uncovered: quilts and knitting (Bath continued)

I would describe myself as more of a dressmaker than a quilter. Having made two quilts I highly respect the work and time that go in to a quilt. So the work on display at the American museum in Bath was more than impressive. There were so many on display I can’t describe them all. But some of them are more than a hundred years old. Truly antique! The fabric used ranges from cotton through to silk. I can say hand on heart my confidence will never be enough to attempt many of the designs as they are so complicated.

Image Image Image Image Image Image ImageImage Image  Image 

see how tiny the hand stitching is!

Image  Image Image Image


Kaffe Fassett – focus 

I have never heard of this artist (please don’t wince too much, as I dont knit I hadn’t seen his work) but must say I am impressed at his confidence in putting colours together. It’s a different approach to cross stitch and embroidery from what I am used to, very modern! I think my favourite out of them all is the lamp post, so very British.

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

love this cardigan, the peplum is so pretty

Image Image Image Image Image

Image Image Image

and finally some of his quilts:




Bath(ed) in fashion and colour

The last 3 days have been spent in a whirlwind of fabric, design and colour. I have been on a long weekend to Bath with my local costume and textile association. I’ve been to the Bath fashion museum, three fabric shops (who could resist), The American museum, and to polish off this list the Kaffe Fassett 2014 exhibition.

By the end of the many steps taken round the various exhibits, displays and guides my camera was bleeping in distress. The  memory card was full. A bit like my head! They say a photo says a thousand words. So I’ll spare you a thousand photos (and no, I didnt take that many). So let’s get started.

The following will be split in to two sections to help make sense of it all (fashion for post one, quilts and Kaffe for post two). Let me start with the Bath fashion museum. A brief intro is required. This museum has focused on clothing from the 17th century onwards.


Image Image Image


I loved the fact these dresses could be easily adjusted for different sizes as they were fitted over corsets. They were regularly reused for new wearers or recut  and shaped to make them lat longer. Clearly disposal fashion was a concept far away in the distant future.Image Image 

from royal court dress to modern day interpretation of. I think the latter is ever so much more practical.Image

Image Image Image Image 

hello Jane Austen beauties……..did you know it took 6-7 yards of fabric to make these pretty things?

Image Image 

princess Diana wore these clothes. My favourite is the blue cardigan.

Image Image Image

the last photo in this row supposedly was the best dress of 2012. Paired up with those trousers and cut off at the hips? its spoilt the whole look in my opinion!                                               

and the menswear………

Image Image Image Image Image

to be honest, it’s hard to get as excited about these suits compared to the dresses, as they just don’t have the colour I love. But, given a choice I like the more fitted tailoring with a crisp finish. Baggy does not look half as formal.


So, we now exit this building and move on to the American museum. Given I have not visited America and have not visited any previous museum specialising in the history of this vast area the contents were always going to be entirely a novelty. The building itself is very lovely, set in rolling countryside and features period rooms rescued from various original American homes all over the country (before they got demolished).

Image Image

shaker sister sewing boxes. Beautifully crafted and made.


I hope you can make out that this is a shaker sister sewing room, all the furniture was very simply made, with no decoration.

 Image Image Image 

Image Image

the story behind these two amazing dresses is so sad. The lady who was to wear them went on a tour of Europe before she was going to get married. She died of flu before she got back and they were never worn. The first dress is particular took my breath away, it has daffodils embroidered all over it. The second dress was intended to be worn as court.

Image ImageImage

examples of American Indian work and beading. The moccasins didnt come out very clear through the glass but you can see the colours. The waist coats were so cute, and must have taken hours of work.

Finally (second post of quilting work will be saved for later when I have more energy) a view of Bath…..




Moroccan musings……

I’ve spent the last week in Morocco enjoying culinary, cultural and good company experiences on a tour of the country. Now, this blog is dedicated to all things sewing. So how, may you wonder, does this trip relate? One surprising fact is that there are plenty of industrial sewing machines to be spotted amongst the market workshops producing clothing for the local people. Women as a whole don’t work within them so you get to see the unusual sight (at least from my english eyes) of men busy sewing, either by machine or by hand.

Here’s a picture to demonstrate the kind of set up I saw:


The guy seemed a little surprised at my wanting to take a photo – but for me it’s just as interesting as the other things I saw. Alas, the fabric choice was not quite what I had hoped. I dont think I could make the sequinned embroidered fabric work for me, unless it was for a costume. But I do have a lovely hand woven throw made out of wool and cotton to remind me of the workmanship of the country. It’s very cheap to buy there, the width of a double bed and less than £25. 

I have missed sewing and am happy to be back in front of my machine once more. This will shortly result in another completed garment – just got to finish the hem and side seams of the lining and a dress will soon appear – watch out for another post soon!

this fabric is being put to bed: bye bye polka dots!

As regular readers will remember, I am a sucker for leftover fabric. I hate wasting it. So instead of being a sensible and practical person and getting cracking with the needed (but in contrast not very exciting) pile of ready to be sewn up knickers I’ve side tracked.

Remember that slip I recently made with the silk/cotton polka dots? well, it’s now finally all gone. To a good cause I hasten to add. It will now be spending its nights doing a very important job. Keeping sensitive skin soothed and comfortable. This outfit (Newlook 6170) is for a child with eczema. To take this in to account everything has had the french seam finish treatment and I have top stitched the crotch seam down flat. It has taken a little while longer than usual to do because of this.

I have also learned the perils of cutting out fabric late at night. Proudly considering the pile of pieces ready to be sewn up my eye alighted on the notches for the arm holes. One problem. No sleeves cut out. Which meant I had to go and buy MORE fabric after trying to get rid of existing fabric! Habotai silk (which I made the sleeves out of) remains an unhelpfully flighty fabric. I will continue to steer clear of it for any large projects.

A few minor alterations. Top stitching added for decoration. Made a size three (one size up than required) so she can grow in it. Added elastic at the bottom of the trouser hems so she wont trip. Folded bias binding instead of turning over as instructed for a neater finish.