The soul of the rose

When I saw this Liberty fabric it reminded me of Waterhouse’s painting, The Soul of the Rose, which has hung in poster form in my mum’s bedroom for as long as I can remember, and for which I have a big soft spot (although I have always been perplexed by her neck). It’s also very Arts-and-Crafts, or Morris-ian.

It’s called Rose Xanthe, and I bought as much as I could afford and turned it into a self-drafted skirt.

liberty rose xanthe skirt

The pattern is based on my favourite skirt, purchased at H&M six years ago and worn about weekly since. Frustratingly I couldn’t find a pattern that was even close. The skirt is made up of 6 tapering panels which together add up to something like a circle. But then it’s also gathered. Extensive research yielded only patterns for gathered skirts made from rectangles or patterns for circle skirts without gathers.

I took matters into my own hands and with a lot of measuring, tracing and smoothing out of gathered fabric I made myself a pattern.

liberty xanthe rose skirt liningThe lining is identical to the main pattern, but a tiny bit shorter. I got the gorgeous pinky-orange fabric from a wonderful little haberdashery, or merceria, in Florence. It is just perfect in this skirt.

liberty rose xanthe skirt

On the waistband I’ve continued with my resolution not to use interfacing, and used cotton muslin instead. It worked a treat.

This is all a very rambling way of trying to say, I adore this skirt. I wear it all the time and it makes me happy whenever I do. The shape, the flow of the fabric as I move around, and the Liberty pattern are just delicious.

At some point I’d like to make a matching top too, but it will be fairly minimal as I don’t have much fabric left.

liberty rose xanthe skirt

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Bag lady

One consequence of having dual nationality is that I travel rather a lot. Suffice it to say that I’ve been pretty closely acquainted with duffel bags from a very early age.

In Toronto over Christmas, fresh off the airplane, I popped into The Workroom with my dad, and he bought me Grainline Studio‘s excellent Portside Travel Set pattern, which I’ve been coveting for some time, in actual luxurious hard copy, as a not-so-secret Christmas present. This was the excuse I’d been waiting for to snap up a bit of Nani Iro canvas – in the Clear Heart pattern from the 2015 collection – when I got back to London in January.

The results are… delicious!

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I lined the pockets and bag in some Liberty tana lawn which I had in my stash. This was actually the very first fabric I coveted and bought (or rather, my mum bought for me). Before I could sew, before I went to university, before I had a phone or a bank account. Looking back, I’m not sure why I coveted it so much; but at any rate it is the perfect match for the rest of the bag.

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The copper D-rings and zip are from the inimitable, venerable MacCulloch and Wallis. Sadly I couldn’t find matching swivel hooks in copper. Webbing and silver swivel hooks were from Ray-Stitch. The Nani Iro canvas was from Monday’s Milk, because nowhere in the UK seemed to have any left, and it was on sale.

Separately, a friend donated her old Modernaked rucksack to me because one of the shoulder straps had frayed apart and she was being sent a replacement bag. Here’s what the original was like:

Modernaked rucksack

The Liberty fabric on the bag was nice but not my cup of tea; so I replaced it with more of the Nani Iro canvas. Thankfully I was ill at home for a few days. It took an entire day to re-cover  and repair the bag. Mostly it was a lot of hand sewing and embroidery (I could only do the upper flap on the machine – the rest had to be appliquéd on by hand). But no matter – now I have a matching travel set!

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You can still see a bit of the old fabric on the inside

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Santa’s Workshop 2014

Christmas happened. And as I still haven’t got over my sheer disgust at the shopping experience, most of my presents were, as usual, home-made.

Working full time and doing a Masters in the evenings is reducing my making-time, so I couldn’t be as ambitious as last year. To make up for time-poverty I used extra wonderful materials – lots of Liberty, lots of Adriafil yarn and lots of exciting zippers. And then of course a cousin ended up with something made out of my old trousers. Which I didn’t get a decent picture of… Sorry!

The list:

  • 6 boxy pouches, including ones lined in Liberty Kilburn Rose, Alexandra and Queue for the Zoo
  • 1 glasses case in Hat Box Tiger Stripes and Libery Queue for the Zoo
  • 2 sketchbooks covered in Hat Box Tiger Stripes
  • 3 notebooks covered in Liberty Edenham, Branchflower and Solsetur
  • 1 self-drafted skirt with box pleats and pockets in a vintage Liberty tana lawn
  • 3 pairs of socks in Adriafil Stella Jacq and Knitcol

Back to school

I feel a bit too old for this, but I’ve just gone back to school. And it is completely incredible. I love learning; I get completely wired on coffee before my lectures and then wriggle about at my desk feeling like I simply can’t contain my enthusiasm for Hobbes. So I  decided to make myself a pencil case!

pencil case liberty pinky
Outer is Lizzy House ‘Constellations’ and lining is Liberty ‘Pinky’

And then I got a bit carried away and made another.

pencil case with liberty elevenses
The lining here is Liberty ‘Elevenses’

Pencil case liberty elevenses pencil cases

And then a knitting bag as a present for a friend’s 25th birthday. And of course a matching pencil case for her cable needles and stitch markers.

knitting bag with Liberty 'Baby Rainbow'
knitting bag with Liberty ‘Baby Rainbow’liberty baby rainbow pencil case

It was hard to hand this over – I love it so much! Right down to the glittery zipper…

liberty baby rainbow knitting bag

liberty baby rainbow knitting bag

liberty baby rainbow knitting bag

The Tulgy Woods

As mentioned in my last post, I made a dress. It’s just taken ages for me to post it…

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The pattern was the marvellous Christine Haynes Emery dress, with a few alterations.

Firstly, mine is a  lightweight summer dress so I didn’t do lining anywhere.

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Secondly, I ditched the back zip and replaced it with buttons.

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And finally, I altered the neckline and gave it a scooped back.

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Sadly I have been shrinking recently, so the dress is a rather loose fit at the moment. Seems to work OK with a belt though. I evidently am not consuming enough icecream.

The fabric is Liberty tana lawn, in the design “Branchflower”. I completely adore it. It’s like the woods the prince goes through to find the Jabberwocky, or the brambles he hacks his way through to get to the enchanted castle.
No dress would be complete without POCKETS!

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