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…

New Year, New Office!

 Support British Makers, Wednesday March  Comments Off on New Year, New Office!
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…

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…?

Nov 232014
 

Six months in the preparation and now it’s all over…

Last night was the long awaited fashion show at the Eden Project, in conjunction with various local designers and educational establishments in aid of People and Gardens.  It may come as a bit of a shock to hear that all the Wednesday March frocks were finished by 5.30pm on Friday 21st.  This is either some sort of a record or, as is widely suspected, Miss Wednesday was kidnapped and replaced with an alien.  She is never finished with time to spare.  It was all a bit strange.

Mrs A turned up at the allotted time with an appropriate vehicle (borrowed from her husband), plus a wodge of  printed order forms and some wonderfully displayed fabric samples.  Miss Wednesday had packed the frocks and petticoats (and the assorted bits and bobs that would have been needed if she hadn’t taken them) and everything was duly loaded into the car.  Miss Sara, Miss Jane, Miss Tina and Miss Sarah all turned up and it was time to go.

Three cars travelled in convoy to the Eden Project and then promptly got lost.  It’s a rather large place with a lot of car parks but no obvious signs of the stewards we’d been told to locate.  Various routes were tried but nary a parking steward was seen.  It turned out, after a slight altercation with a very long, very bendy bus and an “Authorised Vehicles Only” road, that the parking stewards had misunderstood their instructions and weren’t turning up until much later.  But Miss Wednesday and Miss Tina got out and walked to find help and appropriate guidance, armed only with a pashmina and a small stash of TicTacs.  Thanks to their bravery – it was getting a tad chilly, even if it wasn’t quite the below zero temperatures that Miss Wednesday was bleating about – eventually People Who Knew Stuff were located, everybody got to the right place and everything was unloaded.  (Miss Lucinda and Miss Zoe were already there, having had no such navigation problems.)

There followed a few hours involving heated rollers, make-up brushes and a lot of standing around.  No, the bar was not open but Miss Wednesday did ascertain from the barman that there was a good supply of gin.  More on that later…

 

One tiny rehearsal  for the WM models was squeezed in at about 6.30pm, despite every other designer having their models poncing up and down the catwalk for ages but no choreographed routine to learn.  Mrs A was a tad savage about that as she and Miss Sara had worked very hard on that routine and, naturally, they were worried that timings might go to pot in the actual show as most of the models had no idea what was going to happen and some hadn’t even heard the music.

Wednesday March was the third designer to show, after quite of lot of “asymmetric” knitwear and, er, scarves.  Oh, and a rather weird yoga/deportment lecture from one designer.  Much hilarity now ensues with members of the Petticoat Club whenever scarves or “zipping up” are mentioned.  You had to be there…

Then it was time…

 

Model in halterneck cherry print frock

The newest WM model, Miss Sara, in a Leah frock in pink and white Japanese cherry blossom print. Over a purple petticoat. Stunning!

 

What?  You want pictures of the actual show?  Ah.  Yes.  Well.  Er, later.  Miss Wednesday isn’t renowned for her prowess with anything like a camera and did her very best to take actual video of the show rather than mess up a lot of pictures.   She swears it said it was recording and the red light was on.

Fortunately, there were plenty of official photographers and people videoing it so there will be better pictures in due course.  Including ones of the models who stole the show, the lovely Miss Julie and Miss Helen from People and Gardens, who raised the biggest cheer of the night.

To be continued…