Blogging has brought me great joy. It has allowed me to meet the most interesting women from all over the world, some of them in person. I have written up many of these encounters because they have been such fun, but also because there is always something to be learned from others with the same interest in making clothes.
One of the most interesting blogs is Cloning Couture by Mary Funt. If you haven’t come across her blog go and have a look. This is high end, couture sewing at its very best. Mary makes wonderful bridal and evening wear and alters original couture items such as Chanel so they fit well and look contemporary. When she mentioned she was coming to the UK to purchase some fabrics, visit some factories and see the sights of London I arranged to meet up with her. What fun! We arranged to meet in British Museum as Mary and her husband wanted to see the Rosetta Stone. The real stone is in the Museum but this one is a copy you can touch.
Mary is, apart from being a wonderful seamstress and seriously good tennis player, is “Daughter of the American revolution (DAR)” – women who can prove that they are descended from someone who played a role in achieving Independence for the United States. As someone who has studied her own ancestry Mary’s was particularly proud that she has five connections to the American revolution, and had been visiting graves and collecting information. Her husband explained that she is practically American royalty!
We drank tea in the members room, wandered around the exhibits and talked of politics, family, sewing and Mary’s adventures so far. Mary had been to the Linton shop in Carlisle and Lochcarron in Scotland. They had been in Edinburgh and Sterling too and loved Scotland. I felt very proud of our British textiles and traditions – tartan, tweed, Scottish wool, Yorkshire woolen fabrics, our cotton and silk industry and asked Mary what were the authentically American textile traditions. She said, of course, cotton is grown and manufactured in the US, but not the very highest quality, on the whole. I mentioned that I had been interested in the beading and leather work of indigenous people, and hey presto we found ourselves in the North American and Canadian parts of the Museum. The cloak on the left was very interesing, becasue although it is heavily decorated it was just worn folded slightly at the neck rather than being cut into shape.
We saw something else I found fascinating, originating in Canada rather than the United States. I am including this for Stephanie, especially, but I wonder if anyone else might know a) what it is and b) what it is made from?
In the meantime I have been using the basting thread and needles. What a perfect present – unobtainable in the UK and of superlative quality. I shall weep when they are exhausted. Thank you lovely Mary, and do come again!