Craftiness, baking and other lovely things.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Liberty at the London Fashion and Textile Museum

A little light crochet on the train to London
So yesterday I took the train from my flat, rural Fenland home to the Big City, to hear a talk by Chinelo Bally at the London Fashion and Textile Museum.  I also got to see the Liberty in Fashion exhibition.  What to tell you about first?

I'll start with the exhibition, as that's what I saw first.  I have a bit of an ambivalent relationship with Liberty.  I truly love some of the Liberty fabrics but sometimes it's all a bit over-blown for me, just a little bit too far out there.  That said, the exhibition was fascinating, especially from a sewing perspective.  The details and construction of some of the garments, mostly dresses, on display was breathtaking.

All those little details, immaculate pintucks, embroidery and smocking.  Just beautiful and inspirational.  I must put more effort into those finishing touches.

Chinelo's talk was very good.  I haven't got her book in front of me to talk about.  I had already pre-ordered it from Amazon when I heard that I had won tickets to the talk - thank you very much to Frida at Pavilion Books.  Chinelo spoke about her book and Great British Sewing Bee and gave us her top tips for freehand cutting and dressmaking.  I can't remember them all but the ones that stuck in my head were:

Lose the fear - don't be afraid of cutting into the fabric or of your fabric choices.  What's the worst that could happen?  You can start again if it all goes wrong.

Measurements - we all know this one, but with freehand cutting it really is absolutely vital to get your measurements right.

Don't get hung up on not having all the gadgets - Chinelo uses a razor blade instead of a seam ripper (nice to know that even someone sewing for a living needs to rip seams out, isn't it?).  Look around your home and improvise if you haven't got a particular tool or gadget for a project.  She recommended the use of a tin of tomatoes as a pattern weight.  She's a very practical girl.

I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the book, fingers crossed it should arrive today.  In the meantime I'm wondering if I'll be brave enough to draw a pattern directly onto fabric and start cutting...

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