Friday, 2 December 2016

Organisation / rationalisation / consolidation.....saving my brain!

Hello People!

Just to let you know that I'll be using my website blog for everything now - so although this blog looks very pretty, and I've been using it for a good old while, I have to try and save my brain by cutting down on all the different places that I put out information!!

"Blogger - it's been lovely, especially visiting  the fabulous peeling distressed hotel room you live in, but I have to keep space in my brain so many things, I can't come and visit very often now.  I feel bad, and just thought I should let you, (and anyone else reading this), know my whereabouts....."

Friday, 18 November 2016

Tears of Joy......!

Hi Everyone,

I don't know many people who are quite as fabric freakish as me. (A total lover of beautiful fabric - luxurious wool / tec fabrics /  glistening cottons or shimmering silks). But I have a student who is - in fact maybe even more so.

When the fabric she'd chosen from one of my best suppliers, Abraham Moon arrived, she was literally in tears of joy. (The only other person I know who cries with laughter, as opposed to joy as such, is my husband, Jonny.) And I think if she could have wrapped herself up in it and driven home with it on, she would have....she was the happiest girl I've seen for a long, long time! (Concerning inanimate objects that is).
However, this tweed was not actually that inanimate, as it kept moving as you sewed it. But that movability, or malleability is a also a huge plus, as you can virtually get the fabric to do what you want. It is fabulously soft, and made from Merino wool.

If you sign up for a course, classes or a workshop with me, you too can have the added bonus of being able to buy fabulous fabric for your current project at wholesale prices, and that's not only tweeds, but also wools / silks / top quality cottons / lace / tec fabrics, in fact practically any type. The discounts vary, but half price is pretty average. 

Courses can be designed to accommodate whatever you want to do, so just contact me by phone, email or carrier pigeon, and  we can discuss! I also have gift vouchers available so please contact me for details of those too.



Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The right question will get the right answer, says Mr. Google...!

Hi Everyone!

Just a quick post as I have just had a revelation in using this blog! And the revelation has come through the trick of asking exactly the right question of Mr. Google....

As I mentioned in the last post here, I tried really hard a couple of years ago to transfer this blog so that I wouldn't have to keep signing out of my usual google email account, and signing in agin to a different account, just to be able to write a post, which I found really irritating.... 
I read many very complicated sounding sets of instructions, and I decided in the end that as it was so fiendishly difficult, (not to say liable to total loss of it altogether, and messing up of my email and google account), it would be better to just not bother, and spend some hours of my life in more useful ways!

Well it turned out that I had been asking the wrong question. So instead of saying: how do I transfer my Blogger blog, I should have been asking 'How do I change the email login for my Blogger blog'. That was the key, although I don't know how I would have known (!), that's what I did yesterday by some fluke, even though I hadn't really been thinking about it, but I just thought that it might work. 

A little video came up - an Irish guy, speaking from 2009, but nevertheless it just worked....
(Here's the boring bit if you're interested: All you have to do is go to Settings, 'add an author', i.e. the email you want to use, go to your email and accept the invitation, (signing in and out as necessary!), go back to the settings and give the new 'author' i.e. you, under a different email address, all permissions to use the blog in the normal way, and then Hey Presto! You are in, under your normal email account, and don't have to do anything tricksy!)

Anyway, it was all so easy after countless hours of failure, and all down to just asking the right question.

Narrowing down the problem isn't always easy if you're trying so hard you don't see the wood for the trees. Sometimes my determination gets in my way :-/

Proves what I already know, which is that stress stops you thinking clearly. So just remember:

Also, please look at the right hand side of the blog at the top -under the green text,  'Pages', where you can either look at all the blog archives, OR see the 'Reviews / Testimonials' page. It's not that obvious, so thought I'd point it out. I'm planning on adding a photos page for people who happen upon the blog and not the website, so you can see the location and the lovely studio itself.

Speak soon! 


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Painting dresses, amongst other many things.....

Hi Everyone,

Just a little update....!

I originally set up this blog for anything sewing / pattern cutting / style / clothing / fashion related and  it was more directed towards the classes I teach in those subjects at my home studio, and teaching 'out' at universities and other places.

That was before my website was more organised and comprehensive, and before I had separate Facebook pages for Atelier classes and Atelier Wedding dresses and Natural History tweeds! (Life gets so complicated sometimes!!)

It was also set up before I had my Mailchimp contacts list email thing set up (where I can email lots of people at once without Google thinking its spam).

So to simplify and explain it's continuing existence:

 This blog was here in the early days, and I like the look of it, and there are some nice / interesting things if you scroll down the archives, so I didn't want to just delete it, and it's insanely difficult to transfer everything to another blog (I did look into that), so here it remains.

Also, not long ago I made another page for  the blog which is called 'Reviews / Recommendations / Testimonials!  and these relate to my teaching specifically, so it's nice to keep everything together. I couldn't wish for better testimonials, so I'm very lucky, please have a look :-)

So, my latest news is that:

  • I have a Japanese Pattern cutting short course coming up at Ravensbourne, Greenwich, London in January
  • A Masterclass in making a Japanese kimono from real, authentic Japanese print fabric next April at Warwick University Arts Centre
  • Classes in pattern cutting currently running at the Mill Arts Centre in my local town, Banbury, Oxfordshire
  • Classes, courses and workshops currently running at my lovely home studio just outside Banbury, in Cropredy, Oxon.,
not to mention bespoke commissions for (mainly) off the wall, unconventional wedding dresses, AND.......

my latest thing, which is painting wedding dresses. This is a new venture, still in development (as they say), but I will be launching this when the time is right, quite soon, presently, in due course, (choose whichever you prefer), meaning soon, but not quite yet! (I'm having to learn quite a lot of stuff as I go, due to using an unfamiliar medium, so that slows progress, but it's improving!)

