Fashion Week Fury…

 Frocks, Style, Wednesday March  Comments Off on Fashion Week Fury…
Sep 182016
 

It’s my favourite time of year!  Fashion Weeks all over the globe.  Lovely.  Inspiration and fun everywhere.  Autumn issues of proper fashion magazines are heavy with beauty and ideas.  The press is full of glorious and mind-blowing takes on how to clothe bodies.

And the inevitable whining about “aspirational” body images, the potential for exacerbating eating disorders and models who are “too skinny.”

As Hadley Freeman points out in this Guardian article,  it’s a bit simple to point to Vogue as the cause of a mental illness but seriously, why all the hate for designers using models who make their clothing ideas look good?  The creations that go down those catwalks aren’t bought by – or even manufactured for – the high street.  They are inspiration, and couture; key elements of what is shown there filter down to the mainstream over the coming weeks, months and seasons.  Take away the aspiration, inspiration and the beauty, and you’ve pretty much buggered up the clothing industry.  Let’s all shop at Evans* and camping stores and feel no joy in the garments with which we choose to clothes our bodies.

The protestations that the unattainable standards are adversely affecting women’s views and care of their bodies don’t really hold water when the majority of people in the UK (and let’s not start on America) are overweight, with a frightening proportion actually being obese and morbidly obese.   No, it isn’t pretty and no, it shouldn’t be comfortable to look at – or the norm.

Ladies on catwalk in 50s frocks

Some of my models from a fashion show I did with People & Gardens back in 2014. A very diverse selection of lovely models, who strutted their stuff and did me proud. Cost me a fortune and not one single sale or order off the back of it, but I’d happily do it again for the sheer joy. Picture stolen from the Cornish Guardian.

 

As a clothing designer and maker and one-time owner of a shop that sold other people’s designs as well as my own, I learned the hard way that larger size models don’t sell the clothing.  Those images won’t appeal to the customers who would otherwise be in the market for the clothing and because larger size people don’t actually want to see an image showing what they’ll look like in the garments; everybody wants the inspiration and aspiration.  Ask other designers and they’ll tell you the same.  Many “vintage style” designers have explored the “plus size” market, after being badgered and badgered to enter it.  We have pretty much all lost money and ended up with garments we couldn’t sell and promotional photography that didn’t help our business in any way.  Sad but true.

Teach children that all bodies are different but equally wonderful and that a healthy body is the thing to strive for rather than a certain size or shape but please stop demonising the slim and the “coathangers” who promote the fashion industry’s wares.  They show off clothing better and are therefore appropriate for the job they do.  Take the ideas and inspiration and put your own twist on it.  Make it your own, for your own style, image and body shape.

We all have a duty of care to children – hell, to other people of every age! – whether our own or in general, to teach that diversity is right and proper and health is the thing to aim for.  As such, we are better placed to do that by example, ie taking care of our own bodies, eating properly, not overeating, getting exercise, mental stimulation and taking an interest and care in the world and everything that makes it.  Less time spent running down others and more time promoting real positivity would be a good start.  As would be boycotting the reprehensible media like the Daily Mail and other similar “institutions”, with their clickbait “sidebars of shame”, who love to promote unpleasantness and hate in so many forms and set us against each other.

Grrr.

*And don’t for one minute think that Evans aren’t guilty of playing with sizes to mess up your head and make you shop there rather than elsewhere. They just do it in the opposite way to other retailers, ie their sizing is smaller than average, to convince the larger people who shop there that there’s no point even trying elsewhere if they have to squeeze into the clothing in Evans.  Unpleasantly manipulative and high time it stopped.

Onwards into the New Year – 2016 is nearly here!

 Frocks, Harebell, Ready To Wear, Wednesday March  Comments Off on Onwards into the New Year – 2016 is nearly here!
Dec 272015
 

It’s been quite a year, to say the least.  Weddings, bridesmaids, ladies who “don’t wear dresses” wanting dresses for weddings and discovering that, actually, they look amazing and that dresses are – and should be – fun.

Times move on and the new studio at St Mellion is almost finished, working is already happening there and the first frocks in the new children’s line, Harebell, have been made.  The very first one, “Gracie” sold within hours of being shown online and it’s a most appropriate home, too.

Three retro dresses on bustforms.

“Gracie” in tulip print.

And here it is, proudly modelled by the muse who inspired its creation!

Meet Grace!

Meet Grace!

Grace first came into the Looe shop, The March Hare, when she was a tiny tot in a pushchair.  She didn’t speak, just looked around with huge eyes, taking in everything as her mother, Krystal, had a lovely time looking in beautiful in a variety of frocks.  Over the years, Grace has grown up (and up and up!) into a beautiful, self-assured young lady, who knows exactly what she wants and likes and somehow, with her love of vintage and retro styles and classic dresses, she’s always the inspiration behind the Harebell line.  It was obvious that the first frock should be named after her, because it was the basic design that was created for her two years ago.  The frock has various options (sleeves, necklines, sash/waist ties, skirt length and fabrics) but it’s the same frock and looks wonderful.

