Tag Archive | making

Northern College of Costume Exhibition

ncc flyerThink you are not interested? markterry_170509_8660cropThe latest group are putting their efforts on display this weekend and it is worth taking a look.


This is good old fashioned history based theatrical costume making.

Never wondered how many component parts go into making one Tudor “dress”?  Well, now is the time to start wondering and also have the opportunity to find out.  At the same time you could take a peek inside  a Teddy Boy’s pockets, or ask the ladies about their 1940/50s evening wear.


I went along as a dresser for the Tudor photoshoot in our local Tudor Barley Hall. Those big skirts over farthingales and the stays can take quite a lot  effort to get on and then to manage. It was so atmospheric in there – I can’t wait to see the photos.

The Teddy Boys stayed in the city centre down one of the seediest side lanes. No romantic Tudor beams for them. The final shoot of the day was at a Neo Classical chapel. A rather busy day.


Take a look at the complexities of the makes, see what can be achieved with some  ingenuity, hard work  and a lot of know-how and guidance. And then think – this was all achieved in 15 weeks!

I did the course a few years ago, and survived with battered, stitched fingerends and a lot more skills than I started with.

If you are in York, do drop in.

markterry_170509_9194cropallPhotos : Mark Terry

Silver Birch is Cloned!


Last chance to come to the Open Studios this weekend!

I have been busy with the event but still managed to create big mess inbetween. Am quite proud of this, it proves that no matter what the stress level, scattering debris  is a natural part of my creative process.

I have spent this morning making up a tote bag with  the fabric I had digitally printed.  I have reservations about it but as I have already sold a couple of panels  I guess it looks alright.  What do you think? It is a little reflective so the colours seem a bit muted in the photo- the birch tree stands out well, and the fabric is nice quality cotton.

I really am not good at this marketing  photography!P1060684

Silk Mill Dress

Or …..And this was Sunday… or A story of a miniature Georgian dress.

Want to work from this ,

An account of John Lombe’s silk-mill at Derby, 1791, from Wm Hutton’s History of Derby.

“….The raw silk is brought in hanks, or skaines, called slips, and would take five or sixdays in winding off, though kept moving ten hours a day…... The workman’s care is chiefly to unite,by a knot, a thread that breaks; to take out the burs and uneven parts, ……. The threads are continually breaking; and to tye them ‘is principally the business of children whose fingers are nimble. The machine continually turns a round bobbin, or small block of wood, whichdraws the thread from the slip, while expanded upon a swift suspended upon a centre. The moment the thread breaks, the swift stops. One person commands from twenty to sixty threads. If many cease, at the same time, to turn, it amounts to a fault, and is succeeded by punishment. From the fineness of the materials, the ravelled state of the slips and bobbins, and the imprudence of children, much waste is made, which is another motive of correction; and when correction is often inflicted, it steels the breast of the inflictor.”

Wanted to base  it on an extant silk garment from the era, or a contemporary portrait. Settled on this – drawn up by Janet Arnold, so I had shapes to work from, the dress is in the Manchester collection.

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That  was 9am, it is now late afternoon. It is not quite finished, but my hands hurt so a rest is required. Did the text on the new machine (yet to be named)- a bit ambitious but well…. but all the rest is hand sewn. Haven’t managed to include all the text, but the gist is there, in various degrees of control and legibility.  The shoulder band will define the dress more clearly but I think the collar will change to something more like the LACMA redingote below ( really wanted to do this one all along, bigger scale required though, it is all in the buttons).ma-8195-WEBThis one might be love. “Midsomer Murders” has just come on,  time to vegetate until I get over it!

Update – went back to sewing to get over Midsomer.  Put in the shoulders and finished the bodice front off. Just the collar and then all the usual  dithering about getting the feel right –  ephemeral, used,, ghosting – a bit like an incomplete memory  or an echo. Certainly not squeaky new and toothpaste white!







Don’t forget York Open Studios is on next month. The next Stitchy Day is April 5th – if you fancy having a go at the freehand thing- check the frantextiles  facebook page for details or email.

video traumas and stitch techniques.

Camp Hands!   Camp Hands!       Aargh…… what happened to Mrs I Like Power Tools and Ohhh, Always Wanted To Do More Welding?  It seems that when I am not watching them, they have a worrying personality of their own!

I found a video editing download that I wanted to try, so  set up my dinky camera and filmed myself working. I find it very funny but at least the software seems fairly straightforward at this very basic level.

