Sweetly pretty or a Rockabilly edge?

 Frocks, Style, Support British Makers, Wednesday March  Comments Off on Sweetly pretty or a Rockabilly edge?
May 242015
 

This season’s crop of fabrics has thrown up an interesting dichotomy for Miss Wednesday.  She loves retro styles and proper frocks and very much enjoys the cheesecake and pin-up styles from across the Pond.  But – and it’s a big but – she also likes subtler, pretty, very English prints and less traffic-stopping designs.  Miss Sara, bless her, was becoming increasingly depressed at the number of new fabrics arriving at WM HQ that just didn’t fit her more rockabilly style and, as Number One House Model, she felt an intervention was required.

So she sighed a bit.  Wobbled her bottom lip.  Stamped her foot.  (She’s very good at that, is Miss Sara.)  All the usual signs of an impending tantrum were displayed but in the end she sat Miss Wednesday down and said, “Look, I haven’t had a new frock in ages and none of these new fabrics do it for me.  So what are you going to do about it?”

Fair play.  If you don’t ask, you don’t get and, frankly, Miss Wednesday was buried so deeply – and happily – in wonderful English countryside prints that she just hadn’t noticed.

“Oh, yes,” she said, blinking in the light and casting her gaze around the workshop for something.  “I’d forgotten I have something for you.”  And there, pinned to the notice board was a fabric swatch that made Miss Sara’s heart beat faster.  She wanted something new and “different” for an impending scooter rally so the new fabric was perfect.  Scooters, Hawaiian flora and girls in swimwear.  Even her Nice Young Man wasn’t going to roll his eyes at this new frock!

1950s style sundress in Hawaiian print with scooters and girls

Miss Sara’s new frock

Miss Sara was overjoyed.  The bottom lip stopped wobbling and suddenly stamping feet started jumping for joy.  The selected colour way was purchased and the frock run up in double-quick time for the rally, where it was received with approval.  Miss Wednesday doesn’t enjoy working with fabric printed with large figures because she has to waste a lot in the cutting so as not to behead any where it matters on the garment but, as suspected, the scooterists didn’t tire of pointing out, “‘Ere, you’ve got a bird on each tit!” so the effort was well worth it.

And so Miss Wednesday was able to retire to her English designed and printed fabrics for a while.  At least, until Miss Sara kicks off again and wants something else “special”.*

The moral of this Wittering?  Well, Wednesday March is all about retro but your way.  If you don’t see quite what you’re after, just ask.  After all, the old adage, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” does still hold true in many areas of life.  Approach Miss Wednesday with caution, mind your Ps and Qs – if possible, bring gin – and she may well make you the frock of your dreams.  Other fabrics are always available and one-offs are definitely possible.**

This is the latest fabric and a different style of frock (okay, one she’s done before but not regularly and certainly not in a couple of years) is currently under construction.  Watch this space.

Makower printed fabric with dragonflies and foxgloves

Dragonflies and foxgloves!

 

 

*   Miss Sara has already asked and current betting is that it will be around about a week before the lip starts to wobble.

**  Within reason.  She’s still not stitching velvet or jersey for anyone.  Sorry.

May 102015
 

Regular readers will know how strongly Miss Wednesday feels on ethical matters, such as food and garments production, living wages, decent living and working conditions, etc.  She can blather on about such things until the chickens give up asking for corn and fall asleep with sheer boredom.  Just recently, we’ve had Fashion Revolution Day, marking two years since the ghastly factory collapse at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, which killed 1133 workers (24th April 2013) and calling on people to think about and instrument a change in global fashion supply chains.

Even more recently, we in Britain had a General Election.  (Oh gawd, not more political bollocks…)  Well, no.  No political bollocks here, not really.  Because, frankly, it’s done and dusted.  For whatever reasons, the people of Britain made their choices and elected a government.  Job done.  And now we have to sit back and let that government get on with creating the country we want.  Don’t we?

