Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Patterns of the past......

Some people are amazed when they learn that we keep peoples' bespoke patterns forever. Like any good tailor we are able to put our hands on patterns that were made when we first started in the business. We have patterns and toiles all neatly filed away, awaiting the time they are needed. But doesn't the body change over time? Well, yes but it's easier starting from a previous pattern than 'from scratch'. The patterns also act as an educational tool, as research grows and is updated, so we can look back at the old patterns and see if they can be improved.
At the moment we are looking for a new member of staff to join our team and I can guess that a lot of the candidates will say "I learned from my Grandmother/mother/auntie".
Which is always a good start, but the question then arises - and how good was Grandma?
Was she really good enough to replicate the stitching on Queen Victorias' underwear, (which were 32 stitches to the inch)! just a 'home repairer' or somewhere in between?
With patterns and people, I reckon, you have to look back, to look forward!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Braids And Notions

In the 'How authentic' post on here, there's a comment by Gina B who can also be found on the Soper lane forum. We have great respect for these people, who do great research and make narrow wares,notions, passimentarie, buttons etc..At the moment we make most of our own notions - but I can foresee a time...
Getting the right fittings for any costume can be a nightmare, indeed, we received an order of some regimental buttons from a supplier 'across the water'. There's still an echo from the resounding thump as they hit the waste bin! Proper research and manufacture are very important to us. Finding a good Napoleonic button foundry would be heaven!

Talking of research,at the weekend we spent a lot of time with Dave and Miranda from 'House de Clifford' who were discussing the lack of fur on most later period costume. The addition of 'Verre' or 'Minniver', might just solve some of the grey squirrel problem round here!

Monday, 12 November 2007

What to wear?........

We had a phenomenal exhibition at T.O.R.M , the enquiries and orders came thick and fast including large commissions from Nantwich Museum and Hampton Court. We also met up with customers old and new and many posters from the living history forum -which is a good resource for those interested in history and related subjects. It was great to meet all of you .
I love multi-period events, the only problem is what period to dress in! If you dress mediaeval, do customers think that you only make for that period or that is your specialism? We, in the end, plumped for Georgian, this time- a good wool suit, high topped wig etc ., for me and Gini in her new dress. I did have to keep the moustache (and thereby look 'french' influenced), but the rest of the bookings I have before Christmas are all for Victorian 'gentleman'!

Friday, 2 November 2007

In the frame...

Last week, we have mostly been making stock - but did manage to turn out a redworked, shirt much like this one. A braided tudor doublet with hand made buttons like this , 2 parletts (Georgian) and 2 Regency ball gowns. Err.. no photos. There's the rub. When you're in a hurry and have a deadline to meet you always seem to miss out on the photographs. This means that some of our best production never ends up on the web site. Which is a shame. So if you have any decent photos of any of our outfits please send or mail us a copy. If you're e-mailing, high resolution, 'pretty please'!
I mean, we don't even have any quality pictures of this one for heavens' sake - made a few years ago and at todays prices would cost in the region of £15,000(!), if it was fully hand made again - although there was a nice article on it in 'Revival' magazine a few years ago. Talking of re-enactment magazines, we are told that there will be an article on the Williamsburg wedding in the November issue of Skirmish, which is nice. Newsflash- it may also appear in the Mail 'Weekender' magazine at some point.