Small girl in cream frock with apple print

Grace modelling her “appley dappley” Gracie frock, with sweetheart neckline and no sleeves.

Grace spotted the Wednesday March Ready To Wear line in Lovely Lane, Looe, back in the summer – nothing gets past this young lady! – and was adamant that she wanted something in the apple print.  Despite my slight misgivings as to the size of the print on a small person, Grace proved once again that she has a great eye for design as it works wonderfully.  A round necked, short sleeved version of the dress is almost finished in a black background version of this apple print.  Don’t tell Grace, though, as it isn’t her size…

No doubt Grace will continue to inspire the Harebell line as she grows up.  Apparently, this week she has been glued to the movie “White Christmas” (Miss Wednesday’s favourite!) and has a long list of designs she needs to discuss!

It’s wonderful when customers become friends.  Krystal owns the actual frock pictured on the WM business cards and profile pictures.  Hopefully both mother and daughter will be inspiring things for years to come.

Happy New Year 2016!  Here’s to new premises, new frocks, new friends and even more fun.  Stick around, we have a party to plan!

Aug 232015
 

Yes, that Miss Wednesday has been a bit slack on the blogging front lately.  It’s a disgrace and she should be taken to task forthwith.  (Good luck with that.)

The “summer” has been busy, what with musical stuff occupying that flighty Hedge Harpist and a cat developing a major eye problem necessitating a mad dash to a specialist vet, who performed some kind of miracle.  The subsequent operation and care required said cat travelling up country to a gig, which wasn’t ideal but needs must as the Pet Sitter couldn’t be relied upon to provide appropriate care.  (For the record, the cat didn’t attend the actual gig.  She’s a conscientious objector when it comes to folk music so she spent a couple of days in a nice quiet room, off her little furry paws on kitty analgesics.  Fair play!)

Then there was the Lorient Interceltique Festival in Brittany.  That is going to take some recovery time…

But Miss Wednesday is now back in her workshop and stitching away busily.  First on the agenda when she returned from moonlighting was a sweet little skirt.  Pink and with cats on it.  What more could you want?

Ladies skirt with gathers and top-stitched waistband in pink fabric printed in the UK with Siamese cats.

Pretty In Pink!

 

The fabric is from the wonderful Makower Fabrics and is designed and printed in the UK.  You know how Miss Wednesday feels about that.  The actual print is a one-way design, so can’t be cut into full circles, which means that panels, pleats or gathers are required.  This one is gathered.  Simple but effective and not as likely to flip up on a breezy day by the sea.

Next on the list is a skirt and top for the lovely Miss Sara.  It’s currently under construction but here’s the fabric…

Cotton print by Makower Fabrics of Pointer and Dachsund dogs in black and white with black background.

Gone to the dogs…

Once again, it’s a one-way design so the skirt will be gathered (well, that’s the idea at the moment but these things are subject to change) and the top is to have tie shoulder straps.  Miss Wednesday is thinking she might make the same outfit for herself.  (For “thinking” read “is making” as she’s already cut it out!)  Watch this space for pictures of the final outfit.

Next up for the Hedge Harpist is the Looe Music Festival, which this year is the 18th-20th September.  The fancy dress theme is “Sailors and Sea Creatures” so Miss Wednesday is busily dreaming up some new frocks to fit with that.  Plus she needs to make a smaller version of the Favourite Stage Frock as her alter ego appears to have shrunk considerably of late.  It’s already been made smaller a couple of times but this is going too far for alterations.  Some people are just born difficult…

Bargains!

 Frocks, Support British Makers, Wednesday March  Comments Off on Bargains!
Aug 022015
 

It’s been a funny old “summer”.  Not quite what one ordered but such is life…

Miss Wednesday has been a bit quiet on the blogging front as there have been some fairly major things going on behind the scenes.  She’s also now accepted the fact that she is absolutely rubbish at made to measure when it comes to her own measurements.  Bespoke frocks for other people?  No problem.  Run up a little number for herself?  Ah.  Odds on it won’t fit.  Anywhere.  Somewhere in her head, Miss Wednesday seems to be convinced that she’s six feet tall and in possession of a bust.  Body dysmorphia?  Delusional?  Who knows.  Truth be told, she’s five foot feck all and if you patted her on the back in the dark to find out which way she’s facing, you’d probably be none the wiser.

But Wednesday’s failings are – potentially – your gain!  Because a couple of the sample frocks she made in “her size” are now up for grabs.

Firstly, the beautiful “Joan” style, with a dropped waist below a gently curved bodice (so it doesn’t just drop and make you look like an ironing board) in some stunning wildflower print fabric by Makower.  Wednesday was very excited about this and intended it as a stage frock for her alter ego, the Hedge Harpist, but has now come to terms with the fact that it’s just too big so she’ll have to make another.  Maybe.

Ladies dress in cream flower print fabric, with dropped waist and box pleated skirt.

“Joan” frock in wildflower fabric from Makower.

And a closer look at the fabric…

Makower printed fabric with dragonflies and foxgloves

Dragonflies and foxgloves!