Er, no.  No, we don’t.  We all have the power to influence our society.  Every single one of us.  With every single pound we spend.  And with pretty much every action we take.

Life for some is good.  Life for some is harder.  Life for others is unbelievably difficult and accessing help can be an uphill struggle, not always achievable.  We hear so much about “benefit bunnies”, layabouts, shirkers, etc.  But nobody wants to have to go to a food bank in order to be able to put food on the table for their family.  Nobody.  But in an economic climate such as this, where jobs are hard to come by and living wages a mere dream, they are becoming increasingly important.

So, spare a thought for the people who have no choice but to use them.  When you’re shopping, maybe stick a couple of things in your basket that you can pop into the food bank’s collection basket in your local bank, church or community centre.  You will be making a bigger difference than the pound or less it costs you to do this.

And when you do that shopping, how do you feel doing it locally?  Proper locally?  When you spend money in local shops (not branches of national chains), you’re supporting local people.  Not just the proprietors of those shops but the wider community.

For example, the beautiful Lovely Lane emporiums in Polperro and Looe – more news on this in a minute – stock my Ready To Wear range.  So you can actually try and buy Wednesday March clothing in a shop again.  How lovely!  Now, should you choose to purchase some of that clothing (or any of the other locally-produced goods in the shop), who do you think benefits?  Well, Sharon, the proprietor of those shops, me, the other producers, obviously.  But Sharon employs local people in her shops, because although she’s an amazing businesswoman, she can’t be in more than one place at once, so needs people to help her.  People she pays to man the shops for her when she’s off sourcing stock and doing the hundred and more things you have to do when you have a shop. Employment!  Yes, she’s creating employment, giving local people money and opportunities and keeping them out of the Jobcentre and Foodbanks.  And both Sharon and her employees spend money locally, in other local shops and businesses, creating more opportunities for expansion, employment and wealth locally.  I spend my money as locally as possible, doing the same as I’m sure do the other suppliers.  And when our money stays local – or at least in this country – it goes further.  We make our economy work for us, rather than bolstering up multinational firms who, frankly, don’t give a monkeys about any of us as long as they and their shareholders get big, fat payoffs.   Surely that’s an easy way to make a difference?

And, because this is supposed to be a blog about frocks, here’s a picture of one.

 

Sundress in blue and white seashell print fabric

‘Anna’ tie shoulder sundress

The original Lovely Lane store is moving from West Looe to Higher Market Street in East Looe and will be opening on Saturday 16th May 2015!  Exciting or what?  And yes, the tie-shoulder sundress pictured above is one of the garments that will be available for purchase there.  Form an orderly queue, please.

Miss Wednesday’s Favourite Month

 Frocks, Ready To Wear, The Petticoat Club, Wednesday March  Comments Off on Miss Wednesday’s Favourite Month
Mar 012015
 

Goodness, it’s St David’s Day already, ushering in Miss Wednesday’s favourite month.  Well, it would have to be, wouldn’t it?  She was born on a Wednesday in March, after all.  And Miss Jane makes the first of her handful of annual visits to Looe this month, so the top tier of the Petticoat Club all get together for what used to be known as The March Hare’s Staff Christmas Party.  Back in the days when it was just Miss Wednesday and Miss Jane and Derek at Papa Nino’s only had to find two leftover crackers.  Now, of course, they require six of them, together with crackers, party poppers and rather a lot of Prosecco.

March is also a favourite of Miss Wednesday for another reason.  She starts to feel properly springy in March and, along with desperately wanting to be on the Cote d’Azur, begins to break out both her cherished older designs and any new frocks she’s designed over the winter months.  This year sees some lovely new fabrics waiting to be made up into the designs that are still in her head (quite a few one-way prints requiring different skirts) and some cute new frocks for the Ready To Wear collection, which will be in Lovely Lane in Polperro for Easter.   Some are already there, although not this one yet.  Soon.  Hopefully this week!

1950s style sundress with tie straps in peach shell print fabric

This is Anna, the latest RTW frock. Cute as a button, huh?

