The Trousers.

Ginger RogersRecently, I’ve wanted nothing more than to make a fine pair of trousers for myself. The weather is decidedly nippy at the moment and the thought of donning some perfectly fitting, snuggerthananything wool trousers has filled me with delight. Add to this a recent obsession with Ginger Rogers, who wore some killer trousers in her time, I set myself the task of making something 1940s inspired so I, too, can prance around the house/school/streets pretending that I am a Golden Age movie starlet. Good plan, heh? Granted, we are NOWHERE NEAR making trousers at school (I’m still battling with welt pockets) but there’s nothing like diving in at the deep end!

I was pretty sure I had a good trick up my sleeve, anyway… Read more…

Getting in Line.

esq-boardwalk-empire-episode-8-110810-xlgEarlier in the year, before I had started at Newham, I went to a lecture at the British Library titled Fashion and Film in the Jazz Age where the brilliant fashion historians Amber Jane Butchart and Christopher Laverty were guest speakers. Christopher focused most of his attention on the tv series Boardwalk Empire, touting it as one of the best representations of fashion from the Prohibition Era that he had ever come across. Read more…

Catch a Falling Star….

… and put it in the VeryFirstDoubleJettedPocketYou’veEverMade!

Now this is the business. For the first time at school, we’re actually making something that I can immediately be recognised as belonging on a suit. With a hop and a skip of joy, this week I waved goodbye (just for a moment, at least) to those tricky stitches whose primary aim is invisibility.

Read more…

Getting an Upgrade

vintage sewingThe old domestic’s been letting me down of late. Gone are the days when we gleefully spent our Sunday afternoons together, coursing our way through reams of fabric, fudging our way around zips and experimenting with all the exotic stitches on her dashboard….(actually, truth be told, the novelty of the hundred-billion stitch options wore off about a week after purchase way back in 2009). Read more…

The Swatch-Book Dilemma

swatch book A work of art? A practical reference tool? Something that ticks a box on a school assignment?

The swatch-book can be all three, and I want mine to be exactly that… but the request, last week, that we produce a swatch book with 20 samples of wool cloth and 20 samples of fashion fabrics for Friday has left me in a bit of a fluster … Read more…

An Insect Infestation

2f77c589ba54a671f5310d631f74486dThe Crushed Beetles have landed. En masse.

I thought button-hole making would be a doddle – after all, how could such a tiny detail on a garment prove even remotely problematic to a girl who’s taking on the challenge of making entire suits?  Truth be told, I felt an inexplicable confidence that making button holes would be MY THING. One of my many mistaken confidences, so it transpires… Read more…

Looking the Part

The Tailor of Gloucester at Work circa 1902 by Helen Beatrix Potter 1866-1943Some people just look like tailors. I tell you they do. They absolutely do. And from day 1 at Newham, there has been a cluster of boys (yes, I’m sad to say, not a single girl!) whose look has simply screamed, collectively, ‘WE BELONG ON SAVILE ROW!’.  These boys are every inch the dapper stereotype. They are discreet dandies – bedecked with tiny sartorial flourishes: bow ties, sleeve garters, round, tortoiseshell spectacles…. they have the lot.   Read more…

The Day I was Put in my Place

So. Two weeks in and things are starting to pick up. The interminable literacy and numeracy tests (!) are all over with and the learning is starting in earnest. With my tailor’s thimble ready and rearing to go on the end of my (blue-tacked) finger, I started the week with a determination to keep up with the class’s high-flyers and, also, with the absolute belief that this week, I would get noticed by the tutors. A ‘careful what you wish for’ moment if ever I had one. Read more…