Friday, 31 January 2014

Shhh, we must not mention the C word out loud.
If we say it then it may become a fact and really I am not sure I have any room in my life for a new one of those right now. 
So after reading this post by Janey over at Flight Platform Living I decided that I will call any new and potentially permanent c's a gathering from now on in.
Then when the Hippy moans about all the "collections of old tat" I have crowding every surface in our home I can correct him and say 
"That is not a collection, it's a gathering and gatherings can be dispersed."
 Admittedly some times it takes a court order and an eviction notice to disperse them but....
This particular gathering has snuck up on me. 
Not being much of a one from jewellery I was surprised when I went to put the two new enamel RSPB bird pins I bought at the weekend in to my pot just how many bird brooches I have (yes I did buy them only so I could have a new excuse to make endless tit jokes).

I also realised there is another sub faction with in the gathering.

And then there are the others too few in number to form their own factions, but given time and a little encouragement they will probably be able to lend their weight to any decisions to be made on the future direction and longevity of the afore mentioned gathering.

Can you believe I own a tiny tiny T.V?
 Isn't it brilliant? 
I think it is lacking in confidence at the moment, but with the right encouragement should be able to take on a more pivotal role with in the gathering.

Do you have a problem with unexpected gatherings popping up in your house?
And if so what do you do, invite them in with open arms or call in the exterminators?
Love Nora xxx

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

I have a rare day off today. 
I had a rare day off yesterday but it became swamped by cleaning the house, food shopping, insurance and washing.
I have a rare day off on Friday, but that will be consumed by the last minute panic of the tax and V.A.T returns.
This morning I have closed all the doors and unplugged the phone.
I have a steaming mug of tea and I am looking at books.
My students are about to start a big costume project based in 1910, so I thought it may be good to remind my self of some of the subtle nuances of what is actually one of my favourite periods in fashion history.

Detail of a Duster coat dated 1905 - 1908.

Detail of collar from a geometric coat dating 1904 - 7

Beautiful detail of sleeve and front drapery from a day dress dating 1903 - 5
All three of these images were taken from Modern Fashion in detail by Claire Wilcox and Valerie Mendes published by the V and A.
Part of the In Detail series of books of which I think I am only missing one or two. I love them, being able to see the decoration in such close focus is invaluable for me. I spend hours working out exactly how they were constructed and which processes were used.

I have also been looking at some period patterns in what can only be described as one of the costume makers bibles "The Cut of Women's Clothes" by Norah Waugh published by Faber and Faber.

As well as, for those amongst us who want to get very technical corset patterns.
Taken from another of the bedrock foundations of my career "Corsets and Crinolines" also by Norah Waugh published by Batsford.
Well, now the clock is ticking and some friends who have been somewhat neglected since new year are coming for lunch which means I have some quality baby cuddling time ahead of me this afternoon. 
So much as I adore you all I'm offski.
Love Nora xxx

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Where have my pictures gone? Have you seen them? They were here about half an hour ago. Why are they now gone?
You see I've finally finished my hexie skirt. 
I took photos of it on a hanger, I took photos of me wearing it in the garden (bad), I took pictures of me wearing it reflected in an odd assortment of mirrors hidden in a cupboard in the bedroom (funny).
But now they have disappeared.
So sod it I'm going to show you something else.
What do you think?

Kind of looks like some weird mould like growth to me.
Actually it started as an accident and ended up wonderful.
Both of these were pieces of what we thought were silk fabrics.
They were left over from a job 9 years ago, making crowd coats for this film.
I took the fabrics to college for the students to use, sometimes even small scraps make a huge difference to one of their designs.
However the bluey orange fabric was a piece large enough to make a raggy cloak from.
The student wanted to alter the colour, so we advised her to take the fabric home and wash it to remove all the dressing, I know, I know, many of you will be gasping with horror at this, but trust me putting the fabric in a dye bath is the very least of what was planned for this piece. It was going to have to look as though someone had been sleeping under it on a battlefield for months on end.
Any way I digress.
Unfortunately we were wrong in our assumption of the high silk content. It came back about a quarter of its size and twice as thick. There was now less than a metre of it. Oops.
One fed up student but an over excited Tutor and Technician.
We almost came to blows over who was going to have the now wrecked fabric and what we were going to do with it.
Followed by a frantic rush to the fabric box to find a similar fabric from the same job to boil up.
They are now both living on the office desk while we circle round them watching each other with a wary cat like glance, waiting to see who will make the first move on these truly amazing textures. 

