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Shortly forty….so swiftly fifty.

January 29, 2015


I’ve seriously been neglectful of my website and blog lately. In winter months crisps seem like a sensible choice for a jacket potato filling, potatoes in any form are a good breakfast choice and crispy potato skins make good slippers. In fact it’s one massive stodge fest until crisp sandwiches appear in Spring.

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Browsing through my photos recently, looking for inspiration for my first blog post of 2015, I chanced upon these images. Taken at Castle Ashby a full ten years ago now they were images taken for The Telegraph Magazine (they never made it into the magazine…. sadly)
I had a shop over in the tiny village of castle Ashby for probably a year or two we sold my clothing and a friends jewellery. Sometimes when I make clothes I wonder what’s the point when i don’t yet have a buyer for them. But when I look back at the Images I realize that I’ve sold everything I’ve made. The fabric for the 2 piece bodice and fitted skirt (pictured above) was from Paul Smith. It was a truly beautiful wool with a magenta check. The lady who brought this wore it for the opening night of the New York Metropolitan Opera House. That made me feel wonderful. Especially when she wrote a cheque out from Coutts bank.

abi photos jan 2004 006

Looking at the clothes in these pictures I realize that I still work in the same way. Buying small amounts of fabrics and making them into clothes that I feel do the fabric justice. The clothes hardly ever match or could form a cohesive collection of any kind, and through the years this has been detrimental to me making money. Because If I brought larger amounts of fabric I could build a collection where the pieces sat alongside each other in harmony. Let’s be clear on one thing, there will never be harmony across the ranges of clothing I make. Colours are bright, patterns vibrate, embellishments, beading and hand stitching fight for attention. But on the whole I’m very satisfied with what I do and the way I work.

abi photos jan 2004 010

The fundamentals of sewing, such as pattern cutting and being able to machine a garment accurately and with speed I can do well. Which gives me time at the end for hand finishing and a bit of decorative titivation.

abi photos jan 2004 027

So when I look at this picture of my old shop from ten years ago I’d love to find a ladies clothes shop like that now. I’m happy and on the whole things are going well and in the right direction. My clothes are never going to appeal to the masses (thank the lord) And as long as there’s folk out there who want to clash their knits, mix up their patterns and wear an orange dress with pink tights. Then I’m happy to be of service.

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