Let’s get started.
I have decided to start with my grey fabric collection. I have had most of these pieces for a while, especially the heavy silks. I have always resisted a grey or beige collection, alhtough I find these wearable colours. The SWAP this year will be a spur for me. In my mind I have a grey boiled wool skirt, a Chanel jacket, and either a top or an evening skirt from the grey silk.
First up is a pencil skirt. Most days I wear trousers or a plain skirt for work, with a shirt and jacket, and (in this cold weather) a jersey or cardigan. So a plain skirt in a neutral colour is a good basic for me.
There is a skirt I like the look of from Jigsaw. It is made from boiled wool and has some nice features. Because this fabric does not unravel you can use unfinished seams. I liked the effect of this on the CF seam and back darts. Also the front darts are transferred to the side seam and arranged to point downwards towards the tip of the pelvic bone which I found rather attractive. I even like the colour. The only thing that put me off was the price tag – almost £100, although it is now in the sale.
I decided to make it up in a piece of boiled wool I got for £4 a metre from Simply Fabrics in Brixton (there was only 80cms left on the roll). It is fairly heavy weight, perhaps a bit too heavy for a skirt really. In fact I have a Zara coat in exactly this light grey fabric and I thought they might look good together. And I love wearing light grey.
I prepared a pattern.
As I don’t store too many patterns and my size changes over time I started with Winifred Aldrich, drafted her basic tailored skirt and then moved the darts from the traditional position to the side seams at the front.
In order to give a bit of pizzazz to a plain skirt Jigsaw have used external darts and an overlapped raw edge CF seam. This was new to me and the boiled wool was ideal as it doesn’t fray at all. I stitched the front darts on the outside so I could clearly see what I was doing and to make sure that the join was good. I trimmed them back on the underside as they are rather thick. I used iron-on interfacing on the CB seam before inserting a white invisible zip.
The Jigsaw skirt has a seam at the waist line. I found this a bit crude so instead I attached a piece of curved Petersham, turned it in and stitched it down inside. This worked perfectly.
The hem on the other hand was not satisfactory. It was very bulky, especially at the CB split as the fabric is turned over and this creates four layers. I also thought the skirt may be a bit long. Although I wanted to keep my knees warm in this cold weather it makes the skirt look a bit dowdy, especially with the flat shoes. I think I will alter it to make it shorter and do something about flattening the hem.
The jumper is made with the Elizabeth Zimmermann raglan sleeve pattern. If you made the colourful yoke pattern of knitting three cylinders you can do this too. The body and two sleeves are put onto one circular needle and two stitches are decreased at the sleeve and front section every other row. This creates the “raglan” seam.
I am very pleased with it because it is comfortable and it goes with just about everything in my wardrobe. It is made in Colourmart merino yarns. Nick and I went to an interesting event arranged by students at Central St Martins last week at the Tate Modern. The students show how digital technology and the loss of traditional studios in the capital forces artists to consider where and how they make their art. The use of coffee shops, the kitchen, the pub or a park bench can be more public places where the act of creation can be shared. In my day job I am pleased and proud to include artists spaces in some of our new developments. I certainly enjoyed talking to the young artists who also allowed members of the public to join in and consider their role in society at a temporary project staged at the Bankside gallery’s Tate Exchange arm. It certainly revealed the many ways we can make our lives more beautiful.