Spring is in the air, the sun is shining and I’m feeling creatively inspired! My latest refashion project features appliqué and a fresh set of buttons for a kitschy novelty sweater inspired by Susan Dannenberg’s creations from the 1940s.
Today is “Blue Monday” - so called because of a pseudoscientific calculation that it is the most depressing day of the year: Christmas is a fading memory, the days are short and grey, everyone’s still broke and payday is still a week away. Along with many others, I experience Seasonal affective disorder, so to combat the instinct to hibernate the month away, I like to focus on planning and action, looking forward to the year ahead. I know that resolutions aren’t for everyone, but I find setting out plans and goals to be a really positive exercise for me.
I’ve written in the past of my love for Victorian glasshouses, but the palm house at Kew Gardens is surely the queen of them all - it’s one of my favourite places in London. My Kew membership allows me to take advantage of later opening times in the summer to stroll through the gardens on my walk home from work, but the glasshouses and galleries close before I get there most days. For just a few months during the high summer though, they stay open an hour later on Fridays. Getting there after the day’s crowds have departed (and away from the madness of the weekends), I often have the quiet majesty of the palm house entirely to myself.
It seemed fitting to debut my latest make, in a tropical-themed novelty print, on the final late opening of the season. And a delight to find the great glasshouse empty, silent except for our footsteps and the droplets of water splashing to the floor from lofty palms. The golden hour light, diffused through the condensation-fogged, curved glass, just added to the magic.
This was actually my first (successful) version of the boat-neck bodice from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book – a pattern I’ve now used multiple times in different variations. I made this one with fitting advice from Gertie herself at one of her dressmaking retreats in Beacon, NY, back in June last year. This is the dress I wore for my Masters graduation ceremony in July.
As a fan of colour generally, I absolutely love coming across vintage resources recommending inventive colour combinations. The April 1955 issue of British Vogue came with a (handbag-sized!) insert leaflet of key colour schemes for spring.
Happy Valentine's Day! I'm celebrating my "Perfect Match" (stripe matching, that is!) in my latest make.
This was one of my simpler makes for 2017 - simpler, that is, in the sense that I didn't spend days, weeks and months agonising over the right pattern for precious fabric, or make half a dozen muslins to perfect the fit.