Pattern Magic at Morley and more

I spent last Saturday in London on the second day of the Pattern Magic 1 course at Morley College. I was happier about attending this time as I felt that I had more of a ‘handle’ on the idea. The pattern we tried last week seemed to go well so I was looking forward to another day to reinforce what I had learned.

I followed last weeks ‘Bamboo shoots’ exercise with the ‘Crater bodice’ with limited success. As you know I am not exactly a typical ‘Japanese’ shape so I was a little concerned how some of these designs may look. With good cause. This is not a great shape on me, and the design was not helped by being toiled in calico, so I know if I use this idea it will have to be moved away from the bust. Anywhere but the bust. But it is a great idea and I love it. Just not for me to wear.

In the lunch break I was delighted to go with Petra to a local pub to meet Melissa of Fehr Trade and her husband  James for lunch. It was lovely to have been able to meet them after having contact for what seems like ages – but a little strange to meet someone you only ‘kinda know’. Despite that it was a lovely thing for them to have done and I had a lovely lunch. (Hand made fish finger sandwich and fries since you ask). We even got to see a sample of the jazzy fabric from the inside of James reversible disco jacket. Flashy! (Glad the management didn’t see that!). I am officially an idiot – I had my camera in the college and forgot to take any photographs either on the course or at lunch.

After lunch we continued on pattern cutting exercises and managed another in full. I now feel much more confident about attempting a garment from these fabulous books. All I need now is time…..

Beautiful Blenheim Palace

Beautiful Blenheim Palace

Rather than heading straight back to Bewdley The Management and I stopped off for a night in London and traveled to Blenheim Palace on Sunday. I hadn’t visited before despite this fabulous place only being about 50 miles from home. The palace and grounds are just beautiful BUT they had the house decorated for Christmas which was just fabulous. Sadly photographs were not allowed so I will have to suggest that you go and see for yourself all of the fabulous trees, and the usually stuffy looking busts wearing turban style headdresses in beautiful brocades. Just wonderful. There are a couple of pictures on the Blenheim website, but nothing like as wonderful as a visit to the house.

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Glad I don’t have to fit her!

On the walk around the grounds we came across this sculpture. We wondered whether the head was modeled on one of the Duchesses? Who ever the head belongs to I am very glad I don’t have the job of fitting her body (even with the benefit of my new pattern magic – not magic enough).

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Not Venice – Oxford!

The following day was spent exploring Oxford. The Management had an interview to one of the colleges many, many years ago and wanted to go and spend time in the city as an adult. What an amazing place! I was astonished that the colleges (which have been there for an eternity after all) occupied what would in many cities be regarded as prime retail space. Not what I had expected at all. I imagine almost everyone has seen pictures of Christchurch College and other popular buildings around Oxford so I thought I would show you Oxfords own bridge of sighs! I didn’t expect that at all. The weather was cold but as you can see we were fortunate to have a couple of very pleasant days.

We arrived back home after a lovely drive through the Cotswolds  around tea time yesterday and I have spent all my time since then getting back up to speed. I have sewn all day today for clients but hope to spend some time on my coat tomorrow. I have decided to work hand sewn buttonholes on it so it will not be finished tomorrow – but I might get close. It has started snowing in various parts of the UK today so it would be worth getting this done very soon – I am sure it will be useful.



Pattern Magic and the V&A

What a great weekend I had!

I attended the first part of the Pattern Magic course at Morley College last Saturday. Up until then I had admired, stroked, and generally enjoyed the Pattern Magic books but made no use of them. The pictures of all the garments are beautiful and very inspiring but the instructions were a bit intimidating. The tutor at Morley made the block (sloper) instructions understandable and I now feel that I can now make sense of the instructions to make the adaptions . We used the bamboo shoot adaption as an exercise in class and I was happy to be able to come away with the pattern ready to try at home. When I get the workload back under control I hope to make something to actually wear from this book. I will be back there for the second day of the course next Saturday and am really looking forward to it. One more class next Saturday which I am really looking forward to.

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London in November!

I was really happy to be staying with my daughter because we planned to spend Sunday morning at the V&A to see their current ‘Hollywood Costume’ exhibition. We were unusually early and so stopped at a lovely cafe called Greenfields for coffee and pastries. It was amazing weather and although a little bit ‘chill’ we were able to enjoy our coffee outside in the morning sunshine. What a treat in November!

The exhibition was great – I had seen some of the costumes previously at the exhibition held in Worcester Cathedral some time ago. The costumes are beautifully displayed and it is possible to see the backs of most of them (though often from a position further around the display) and I loved it. It would be impossible to choose a favorite costume as so many were just fabulous. Sadly, no photographs allowed so you will just have to go to see them! ( What a great excuse).

I was amazed to find that this was my daughters first visit to the V&A despite living in London – but they have a new convert and she will be there many times more from now! I was able to take her up to the Theater and Performance area where she just loved the ‘Kylie Minogue dressing room’ display. The Lion King costumes were still on display (and I have just bought a ticket to see the show in Birmingham next year – hurrah!) which was lovely.

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Wonderful Lion King costumes

And just for those readers down under who I know enjoyed my last Dame Edna offering from the V&A – here is the wonderful ‘Breakfast Dress’!

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Dame Edna’s Breakfast dress

G’day!


Patrones Coat – Part 256…

… or so it feels. I didn’t make the progress I had hoped yesterday as I had issues with the sleeves. They are the main feature on the coat so they had to look good. How long can a person take to do this – I swear that if this had been for a client it would have been finished and without all the **** ups there have been so far.

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Sleeve detail

I spent ages trying to get the sleeves to behave nicely – the lower sleeves slide into the upper sleeves and are sewn into place. This was where I discovered that I needed to sew a retaining hem to stop the lower sleeve pulling the sleeve down. It didn’t matter how carefully I did this the stitches showed. After I took them out I cut an upper sleeve lining piece and sewed that to the seam joining the lower to upper sleeve and around the sleeve head. That held it just fine!

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Sleeves in place – looking like a coat!

Once the ‘dropping lower sleeve’ problem had been sorted the sleeves went in beautifully and I was able to sew the lining with the collar and facings into place. Hurrah, it has started to look like a coat – all be it a coat in need of a major press!

All that is needed now is to finish the lining, top-stitching  and sew the buttonholes. All this will have to wait because I am now sitting in my daughters flat in Ealing ready for the Pattern Magic course at Morley College tomorrow. Can’t  wait!