Jul 042016
 

Anybody remember Jeffrey Bernard? Alas, no, I really was unwell and it was nothing to do with a surfeit of gin. I took it quite badly, too, and wasn’t the easiest or best behaved of patients…

I’ve been very down in the dumps about being laid up and – as anyone who knows me will testify – extremely bad at “doing nothing in order to heal properly”. But last week, in the midst of what I can only call “a right bollocking” by an old friend, came a ray of light.

“If you are looking for something to watch while resting, I suggest Handmade: By Royal Appointment on BBC iPlayer. I have loved the two I watched, and I think you will appreciate them too.”

Well, I’d spotted one about Steinway pianos on BBC4, but missed it and had wondered idly about watching it on iPlayer. After another lengthy snooze (for which read, “sulk”) in bed, I sneaked downstairs when Spouse went out and I switched on the tellybox. What joys were revealed! Four wonderful programmes about beautiful, handcrafted, “heritage” products. It feels almost wrong to call them “products”, as that seems to cheapen the beauty and workmanship that goes into their creation. Yes, creation. “Manufacture” also doesn’t seem to be the right word.

Best of all was the programme about John Lobb, shoemaker. Such skill and attention to detail. It was wonderful to watch and I will admit to having slightly leaky eyes. Both company and artisans are utterly devoted to their trade, which is practically a vocation; they are determined to provide the customer with the best possible product and value. And the customers respond with equal devotion. Yes, the price tag makes your eyes water when you first read it, but when you see the quality of the materials, the hours and hours of skill in making the shoes – not to mention the years spent learning the craft – and the attention to design detail to ensure that the customer gets exactly the shoes they want make the figure seem like a very good deal. Tellingly, the customers aren’t all royalty and the mega-rich. They do all, however, have one thing in common, and that’s a keen appreciation for quality in design and manufacture and a certain joy in knowing that they are helping keep skills and traditions alive and artisans in work. To me, that’s priceless.

That programme alone helped revive my passion for what I do, designing and tailoring garments that will fit them properly, last a long time and make the customer feel wonderful. Happily, my customers seem to understand and appreciate this.

My garments are not manufactured in a factory, not even a UK factory. They are made for you, by me in my studio in Cornwall. I put a lot of thought into my designs and processes in order to make the best pieces of clothing for each customer that I possibly can. All my customers are different and I really enjoy making something special for each one. I think I succeed, because so many of my first time customers are introduced by other, longstanding customers and usually go on to develop the two-way working relationship that makes my job so rewarding.

I love what I do and I can’t wait to get back to it, hopefully for a couple of hours tomorrow!

 

Ladies shirt in tiny floral print.

The Shorter Shirt, in a ditsy floral print cotton poplin with 3/4 sleeves and turnback cuffs.

And So The Adventure (In Tailoring) Begins…

 Style, Support British Makers, Sustainable fashion, Tailoring, Wednesday March  Comments Off on And So The Adventure (In Tailoring) Begins…
Jan 212016
 

For a good while now, I have been the subject of some considerable harassment from a friend with an idea in her head.  Angie Voluti is glamorous, charming, opinionated, wilful, deals with highly-powered and stunningly beautiful things – and people – on a daily basis and has correspondingly lofty ideals when it comes to clothing.   She wanted a coat, knew what she wanted (in velvet) and was determined that I should be the one to make it.  I have been, not to put too fine a point on it, badgered relentlessly for months.  Nay, probably years.  I have steadfastly refused.  She has – equally tenaciously – refused to let it drop.

Obviously, neither of us caved in…

Here is the first in a series of guest posts from La Voluti, in which she tells her side of The Adventure.  I do, of course, get to tell it from my perspective but it’s Angie’s turn first…

 

‘The Beautiful Coat’s Adventure started in my mind.  I wanted something that would hug and hold, wrap and isolate.  Elegant but not stiff, with a whiff of eccentricity but without the full gothic regalia.  Beautiful Coat must be out there, I thought.

I cyber-fingered pages and pages of of images with impossibly thin Chinese girls wearing short, Russian-style coats in plastic colours.  Walked in and out of high street shops, chains, superstores and small vintage outlets smelling of old papers and incontinent memories.  Too small.  Too big.  A tent round the waist or too tight around my breasts.   Not a straight line, no.  Nor an extravagant collar.  No, no hood, thanks.  No plastic buttons.  Nope, that would suit my grandmother.  You kidding?  This is for ex-strippers who can’t let go of the sequin.

I came and knocked on Wednesday March’s door.  The March Hare answered.  We spoke the same language.

“Velvet?”

“Go away.  I don’t do velvet.  You want a coat, not a dressing-up costume.”

“Wool, then?”

“Now you’re talking.”

The Adventure started from there.’

 

Angie Voluti

20 January 2016

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!