Thursday, September 14, 2017

Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Opus Anglicanum Style.

This was a unique once in a lifetime project whereby I was asked to restore orphreys of Opus Anglicanum embroidery work, and re-mount them onto a newly made chasuble. The project is nearing completion, so I am showing a preview of the work on this fitting feast day!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Liturgical Splendour, Finally Done!

At last I have finished the altar frontal, superfrontal and tabernacle veils I started during Lent this year. It is for St Birinus Church in Oxfordshire, one of the loveliest little churches I've ever seen. I did get everything rigged up in time for Passiontide, but there were a few tweaks needed, and I've managed to find time to do some tweaking now the First Communion dresses are coming to a close (still one to finish off for August, though!)

 Although it's a lovely church, it is very difficult to get a good photo with my camera, these are the best shots I could manage.

It was a major effort of pattern-matching, since two different types of fabric were sent as being suitable to match - unfortunately one, being partly made with metallic threads, turned out to be much more closely woven, so ultimately smaller (shorter in length) than the other. Being a determined sort of person, I did as much stretching as I could in order to get the patterns to match up across the panels, and in the end it didn't turn out too badly, although there was a fear that the stretched one would either split with all the stretching, or surviving that, would shrink back and cause some rippling along the join,  It doesn't seem to have done that to any great degree so far!

Friday, May 26, 2017

1940's Chic

I know a little girl who needs a new Summer dress, and I decided I'd like to try out a very ancient pattern that I'd acquired from somewhere...

It's one of those that has no markings or seam allowances on the paper pattern pieces, and the instructions are just what you see on the front of the packet! My, those 1940's gals knew how to sew! We're so molly coddled nowadays with our 3 pages of illustrated directions!!

I had some lovely old fashioned-looking floral fabric that I thought would do the job, and I think it turned out rather nicely - in fact the lass's mother and I both agreed we'd quite like a larger version ourselves - although I think the Mum has the beanpole figure that would suit it better than my own rotund form! Little Miss isn't one for too many frills and furbelows, so I thought I'd leave off the collar, and set some rouleau ties of the same fabric into the front seams instead of a belt.

 As the weather is hotting up at the moment, I thought I'd make another version without sleeves.  I decided I didn't want to sew a whole load more button - holes, so...

I adapted the front placket to sneak a zip in instead!

First Holy Communion 2017

If anyone would like a dress made of the same fabric
(embroidered georgette) I have plenty in stock.

This dress is very pretty with a floaty over-layer, and a cotton lining.

It has to be seen in different light to get the full effect!

Here is Cecilia modelling the dress
(and her Zelie's Roses mantilla)
on her big day!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Resurrexit! Sicut Dixit

What do you do when a Priest asks, on the Tuesday of Holy Week, whether you could find time to make up an altar frontal for his Chapel in time for Easter? You get cracking, of course! Although I couldn't do it on the Wednesday, fortunately I had Maundy Thursday fairly free, so I was able to complete it before Good Friday.

   There was just enough fabric left over to make a lectern fall, but no time to do more than edge stitch it to stop it fraying! It will be properly backed and finished in due course.
I thought it would be easier to make up than the previous one I was asked to make - for Advent and Lent, all those wobbly bits of gold trim - so hard to get in a straight line!!

But pattern matching the edge pieces needed to extend the width is not so easy when they are on full view with no gold trim to hide the joins, so it took almost as long.

However, I think it turned out splendidly to make a fitting frontal for the Feast of the Resurrection. 

Happy Easter.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Last Minute Rush to Catch the Post

I had to get my skates on with these dresses, since I have a friend who was visiting the US, and willing to take them with her and post them once she'd arrived. I actually managed to make three dresses in about 3 1/2 days - a record for me! I was exhausted by the end of it, but glad to get them out in plenty of time for the First Communions, and one Confirmation at the beginning of May.

Cotton broderie anglaise with elasticated cuffs.

Embroidered cotton voile, fully lined.
This one was for the Confirmation.

The last of the Polyester Chiffon.
Fully lined in cotton, with plain cuffs,
At the request of the recipient!

 I didn't have time to get a photo of this one before I added it to the pile my friend was to take, so I was delighted to receive these pictures of it being modelled by its new owner!
Pure cotton broderie anglaise with a Peter Pan
Collar, and 3/4 length cuffed sleeves.

Well worth all the effort!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Working Wonders with a Wedding Dress!

A few months ago, I was rather surprised when the postman delivered such an odd-looking parcel, I wondered what on earth it could contain

When I undid it I found this inside

I had forgotten that a young lady had offered to send me her Wedding dress if I could use it for something.  I had said that I knew someone from Ecuador who had told me that a lot of the children there are so poor they can't afford First Communion dresses.  I suggested to the lady with the Wedding dress that I could make a First Communion dress from it, and so that was why it had turned up on my doorstep!

The bodice and chiffon over layers have been removed
and the lining separated from the skirt.

What a lot of lovely fabric!

I realised once I had de-constructed it, that there was enough there to make two First Communion dresses, and they are now having the finishing touches sewn on (some of the beads removed from the bodice) and will soon be ready to fly to Ecuador with my friend whose daughter is soon to be married there!

This one has a chiffon over skirt,
and uses the beaded straps of the
original dress around the waist
and sleeves

This one has chiffon cuffs with a
few beads sewn round the top of them,
and a chiffon cummerbund which
will have some beads sewn down
the centre. 

Thank you Mrs F. for donating such lovely fabric!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

It's Starting Again!

The orders usually start coming in around now for First Holy Communion dresses, in plenty of time for May and June, however, I had to get my skates on with this one, since the family who are in the USA had only just found out they would be moving State and their daughter would therefore be making her First Communion at the beginning of March. I said I could make it in a week, and get it in the post, which I duly did, but it was a close call!! I'm hoping that there will be no customs hitches and that it will arrive in plenty of time! (The length of time customs takes in the US seems so variable - Usually the package takes about two weeks, but it has taken up to 3 and a half weeks before, the quickest being just under a week - to Los Angeles, the place furthest away from here!!)
Now time to go and hoover up all those bits of white thread and chiffon...

 This dress is made from a pure cotton with a polyester chiffon overlay, and broderie anglaise trim.

Unfortunately, there is no chiffon fabric left (I have just cut out the last chiffon dress), so as I can not find nice embroidered chiffon for love nor money, any future orders will have to be in cotton voile, or broderie anglaise!