When I was doing my City and Guilds 380 training in Fashion I was obliged to make a garment featuring “craft skills”, such as weaving, macrame, crochet or knitting. At the time macrame hanging plant pots were all the rage, and I am not much of a knitter. Just to be different I went with tatting. Here is an interesting blog post about tatting by TinyInc.
This little shuttle sits in your hand, and you work on the thread that is held in a bobbin, in the centre of the shuttle. It is slow, repetitive work, but there is a reward of a little click each time a tiny, even knot is created. This continues for many hours until a skinny piece of cotton “lace” appears. I had no idea what to do with it. I wanted in some way to reflect the William Morris ideal of craft.
“A good way to rid one’s self of a sense of discomfort is to do something. That uneasy, dissatisfied feeling is actual force vibrating out of order; it may be turned to practical account by giving proper expression to its creative character.”
Morris valued craft skills of the humble working man as being of the highest order. Something for me to think about when I was making hundreds of knots. And having thought about English craftiness I was drawn to Liberty of London to provide the fabric for my project. I wondered around the wonderful emporium one Saturday and I bought a piece of their lovely Hera Fabric. Not a very big piece because it was expensive – just enough to make a little top.
I used my princess line block to create a panelled top and used the tatted lace to join the sections together. I don’t remember wearing it, and several decades, and house moves, later it has been lost. But it was with a certain amount of nostalgia that I looked at the “Liberty” fabrics at a shop in Goldhawk Road. I saw the peacock design I loved but in red and pink, and bought three metres for £20. You can also get this fabric from Liberty.
I used a vintage blouse pattern, making up view B, but with full length sleeves as in view A. It has a number of interesting features. The blouse is shaped by darts, inverted darts and released pleats. As a consequence it flares out over the hips. It works well tucked in or out. The sleeves, with minimum ease, are inserted (like a shirt) before the side seams are sewn up. There is considerable fullness at the cuffs. I had to move the button on the sleeves to produce a tighter cuff – next time I would just make them smaller. The approach to the placket was one I had not experienced before, but it seemed to work.
This blouse has silver buttons – perhaps not an obvious choice. In fact they are very plain and almost look like press studs rather than shanked buttons. I like a metal button – it saves matching the colour and it acts a bit like wearing jewellery. It reflects light and flatters the complexion – so long as you know what precious metal works well with your colouring.