A New Page – Miss Wednesday Loves…

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Jan 252015

At last, a links page, for all the things that Miss Wednesdays wears and/or raves about and thinks you might like.  For your information, edification and enjoyment.  And you don’t have to eat it after reading.  Bonus.

Find it on the menu on the Wednesday March homepage or directly here.

You’re welcome.

A Trip To Town

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Jan 182015

It was all very exciting.  Miss Wednesday isn’t allowed out very often but she does get to go up to London for important things like trade fairs, where she is strictly chaperoned by her niece, Miss Becca.  As she’s been very good of late, Miss Becca allowed her to travel all the way to the Business Design Centre on her own, rather than meeting her at Paddington to ensure she didn’t get lost or sidetracked.  That proved to be the first error of the day because Miss Wednesday managed to go to the wrong side of Paddington to get into the Underground, thus wasting a lot of time as she realised she had to walk all the way back to just past where she’d got off the Cornwall train.  When you’re as short as Miss Wednesday, that can take a while.  And then, what with the Northern line appearing to have been moved (what the…?!) and Miss Wednesday chatting to a very nice coffee seller whilst seeking directions for the Business Design Centre, time was getting on.

For those who don’t know it, the Business Design Centre is a beautiful building in Islington, which was originally the Royal Agricultural Hall, holding agricultural shows until 1938.  Nowadays it’s a conference and exhibition venue and very nice it is too.  Apart from the catering arrangements, which are rubbish.

Facade of the Business Design Centre

Business Design Centre facade

On this occasion, it was hosting the London Textile Fair and both Miss Wednesday and Miss Becca were very excited at the prospect.  Alas, it turned out to be a less than inspiring experience.  Miss Becca manages a sizeable fabric shop in a big town and is very good at, well, everything, but especially display and marketing.  She was horrified at the sight that met their eyes.  No stands in the main area, just a sea of small tables with rails of hanging samples next to them.  It was difficult to see what was being offered and, unless you knew which firm you were after and what they offered, nigh on impossible to locate anything.  To make matters worse, what is it with reps at trade shows?  They never, ever want to make eye contact, say “hello” or even acknowledge your presence!

Miss Wednesday was starting to get tired and teasy so Becca, knowing the signs, decided it was time for lunch.  Miss Wednesday is very fond of lunch.  Being short of time, they went to the restaurant next door to the BDC, which they thought was a safe bet for something decent if not inspiring.  It was an ASK Pizza and Pasta place, despite the fact that the entrance looked more like a hairdresser.  Service was interminably slow and when she did get her carbonara, Miss Wednesday started to wonder if, indeed, they had made a terrible error and it was actually a hair salon after all.  Ever had a carbonara with no bacon?  Nope.  Weird.  It turned out that staff were short on the ground and things weren’t going well for the delightful ones who were there, poor things.  Oh dear.

After eventually escaping from ‘restaurant hell’, the ladies returned to the BDC, determined to find something appropriate to Miss Wednesday’s needs.  They went upstairs, where there were some actual stands, one of which had a beautiful backdrop of designs.  “The Vintage Collection” it spouted proudly.  Miss Wednesday was enchanted by the designs, although slightly confused because they were all on paper.

“What fabrics do these come in?” Miss Becca enquired of a mere slip of a girl behind the table.  Mere Slip gave our ladies what can only be described as “A Look” and said, “They’re vintage”.  With an emphasis on the “vintage”.  Okay.  Miss Becca tried again, to meet with an even more disdainful look and manner and a repeated, “They’re vintage.  They’re on paper.”

Miss Wednesday was extremely unimpressed and said, “Yes, we can see that.  We’re after fabric.  Good day to you”, and both she and Miss Becca turned on their (well-shod) heels and stalked off.

How do these people make a living?!  Surely, if you’re in the business of selling something – anything – you make half an effort to engage with people showing interest in your products?  Don’t you?  Even Miss Wednesday, who is undoubtedly The Least User-Friendly Person In The Entire World – but now obviously has a rival – will answer well-meant but frequently stupid questions with proper information!  So, alas, although Susanna Sampson’s “The Vintage Collection” had the patterns of Miss Wednesday’s dreams, she wasn’t getting any of Miss Wednesday’s sizeable budget.  Which is a shame for everybody.

Miss Becca manoeuvred Miss Wednesday downstairs and back into The First Circle Of Hell, whereupon they drifted miserably through the sea of tables and people who wouldn’t even meet their eye.