The frock is, in theory, cut as a size 10 but it’s definitely bigger than that.  More of a 12.  Normally, one of these would be £145 in this fabric but this one is up for grabs at the sample price of £95 plus £4.50 P&P.  If you’d like it, just email wednesday@wednesdaymarch.com and have a chat.  Send your measurements and Wednesday will be honest about whether she thinks it’ll fit/suit you.  The frock has a side zip and the bodice is lined in white cotton poplin.

Meanwhile, she will be crying quietly into her coffee and bewailing her shortcomings.  Not least in height…   And when she’s taken a picture of the other frock she made for herself, you’ll get a chance to grab that one, too.  A different style but cut for somebody taller.  Watch this space!

Good Times and Fashion Failures

 Frocks, Out And About, Style, Underpinnings, Weddings, Wednesday March  Comments Off on Good Times and Fashion Failures
Jun 072015
 

It’s been a bit of a hectic couple of weeks.  Miss Wednesday is up to her eyes in bridesmaids and frocks as it’s right in the middle of Prime Wedding Season and her alter ego, the Hedge Harpist is wearing her fingers to the bone with gigs and recordings and learning new choons.  Hence last week’s radio silence.  (Well, I say, “radio silence” but there’s been a fair bit of airplay on the actual radio!)

Thursday of this week saw two members of the Petticoat Club (Miss Tanya and the aforementioned harpist, wearing her favourite tulip print frock) at the Royal Cornwall Show, along with their Changing Room bandmates, as guests of the lovely BBC.  Much fun was had on the BBC stage, playing live on Radio Cornwall, a set for the audience in the marquee and then, a lot later, a live slot at the end of the BBC Spotlight news programme.  There’s a lot of waiting around involved with the rock and roll lifestyle, but there was plenty to see and do at the show, including beer, chips, ice-cream, sheep and cakey tea.

Two Valaid Blacknose Sheep, small, fluffy and cartoonlike with black faces

Valais Blacknose Sheep aka “comedy sheep”. Cutest sheep on the planet.

The filming of the Spotlight bit was highly entertaining.  Along with the waiting around, there’s an enormous amount of faffing and fussing for the technical crew, to get everybody in just the right place for each shot, without getting in the way of the other shots.  A small space with constantly changing light levels, no marks on the floor as it’s in a field and the big main show ring in the background.  That wasn’t stopping for any mere news programme and happily continued with horses backsides and loud tannoy commentary.  The presenters of the show, Natalie Cornah and Justin Leigh, were absolutely delightful and great fun.  Can’t imagine that it’s their favourite gig of the year, what with the challenging conditions, but they were lovely.  There was a slightly iffy moment, just seconds before going on air as a seagull kindly decorated one of the band but other than that, everything went smoothly.

Two musicians and a small green harp

Waiting around prior to Spotlight. The favourite tulip print frock.

There have been lots of kind comments over social media, in the pub, in car parks, out shopping, etc from people who saw it but you’re spared a link as it’s a news programme and expired two days ago.  There’s a relief…

Bunch of dodgy musicians

The Changing Room filming for BBC Spotlight. Photo (c) BBC South West.

Friday saw the band heading up the M5 to Clevedon to film for Songs From The Shed.  In an actual shed.  A very small but lovely shed.  Chickens and a very handsome cat made an appearance but no sheep and no cakey tea.  Well, it wasn’t Cornwall.  The random harpist wore another WM frock, this time the Bardot design in a tropical print with black grosgrain ribbon trim.  It’s a nice fabric, that one.  Doesn’t show up the cat hair or ketchup spills.  Useful.

Five musicians and instruments in a very small shed

In The Shed!

And then last night there was an outing over the water to West Looe for a spot of supper and then an album launch for James Shead’s new CD, A Light For The Fires.  He played a cracking set and a good time was had by all.  Miss Sara, however, was greatly distressed by some of the fashion faux pas on show.  She insisted that they should be the subject of this week’s Wittering, hence the following timely reminder…

  • Underwear should be just that.  Under.  This means “out of sight”.  Not putting too fine a point on it, a black bra doesn’t look cool under a white crochet top or showing clearly at the back of a pastel-coloured outfit, with crossed shoestring straps.  At best it looks careless, at worst slutty.
  • Uneven hemlines only work when the garment is nicely lined.  A cheap skirt in a light polycotton that goes up and the front and down at the back and that isn’t even well made looks like you’re wearing a nightshirt.  Or would it it was a frock.  Sadly, last night’s offending outfit was topped off with a cropped top and a roll of protruding bare flesh between that and the skirt.  Not a pretty sight.  Nearly put Miss Sara off her wine.
  • Unless you have the body of Gisele Bundchen or are prepared to wear appropriate shapewear, don’t wear bodycon outfits.  Please.
  • And lastly, consider your skintone.  If you have dark hair and lovely pale skin, a sprayed on outfit in white and light grey marl jersey will make you look like a bottle of milk with a wig on.  Sorry.

And here’s Miss Sara, showing how it should be done, in a lovely frock by Miss Fortune with a necklace by Zombie Panda Designs.

Rockabilly girl in red and black frock

Miss Sara