Larger view of 1950s style sundress in peach shell print

A slightly larger view of Anna. Note the ties on the shoulders, making her adjustable…

Anna is almost complete now and will retail at £75 in sizes S, M, L and XL.  And then it’s on with the next design.  Which Miss Wednesday has almost worked out in her head.  Almost…

If you’re wanting a new spring or summer frock, especially a made to measure one, don’t leave it too long before having a chat with Miss Wednesday and placing your order.  Things are busy at the workshop already and this year has the added entertainment of some musical commitments with The Changing Room so Miss W won’t be available at all at Easter, as the band’s off to Ireland to represent Cornwall at the Pan Celtic Festival in Derry.  It’s all go!

 

Feb 152015
 

One of the reasons for closing The March Hare was, weirdly, the popularity of the Wednesday March frocks above all other things in the shop.  With the travelling and the work involved in actually running the shop, there just wasn’t enough time to make sufficient garments to keep up with demand and have a proper range of sizes and styles in stock.  Closing the shop, renting a workshop and concentrating on the made to measure side of the business seemed to be the way forward.  And it was.  It definitely was.  No question about that.

But it did close the main window on the world and plenty of people, both local and visiting, were very sad about the decision.  There has been a lot of feedback on this.  It’s a difficult one, because many of the people who mourned the disappearance of The March Hare had never actually bought anything in there; whilst they loved the style of the shop and clothing, it has to be said that not everybody had the budget or time for a made to measure, especially given the length of the waiting list.  So, realistically, the shop had to go.

When I closed it, the plan was to do some outside events, retro fairs, etc and maybe the odd pop-up shop, but swapping the huge 4×4 for a 2-seater sports job made the logistics of moving rails, mannequins and stock problematical and Miss Wednesday is still unconvinced that giving up her beloved Snippy (the hairdresser’s car) will end in anything other than driving misery.  So she’s bimbled along, making the made to measure and having a lovely time, but not getting out much and missing having that window on the world, which was good, albeit expensive, advertising.

On Tuesday 10th February, at 11.41 am,  a short Facebook message pinged in from a friend with a shop in Looe.  “Have you got a number I can call you on please?!!!”

This was either sent to the wrong person or a cry for help.  Number duly provided and Sharon called to explain.  She was opening another branch of Lovely Lane Interiors in Polperro on Saturday 14th and had already advertised that there would be some vintage clothing but that the person providing that part of the offering had been unable to go through with it and she wondered if there was anything left from The March Hare that could be put into her new shop to fill the gap.

Er, no.  Not really.  It is all made to measure now and any samples tend to get snapped up quite quickly.

One hour later, however, Miss Wednesday was in the workshop and Wednesday March Ready to Wear was under way!  It is not a huge range at the moment, given the timescale (3 days!) but there are plans for it.  The first pieces were delivered to Sharon at the new shop on Friday afternoon and will be added to as quickly as possible, whilst still providing the normal made to measure service.  The full range should be in place by Easter.  No pressure…!

Retro style frock with novelty print on white background

A bad picture of the first WM Ready to Wear design! Meet “Chessie”. Round neck, scoop back, gathered skirt. Ta dah!

Chessie is the first ready to wear design.  She’s simple, classic and classy.  The garments in the range will be offered in standard sizes (S, M, L, XL) and limited to one in each style/fabric/size to start with to maintain some exclusivity, certainly until we can gauge the demand.  But who knows where this may lead?

Chessie is priced at £85, which is considerably less than the made to measure garments and is currently available in a beautiful print of Edwardian ladies.  The fabric is designed and printed in England and the frocks are made in Darkest Cornwall – how’s that for Buy British?!  Grab one while you can.

