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!

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!

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.

A Trip To Town

 Wednesday March  Comments Off on A Trip To Town
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…

 

 

“Will You Be My Bridesmaid?”

 Frocks, Style, Weddings  Comments Off on “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?”
Oct 122014
 

Also known as “Fifteen years of friendship down the drain…”

The bridesmaid thing.  Is it a blessing or a curse?  An opportunity to have a wonderful, friendship-sealing rite of passage with your closest friends/nearest and dearest or The Sweetest Revenge Opportunity Ever?

I get a lot of enquiries about bridesmaids’ dresses.  A lot.  Oh yes.  Most come from the bride to be and/or her mother.  Mostly they are nice and want something pretty but slightly unusual and ‘vintage-style’.  Something that isn’t prom/evening wear or in satin/chiffon/organza.   Mostly I am able to oblige them with exactly what they are wanting, even if they haven’t been able to quite put it into words.  Sometimes there is no way on this earth I am going to be able to work with either the bride or the mother and nothing I can do will actually make them happy.  That’s when my order book becomes over-full and fabric unavailable…   But usually I can help.

The thing with bridesmaids is that they come in all shapes, sizes, ages and outlooks.  It is an absolute minefield for the kind and caring bride to try to negotiate the terrain and keep each and every one of her attendants happy in a frock that will fit, suit, match the theme/colour scheme and not scare the vicar.  Enough to put you off getting married anywhere other than in secret with a couple of witnesses grabbed off the street.  (Regular readers will know that I had the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as attendants at my wedding.  Much easier and more fun.  And no, not a euphemism for various family members I detest, either!)

Of course, the majority of wedding consultations start out in a less than happy mood.  When there is more than one bridesmaid, they are invariably all worried about what is going to happen, what the others may want or not want and what they are likely to end up with.  They don’t want to upset the other bridesmaids and they certainly don’t want to upset the bride.  If I had a pound for every time I heard, “I’m just going to turn up and wear whatever you want me to wear,” uttered with a sigh, then I’d be smiling all the way to the bank.  Unfortunately, nobody ever coughs up that pound, nor does that sentence fill me – or the bride – with joy.  On the contrary, it’s when the feeling of Impending Doom deepens, blackens and threatens the swallow up the room and everyone in it.  Weddings should be joyful occasions and nobody wants a bridesmaid who is really unhappy with her frock or is there on sufferance.  Every female member of that wedding party should be wearing something that makes her want to dance.  Which is where I come in…

Happily, most of the people who come to see me about bridal stuff want “something different”; it’s quite rare for me to be confronted with “everything is to be traditional and done by the book”, which is probably my worst nightmare.  Weddings should be fun.  Have I said that already?  I’ll repeat it anyway.  Weddings should be fun.  And the participants should be comfortable.  To that end, I have a few styles that I know work very well for bridesmaid dresses.  The Leah and Diana styles (halter neck or cap sleeved, princess seamed, straight or sweetheart neckline) are the most obvious choices and very popular, especially as the bodices are shirred at the back, delivering excellent fit and the potential for devouring an extra slice of wedding cake in comfort.  Not everybody wants a halter neck, so the Diana gives a little more shoulder coverage.

Halterneck retro 50s style full skirted frock in yellow fabric with printed cherry pattern

Leah halter neck style, in yellow cherry print fabric.

 

Retro 50s style frock with cap sleeves in black fabric with bright pink roses

Diana full skirted style, with straight neckline (can also be done with sweetheart) and cap sleeves.

But then, there are always ladies who worry – probably more than they should – about their arms.  And tummies.  Hips.  Shoulders.  Oh, every bit of them.  At this point, I usually recommend a burkha.  When they’re over the shock of that and realise I’m joking, I point them in the direction of Verity, my pseudo-1940s style with the slight empire line and the full circle skirt.

Yesterday’s clients were a hoot.  Lovely ladies but not at all happy about the prospect of finding the perfect style to suit them all.  The dress they all – allegedly – wanted wasn’t going to work, as another dressmaker had already told them.  They said they “liked the style” of Diana but their faces clearly said, “Not that much…”  Sleeves were mentioned.   I waved to Verity and they all assumed an expression of horror.  Now, I know that poor Verity wasn’t on the best mannequin (Gladys, my lingerie model, who is difficult at the best of times, and is the mannequin on the right hand side in the following picture) and wasn’t sporting a petticoat, so probably didn’t look her most enticing.  But the reaction was hysterical.  “Oh, I don’t like that at all!” came from the bride.  Quickly followed by, “It makes me think of 1940s…”  Yes!  It’s supposed to!  “… Those things that cleaners wore.  Crossed over at the front.  Hideous.  Sorry.  I really don’t like it.”  Cracking description, albeit not how I see the frock.  Chief Bridesmaid was more succinct.  “Looks like a preg tent.”

Retro style frock in navy spot fabric with sleeves and crossover bodice

Verity in navy pin spot fabric.

At this point I did my best not to double up on the floor laughing.  I have never heard the expression “preg tent” before but I am certainly storing that one up for future usage.  Oh yes.

I’m not sure how Chief Bridesmaid was persuaded to don said “preg tent” but she was.  Petticoat was slipped over her head (she wasn’t going through the rigmarole of getting her kit off to try a cleaner’s overall!) and Verity followed.  Zipped up the back.  Expression changed.  She looked in the mirror and realised she looked fabulous.  She twirled.  She smiled.  Twirled a bit more and beamed. Everybody else beamed.  The bride was gobsmacked and changed her mind completely about the style.  All of a sudden, it ticked all the boxes.   The other bridesmaids did their best to try it on (wrong size, not their fault) and pronounced themselves equally enamoured.  And they all smiled.

Now all I have to do is source the perfect fabrics, because they’re all having the same design but different colours.  Very precise different colours.  Did they come armed with knowledge of the exact Pantones?  No.  Of course not.  (And, frankly, the day a bridal party does that is the day I run away screaming!)  But they are off to B&Q to arm themselves with those paint colour cards.  Easy.

Me?  I’m off fabric shopping, which I enjoy.  I’ll be looking for specifics when I rock up at the London Textile Fair in January, not just inspiration.  Excellent.

Meanwhile, the bridal party have the fun of deciding what colour petticoats (I’m recommending a pop of something vivid underneath their pastel frocks) and finding The Perfect Shoes.  The right style, colour and ones they can walk and dance in.  All day and night.

Now that we’ve settled on the style, I think I have the easier task…