TECHNICAL HITCH ALERT – can only upload if I pay more money…….so please use imagination……or on my textiles page on facebook     What a palaver .-https://www.facebook.com/Frantextiles/

These are the end result – part of a season series.

But is it better than a slideshow?  This of a the on going large piece  which nearing completion at last!

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Answers on a postcard please.

Either way it takes longer to record then to do the actual work.

Hopefully the Stitchy Day  workshop on Wednesday will be easier  –  no cameras or admin involved – just me, and the pupils of course.

Spring must be close!

Beautiful morning! Full of light, frost and very cold noses.p1060337

Spring must be soon – woke to golden sunlight, cheepy birds and an amorous pigeon on a neighbour’s ridge tiles. (Ms Pigeon was having none of it)


And  plans for  kids’ stuff –  Romy  has already put them on the listings!   Let me introduce Raw/reverse/layered Applique Fox, and his friends- Strip Applique and  Fair Isle Jumper Rabbit….

Just quick and fun to do without being too drastic technically. Fair Isle Rabbit  was done without any freemotion  at all, only rows of utility stitching from my machine’s very limited selection.

Not much to show other than these  – exhibition is being mounted in the next couple of days, am half expecting a phone call along the lines of ‘what is it?’ or ‘eh?’. Should pics for next week.

Fitting for Ronald the robe on Monday, trying out sizing and the alternative sleeve treatments – may have pics for next week.

Also Messy Days dyeing  ‘classes’.

And the  big landscape….


Merchant Taylors

Meet my new friend  -this is the ceremonial robe of the Master of the  Guild of Merchant Taylors. I am to make a new one!   It is  showing its age on some of the seams and trims but is still a spectacular piece.


It is medieval-ish in concept, elaborate sleeve treatment, heavy, dramatic trimmings, and with seams on the front and back of the shoulder.  It is also wool, half lined,  rather large and very heavy. I shall call it Ronald.



The sleeves are the big thing- open underneath with a cape to the back and  a cut opening  for the cuff, then finishing with the sleeve tube hanging down to hem level. Not the conventional approach. There is an extra seam following the lower arm hole – haven’t worked out why yet. Ronald is a robe of mystery.


under the cape






holding the sleeve away from the side to show the cape.











Love the pleat detail on the back waist and button on the collar. p1060301

First make sense of this one, then draft a copy to get the pattern pieces, then change the sizes to suit the incoming master, and construct a toile.

They are thinking of an update – making it more coat like- but would feel good to keep at least a nod to the history.  We shall experiment a little and discuss at the first fitting.


Should keep me quiet for a while.

Apart from –

Stitching with Colour –  21st January – Day course at the Viking Loom, York.

Messy Days – 1st & 5th Feb  – kitchen sink dramas playing with staining, microwave dyeing, etc. Simple ways of working with wet media to add colour for stitching. Literally at my kitchen sink in York.

Contact for more details……

And upcoming exhibition at Blossom Street Gallery.

And it’s tea time……

More Tangents

Wrong title, it is all tangents.

Been thinking about more 3D-iness. A kind of book form made to stand partially open with a few interconnected leaves. Too be honest this idea has been niggling at me on and off for a long time – years. There is a little collection of protobookthings in the bin and the way forward is not entirely clear. The current experiment is not visually exciting at all, being  a piece of cotton lawn drying flat. This I hope to become the book covers – it has been dunked in PVA solution so should dry fairly rigid.

So in the mean time I have amused myself by making a miniature 1840s day dress to glue.

I blame Jane Eyre. And the Bronte sisters drama broadcast over Christmas. And the general Dickensian goggles that seem obligatory at this time of year.

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For those of you into historical costume, Janet Arnold’s books may be familiar. She went around public and private costume collections in the 1970s drawing and measuring. She produced a series a books showing the evolution of dress and dress construction with scale diagrams of all of the pieces used. I simply traced off an 1840s dress pattern and with a few adaptations, sewed it all together. The finished garment is about 8″ high.


pleats on the sleeve head instead of gathers -more stable at this size.

The small scale does pose problems. My fingers are too big, the needle was  longer than some of the pattern pieces, and seam allowances are dictated by the fabric!, hence the lapping at the waist. This is not pretty so a cord detail will be added later to cover this. The neck will be turned once the glue has stabilised the edge.


The dress is at the first dunk stage. The bodice and lower skirt are stuffed with clingfilm and bubblewrap until they set, which is why they look dark.  The shape of the skirt also needs some tweaking. And this was done for fun.

I must remind myself that this was fun. Even when peeling PVA off the kitchen top – this was fun.