Friday, 24 July 2009

Antwerp Museum of Fashion - MOMU

I was so pleasantly pleased with Belgium. Quaint, quirky and just made for me. Right down to the moreish waffles!!
On a stifling day last week, I wandered in to the cool calm of the Antwerp Museum of Fashion (MOMU) to check out their latest exhibition. They have a huge archive: obviously, because it is the birthplace for the talent of Dries van Noten, Martin Margiela and so many more. However, unlike the V & A, they don't display archive material. It's a good idea in some ways as it means they can concentrate on perfect little areas.
The exhibition at the moment is Paper Dresses, which didn't exactly fill me with confidence but when I came to wander round (joy of joys I was almost completely alone!!! Belgium is EMPTY. Go now!!!) I was captured by the ingenuity of some of the designs and the retro appeal of others.
As I said, Antwerp is the fashy capital of Belgium and there are plenty of opportunities to off-load trolleys of cash in the local emporia but I was happy with schlepping around the simple paper designs.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

What a terrific idea

Anees is a determined kind of person. She knits. Fine. But then, she can crochet too. That's good. I know because I taught her how. Now she wants to improve her basic sewing skills. She's sewn simple cushions on her mum's sewing machine and that's given her the taste for more challenging projects. about a dress. Oooo, I don't know, that does look hard. Patterns just don't tell the whole story. How do you get from here to there? What do those squiggles on the pattern pieces actually mean? That's where Sewing Bee steps in.

The pattern

Anees arrived with a pattern, a piece of fabric and a few doubts as to how she was going to get to grips with all this. By late afternoon, the dress looked great with a facing to fit and a hem to turn which she could do at home. Her boyfriend might have to help there!!!

Mind the tacks!

I'm really looking forward to the finished article. She's promised to send me pics and you can bet that I'll post them when they come!!

Are my seams straight?

For sewing classes for up to 4 people and one-to-one tuition please contact me -

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Jessie Chorley and Columbia Road Market

I'm a bit of a magpie and a bit of a fantasist. I'm a bit of lots of things and I love people who are a bit the same!!! A few years ago a friend gave me a lovely brooch for Christmas from Buddug Humphreys and I started my search for more by her.My first port of call was Broadway Market where I knew she had a stall. One cold November Saturday I walked down through the market stalls and stumbled upon Buddug and her stall which she shares with her friend and colleague Jessie Chorley. Jessie is the a seamstress like Buddug and I was really charmed by her handmade gifts made from rescued items such as old spectacles cases which opened to reveal perfect little sewing-kits of vintage finds. Everything is nostalgic but with a twist.
The time of year for my next visit was entirely different. A hot Sunday in June, moseying down Columbia Road flower market. If you're not a resident of London but find you're in town with a Sunday to spare then go there. Immediately. It's fabulous. We had a lovely morning and we watched the stall-holders selling the mountains of gorgeous flowers and wandered in and out of the beautiful little shops that line the street behind the stalls.
Suddenly I spy a doorway (146 Columbia Road, E2) leading into some rickety stairs up to an open-windowed first-floor straight out of a Dickens novel. The rooms were filled with a cornucopia of Jessie's and Buddug's work and quite a few fans like me.
I could have spent hours in there but sadly I had to high-tail it home so I'm planning my next trip!!!
At the same time I'm going to check out Beyond Fabrics which looks like a 'destination store' as far as I'm concerned and Franklin Alvarez (I'm not entirely sure if that's still there) who use vintage finds to make gifts and artworks.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Dash for colour

Finding the right fabric is half the fun of making. Going into a well-stocked store is just so pleasurable but not always practical. The internet experience hasn't got the same buzz but does open up the possibilities ten-fold. Morecloth is just what it says on the tin and has collated all the colours of the rainbow for you to make your own choice without all the hassle of looking. The 'color strips' are for fabrics sold on Etsy and really do take some of the sweat out of scrolling through scads of cloth! These are just a selection I chose today.

Kristin and Beth of SewMamaSew have brought together a pretty comprehensive of all things sewing and their shop has some very nice fabrics to choose from too. They do a great job of pointing you off in many interestig directions and I dip in there quite alot. The quilt below is from their Flikr Pool.