Wednesday, 27 April 2011

doll fever

Scrabbling around the West End very early one morning this week, look what I came across...

A few of the dolls are for sale as brooches, but most of the bigger ones look like they were commissioned purely for the window display. I love collecting old handmade dolls, especially when you can see the hand stitching on the seams. When I've collected all my scraps together I'd like to try making some long legged hand stitched creatures, some small for brooches but others to display around the studio. Perhaps I should make them to display costumes like the Theatre De La Mode couture dolls of the 1940s. I love their spindly legs and blushed cheeks, they'd make a lovely treat to put inside a dress parcel...

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

bringing back the bedjacket

Bedjacket based on original 1950's pattern, made with vintage green and gold embroidered quilted fabric, french seamed, with hand beaded collar (lined with mottled brown and purple satin). Beads are sourced from original 1950s jewellery, glass and ceramic.

A small collection of handmade bed jackets will shortly be introduced to the shop, I'm determined to revive them. They have scope for such beautiful decoration, they add a touch of glamour to the bedroom, and I can imagine the starlets of 1940s and 50s slipping them on in the evening whilst reading a classic in bed. These days they could be worn whilst watching secret films under the covers by candlelight, whilst sipping a hot tea dipping a homemade biscuit, or sitting outside on a summer evening devouring crumbly old books with stained pages as you try to reach the end before the light fades. Bed jackets are a romantic little secret that everyone should enjoy.

costume cupboard: Double Falsehood at the Maddermarket

behind the scenes at the Maddermarket. Elizabethan costumes for a newly discovered Shakespeare play 'Double Falsehood', which took to the stage in March. The Maddermarket marks its centenary this year with the Norwich Players having been founded 100 years ago, and the Maddermarket opening 90 years ago. This is one of the most magical working theatres England has to offer based in the heart of Norwich, one of very few left that has a traditional costume department, still handmaking and storing wonderful period and contemporary costumes! They have a particularly exciting season on its way with productions including: Forty Years On by Alan Bennett, Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward, Terry Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters, Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood and The Hollow by Agatha Christie.

inspiration brighton!

a recent trip to brighton hunting for treasures, unicorn cushions anyone? the brightly painted terraced houses are like sweet jars, who knows what sort of artists hide inside them. brighton is a haven for handmade, antique and vintage. the old framed book plates of butterflies and birds make me want to tear up all my old books and make them into art for my walls. brighton is going to be regular secret day trip for me from now on, its a stones throw from london and there is so much inspiration hidden in its corners.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

eugene onegin costume

My handmade costume based on an original 1954 Motley design for Sadler's Wells: a singer for the opera Eugene Onegin. Made with midnight blue cotton velvet with silk velvet piping and buttons. It has hand made lace at neck edge (handmade by a lovely lady in Peru, bless the peruvians!), gigot sleeves with satin under sleeve, copper silk dupion belt and cuffs and pearl beadwork on bodice. The dress was based on an original 1830s pattern (although you can see the 1950s sweetheart neckline influence!) complete with handmade undergarments: a steel crinoline, quilted petticoat, and corded and quilted corset based on original 1840s corset.