Mine probably won't look like this, but I love it nevertheless: 

and this: 

By the way, if you'd like to be added to my Mailchimp periodical email list, please go to the homepage of my website, scroll down a little, and fill in the form on the lower left hand side, thank you!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016


Hi Everyone!

You may think that I haven't been doing much as my last post on here was about 3 weeks ago, but in fact the opposite is true!

I am trying to use direct emails more, and have consequently set up a Mailchimp email system. They look nicer, include your name, and are a little more 'personal' rather than a general blog like this one, that anyone can happen upon. That in itself is good of course, and I think I have gained business in this way, but once you have connected with the blog - even if you just become a follower, and read a new blog I might put up - you might prefer being on my direct contacts list. 

This means that you get a personalised email every now and again (no pestering, promise!) which is just a way of staying in touch in case you, or anyone else you know needs one or other of my services - bespoke wedding dress or other clothing design, or classes in Pattern cutting and / or sewing. 

If you would like to be included on the list, and be the first to know of any events I may be putting on - workshops here at my home studio, accessory patterns added to the range, open studio etc., then please sign up here: or fill in the little box on the homepage of my website:

Look forward to hearing from you, and in the meantime here are some photos of the outside of the studio - a fab location, I'm sure you'd agree :-)


PS Apologies for the strange appearance of the text and the background 'boxes', but something strange happens when you change the text to white!


Monday, 23 May 2016

Is there some special relationship between nursing and pattern cutting?!

Hi Everyone, 

Let me tell you about my students....I get such a fantastic variety:

From a trained draftsman who preferred working as a factory worker so that he could have ‘stories to tell my grandchildren’, an ex-forces train driver who’s Mama was a pattern cutter for a big well known company, to a statistician, a mathematician, an audiologist, a pharmacist, ex students of mine from National Diploma and University courses, GCSE students who want extra help, designers, artists and craftspeople of all kinds who want to use their specialist skills in a garment (Saori weaving, leather workers, soft sculptors),…… and nurses.

(Is there some special relationship between nursing and pattern cutting? If so, will someone please tell me what it is?! I'm intrigued, as I've had about 5 nurses come for classes now....)

 When you have been doing certain things for a LONG time as I have,  you kind of forget how amazing it is when you first learn to do something new, and it looks good.

I showed one of my students the other day how to do a hand sewn hem - sometimes the best and quickest way, depending on the fabric, and the finish you want. She was so pleased, and really enjoyed doing it. A little thing to me, but a big discovery to someone who’s never done it before!

When its a bit gloomy, we have to resort to this - the head torch :-) :


Yesterday, a friend dropped in and was impressed with the studio, especially my industrial steam iron, describing it as 'very vintage looking'! I never see it in an objective way, as it's part of the furniture, and every fashion department I've ever worked in have these, or a variation was expensive but worth every penny - no horrible 'brown water' when you're least expecting it, and potential ruination of a precious garment. These machines are made in Italy, so maybe they follow the style of the Espresso makers - kind of vintage, but solid and classic and made to take a lot of use and to last!! I like it's shiny functionality.

Here it is:

Let me know what you think! This steam iron lives in the 'sewing room', as opposed to the 'pattern cutting room' (the main studio where I do the fittings, and teach), in case you were wondering. 

I made said friend a linen suit once - the sturdy Japanese crumpled look - not an immaculate, smooth and perfect thing (that's not how he wanted it!), and he used to be in our band - the one I joined when I first met my husband, Jonny. He's a VERY good musician, and played us some of his lovely stuff yesterday. Is there a special relationship between music / style / art / clothing? I would say in lots of cases, yes.

Again, let me know what you think....these emails I send may look kind of 'official', but you can reply to this just as you would any other email - give it go, oh g'wan, g'wan.........
Any comments on anything I send are always gratefully received, and a bit of discussion on fashion / clothing / style / pattern making / sewing is always good!

In other news (as they say), and in other parts of my life, (I do like a bit of variety!), we will soon be going to Barcelona as my husband and I (so regal!!) play with a band who are part of the PrimaVera festival there. Current 93 play on the Saturday - it's a very short visit, sadly...but hey, I'm not complaining, and we'll make another visit to Barc as soon as possible. They're such a brilliant bunch of people, and it's a massive festival with LOADS of big names, I'm sure we'll have a great time....

If you'd like to come here to learn how to make a perfect body fitting 'block' to your own measurements, become au fait with the methods and terminology, and go on to make patterns for your own designs whatever they may be, please either reply to this email here, or contact me through the website. Have a look at the 'Classes' tab for more details, and phone / email / whatsapp me, whatever!
And if you're needing something fabulous to wear for whatever occasion - marriage, being the belle of the ball, hiking across the heather moors of Scotland or the lowlands of Oxfordshire, headlining, please contact me here. I look forward to meeting you.

Speak soon,