I love the fluted edge formed by the selvedge.

Second time around I took a sample of the fabric pre wash.
Here are some very bad pictures of the coats when I had finished them. They did look a lot nicer when worn honest!

Any way if you see my photos when you are out and about please tell them to come home, I'm missing them!
Love Nora xxx

Monday, 13 January 2014

Just before Christmas I signed up for my first Phat Quarter swap.
I have long wanted to join in on one of these, but am either always to busy or too disorganised.
Any way by some kind of miracle I managed to get my act together to sign up.
The theme was a tiny little treat a twist on the culinary amuse bouche.
After a bit of brain wracking I decided if it was going to be tiny it should be a HUGE thing made very very tiny. 
What on Earth could be huger than well the Earth?
Of course it had to be 3D.

Which meant I had to teach my self stump work.
After several sessions looking at online tutorials that showed me how to make twee little flowers with raised and wafty petals but not much else I gave up and resorted to the trusted old stand by of making it up as you go along.
I have no idea if my version is officially recognised or not, but quite frankly I don't give a stuff. It worked therefore it must be right. 
I cut 4 circles of wool felt in ever decreasing circles and then stitched them on to my base fabric. 
I then stitched my globe over the top.
Of course I left it way too late to start the actual embroidery, which I find helps when you are making it up as you go along as there is no room for procrastination and mistakes.
I sent the tiny global view off to Mad over at xsilverdaisyx. You can read about her side of the swap here.
I was of course fairly late with my half of the swap, unlike Catherine over at Katherosthepure who sent me this beauty shockingly promptly.

I absolutely love it. Apparently after a little light digging in my photo stream she uncovered some pics of a bustle I had made in the summer as part of the day job.
Obviously it isn't really going to live on my workroom floor. I've been trying it out in various places and shall hopefully make a decision soon.
In other news the finish a long is going well and shock horror I may even have a finished article to show with in the next couple of days.
Love Nora xxx

Monday, 6 January 2014

I don't really do new years resolutions. 
This was a stance I took a couple of years before I stopped wearing make up (18).
The reason was the same on both fronts, I'm crap at it.
Crap at make up and crap at keeping to any grandiose announcements I tend to make.
But 2013 was quite disrupted on the crafting front for me and has left a lot of unfinished business.
So it was with a feeling of relief I saw that the lovely ladies over at And Stitches are hosting a finish a long.
Hurrah I don't have to make a New Years resolution to finish all my outstanding projects, I can just join in with a stitch a long instead!
I doubt very much if I will get all of these done with in the next month, but may be one or two would be good and if serious inroads could be made in to the others, well that would be a bonus.
I do have one grandiose announcement to make though. 
I am planning a dress. I will not be allowed to start said dress until at least some of the following projects have been finished.

First up something I started this time last year, which then got put in a box when we moved, only to be unpacked recently. It is based on a childhood friendship and maps. Actually itching to get started on it again.

Second up is another piece that got abandoned in the move. This one was for the Edward Gorey stitch a long with Nicole over at Follow The White Bunny. It should have been finished in March or some thing like that. Oops! The tragic thing is I only have to finish a little bit more detail on the branches of the trees.

Third up the Hexie skirt. 

Progress is being made.

And shuush, we won't even start to talk about the little hand stitched wool jacket I foolishly cut out before Christmas.
So fingers crossed kids because I really need a new dress.
If you fancy joining in with the finish a long you can do so here.
Love Nora xxx

Thursday, 2 January 2014

It would appear this blog has somehow become more about beach combing and driftwood than it is about sewing.
How did that happen?
Oh well I'm sure the thrill of winter walks on the beach will wear off at some point, either that or I'll actually finish a project and be able to show it on here.
In the meantime here are some pictures of todays ramble from St Leonards down to Hastings. 
In the aftermath of the recent storms and high spring tides the sea was beautiful and dramatic.
The power of it is awesome and scary all at the same time.
The shingle has been thrown high on to the beach and all over the sea front pathways right up to the doors of the beach huts, bringing with it some interesting flotsam and jetsam.
And the tide really was very high.

Love Nora xxx