Wednesday March Ready to Wear is currently only available from Lovely Lane Interiors, Polperro, Cornwall.  Drive to Polperro, park up in the carpark (do NOT be tempted to drive right down as it is very narrow and access is restricted to essential vehicles only) and wander on down the quaint main street.  Lovely Lane can be found on the right hand side, past The Kitchen restaurant and next door to the ice cream kiosk.  The sign is more easily spotted on the way back than the way down so keep your eyes peeled.  Inside you’ll find all manner of glorious furnishings and goodies to tempt you, along with some rather nice frocks and petticoats and a vintage tea room offering Cornish Tea and Coffee.

Interior shot of shabby chic interiors store

The Lord Mayor of Polperro, having opened the new Lovely Lane Interiors store there. WM Ready To Wear just behind him to the left! Photo stolen from Holiday Cottages Polperro

Meanwhile, Miss Wednesday is slaving away on the next design.  Watch this space…

People and Gardens Fashion Show Part 2

 Frocks, Wednesday March  Comments Off on People and Gardens Fashion Show Part 2
Nov 302014
 

Well, you were promised more pictures…

It’s always a bit of a gamble, using a bunch of friends as models rather than experienced professionals.  The first fashion show that Miss Wednesday did, proved that in no uncertain terms.  Some of the people asked, stepped up to the mark with alacrity and performed brilliantly, despite being stricken with terrible nerves and worrying themselves senseless about unnecessarily complicated choreography but a couple of others got plastered, messed around like over-excited teenagers and ruined a frock.  This time, two of the models actually choreographed the routine, one of whom was the most nervous last time and who would this time be leading the pack down the catwalk.  It proved an excellent strategy, because not only was the fabulous Miss Sara much more comfortable with the routine, she also ensured that despite the almost complete lack of rehearsal for everybody on the day (only Miss Sara and Mrs Alsop had actually done the routine before), everybody followed her lead and it went off almost without a hitch.  Certainly, one model got carried away with enthusiasm and took longer on the catwalk than her allotted phrase of music and the Stars of the Show took considerably longer than planned but they were doing such a wonderful job that it really didn’t matter, and Mrs A soon put things back on track.  It was just so obviously that they were all enjoying themselves so much and their enthusiasm certainly came through to the audience.

Ladies in 50s frocks

The Stars of the Show, Miss Julie and Miss Helen, flanked by Miss Tina and the Marvellous Mrs Alsop. Photo courtesy of People and Gardens CIC

The choice of music was, you must surely agree, inspired.  It had been causing Miss Wednesday a few headaches because she wanted something of an appropriate style for her frocks, ie swingy, but not too fast and definitely with a gardening – or at least floral – theme.  The best she could come up with was “In An English Country Garden”, which is pretty and not too fast and would have been memorable but just lacked the requisite swing.

Once again, Miss Sara took the bit between her teeth and ran with it, coming up with the perfect track.  Miss Wednesday had already considered the Floral Dance, but felt that the Terry Wogan version was just too ploddy.  Miss Sara said, “Ah yes, but the Matt Monro version is perfect.”  Seriously?  Matt Monro did the Floral Dance?!  Well, yes, it appears he did and he did it brilliantly.  It was the perfect track to use and, at 3 minutes and 20 seconds, about the right length.  Let’s face it, that’s a long time on a stage or catwalk and nobody wanted the audience to drop off or die of boredom.  And it would appear that nobody did.  The applause was thunderous, especially for the stars of the show, Miss Julie and Miss Helen.

Miss Wednesday did her very best to video the entire performance.  Unfortunately, despite her phone displaying the requisite symbols and red light to indicate that it was recording, it most certainly was not.  Hence the reliance on pictures from other sources for the blog posts…

Ladies on stage in 50s frocks

The full line up on the stage! Picture stolen from the Cornish Guardian.

 

Media coverage of the event was high and there’s a lovely article in the Cornish Guardian about it, complete with excellent pictures of both the Wednesday March girls and the other designers involved.  It’s slightly misleading in that it says that all the designers were from Plymouth College, which most certainly wasn’t the case, but the pictures are fabulous.  All in all, it was a wonderful event and one that raised over £5,000 for People and Gardens, which is not to be sneezed at.  Maybe they’ll consider doing it again next year…?