Then Miss Becca let out a soft squeak.  The squeak that says, “Gotcha!”  What had she found?  Makower Fabrics, the maker of a fabric that Miss Wednesday had been shown last year by a friend and Petticoat Club member but which had been on sale in The Priciest Fabric Shop In The World (Truro Fabrics) and was therefore out of reach for her purposes.  But here it was in new colourways, accompanied by some other beautiful, beautiful designs and at trade prices.  Miss Wednesday was in heaven.  Well, almost.  They had to get the people behind the table to speak.  And, if those people did speak, there was always the chance that they had high minimum orders and would send Miss Wednesday away with short shrift and more disdainful looks.

Not a bit of it.  Danielle, the lady behind the table, was delightful from start to finish.  She said, “Hello” and smiled, which is always a good start.  When Miss Becca asked what their minimum order was, she smiled again and said, “One metre.”  Miss Wednesday said, “Goodness, I need a lot more than that!”  And business was done.

Sadly, there wasn’t really enough time for Miss Wednesday to get into her stride but she placed an order for 8 fabrics, 5 of which are turning up this week.  A telephone call on Friday afternoon from another delightful person at Makower, confirmed that the in stock fabrics were ready for despatch.  All simple, painless and, well, pleasurable.  If only all the people at the fair had been like that!  But they weren’t so there are undoubtedly a few who lost business.

Still, here are some of the designs that are on their way to the workshop…

Seashells in Peach.  This will be stunning with a peach petticoat!

Seashells in Peach. This will be stunning with a peach petticoat!

Fabric design of seashells in a pale blue colourway

Seashells in blue. Heaven.

Becca chose this one.  It's very eye-catching - and she's a cat person!

Becca chose this one. It’s very eye-catching – and she’s a cat person!

Fabric design of green and blush pears on a pale blue background.

Pears. Good enough to eat and the picture doesn’t do it justice.

Fabric design of line-drawn Edwardian ladies in a blue, pink, grey and green colourway.

Edwardian ladies. This is extremely striking.

Beautiful, huh?  And a little different from Miss Wednesday’s previous offerings.  She’s very excited.

Sadly, time was getting away from them and Miss Wednesday was escorted helter-skelter across London, back to Paddington, to catch the train home by the skin of her teeth.  She has resolved that next time – because there will have to be a next time – she will stay a couple of nights in London to enable things to be taken at a less breakneck pace.  And then she can visit the markets, too…



New Year, New Office!

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Jan 112015

It was a bit of a surprise, to say the least, to get a phone call on Tuesday 6th January, to tell me that I could now have the keys to the office I’d been promised in another building, away from the delicious but unwelcome smell from the Thai takeaway next door to the current one.  I picked the keys up later that afternoon and poked my head briefly in the door of the new office, seeing it empty for the first time.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take in the state of the carpet (you don’t want to know, and this morning I found a nice lump of chewing gum hidden underneath the phone on the carpet) or the state of the walls.  (Remember when Blu Tak was heralded as being the best thing since sliced bread because it didn’t damage walls?  Well, that was a whopping great fib!)  I was shown the kitchen (miles away from the office and with two flights of stairs in between), and a chap who introduced himself as the “random bloke who lurks in the kitchen”.  At this point, I thought that maybe it would be okay.  Neighbours with a sense of humour are a good thing.

On Friday, I took the first, largely symbolic rolls of fabric and a pattern folder to the new office, along with my Bernina and tailoring stuff.  Looking round the office properly for the first time, I noted the state of it (oh dear), checked that I could reach the bird table from the window (bird food will be purchased forthwith) and checked out the alarm system.  The office is older but bigger and there are more people in the building.  So far, the natives seem friendly.

Two rolls of fabric plus a folder and a sewing machine

The first rolls of fabric arrive, along with a pattern and sewing machine.

On Saturday morning, Mr March and I started the move in earnest.  There’s so much to move!  Still!  We haven’t moved all the big, heavy stuff yet; we have that joy to come today.  And then we can decide whether or not a cutting/worktable can be constructed.  At the moment, we’re thinking that the room is still too small, although the possibility of braked castors may make it possible.  It would make life a lot easier to be able to cut at a comfortable height and also save trying to persuade the Council to replace the floorcovering.

So far, we have the petticoat rail installed, the shelving unit moved and an identical new one purchased and installed alongside it.  Already, things are looking up.  Shelving!  Boxes on shelves!  Tidy(ish)!

Bookcase with assorted boxes and rubbish

Old shelves…

Bookcase with assorted boxes and containers

New shelves…

Clothing rail with assorted garments hanging.

Panic not! The petticoats are fine!

Just don’t look at the other end of the office…

Office with stuff everywhere

Oh dear…

You looked, didn’t you?  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

It will be fine, though.  It will.  Mr March and I will shift rest of the equipment and hopefully by Monday I’ll be ready to have the phone line switched over.  The number isn’t changing and the change will be instantaneous, apparently, once the word is given.  It’s quite exciting!  New address is on the contact page already.  It’s not much different from the old address; same park, different building.

Watch this space…