and I was able to visit not only some must-see tourist attractions, but see some amazing works of art in the flesh at the Museum of Modern Art! As well as some incredible photography, I also walked round exhibitions from the likes of Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol. MoMA is definitely not one to miss if you’re ever in New York. I also visited The Rockefeller Centre and experienced breathtaking views of Manhattan during sunset from the Top of The Rock, went shopping on 5th Ave., took the free ferry to Staten Island after dark to see the Manhattan skyline and Lady Liberty lit up, and visited the 9/11 memorial centre. With too many…

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