Regency Dance Class.

So once again I’ve been ill & haven’t done any sewing (yawn!)

However, I am trying to dance again & am now attending this Regency dance class in Waterloo…

regency dance flier 2

I am having a really good time so far, and the lady running it is an extremely good teacher, however it hasn’t had a lot of publicity,&  she isn’t getting quite the numbers she needs to continue it next term. So a general request for people to give it a try, it is awesome, & there is nothing nicer than looking round & seeing everyone dancing & it looking like a Jane Austin film, except maybe watching Jane Austin films, & being able to recognise and/or criticise the dancing. 🙂

Please come!

edit to add, it is £5 that didn’t make it onto the flier!

Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood

So sewing is currently going at snails pace. I’m not really ill anymore (more than usual) but partly we’ve just been really busy, partly we’ve decided August is a good time to spring clean the flat.

Anyway, 2 weekends ago we decided to go out for the day to the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood. It is not a museum I would normally have bothered with, except they had a free dollhouse exhibition that was closing soon & Jon had never been before, & I hadn’t been since I was 11 so we thought we’d give it a try.

The Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood is technically part of the Victoria and Albert museum, but it was set up in the early 20th century, by a load of illustrious people including Queen Mary, who was a massive patron, in order to give the poor children of the East End access to finer things. However as we walked round Jon & I speculated that being able to look at but not play with the sort of toys much richer children enjoyed is probably going to set a child firmly on the course to socialism, which may not have been the outcome the illustrious patrons were envisaging.

The first thing we noticed when we walked in was how quiet it was actually. Although obviously given the name, the museum is very much child friendly, I wouldn’t actually say it was by any means soley a children’s museum. I found the content & the behaviour of the children there a lot less irritating than for example pretty much the whole of the Natural History Museum or the Launch Pad at the Science Museum. There are areas for children to play and go off and one and scream, but they are in the corners of the building and for the most part quite removed from the main displays which are in fairly haphazardly curated old fashioned glass cases.

In the foyer there was an exhibition on Alice in Wonderland, including clothes, for adults and children inspired by the book, in one case was a full AATP lolita outfit…


The outfit was much better presented than when my mum and I went to the V&A exhibition the model used was actually the right hight, the dress wasn’t 3 inches above its knees, & it was much better coordinated.

There was a lot of modern stuff in the exhibition, well I say modern, I mean stuff from our childhoods till about 10 years ago, however being in glass cases with little labels makes everything look a bit old and shabby, I was especially shocked at how dated the Harry Potter merch and Barbie stuff looked. Jons highlight of the entire museum was an old early 90’s Amstrad computer which was his first one, & he had a load of the games that were exhibited with it.

What I was really there for, & what I took a load of pictures of is all the dollhouses and 18th & 19th century toys though. They are so beautiful.

Here be pictures…..( it was virtually impossible to get shots without reflections from the cases which was a shame)

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Anyway, I am failing miserably at getting those to format in an attractive way, so apologies for the crap layout.

I would highly recommend the Museum of Childhood though to anyone into Victoriana or Lolita or even just to nostalge about ones childhood without hoards of screaming kids.

I am free from Wednesday onwards next week, so hopefully will be able to get on with the blasted dress I am working on. & normal sewing blogging will be resumed!



Stripy purple dress and Babymetal \m/

I finished this dress on Monday last week, and wore it on Monday night to go to knitting group and then on Thursday to go out with some friends. However due to the miserable weather and nights drawing in, I didn’t manage to get any photographs of it, and so on Saturday morning it hit the washing pile and I was very concerned that it would get lost in the laundry and I wouldn’t see it again for two weeks, let alone take pictures of it.

However we put it in the first wash we did on Saturday, fished it out and hung it on the radiator, and due to the the dreadful weather meaning the radiator was actually on all day, but 5:00 in the evening it was actually dry!

Which was just as well really as I was rather short of ideas of what to wear for the Babymetal gig that evening. My plan was to wear Lolita, but one skirt was in the wash, I did’t want to wear any proper stuff due to the possibility of sticky drinks in a moshpit, it was that time of the month, so I didn’t want to wear anything too tight or again too expensive, and I just wasn’t really feeling it with the choices I had left.

So I decided to wear the new dress I’d made, being purple and black striped it had a spooky enough feel to be appropriate for the sort of band I was seeing, its really really comfy, and it meant it definitely would get pictures taken of it to post this week…..

So here are pictures, taken before the gig in the usual spot in our flat (it looks really shabby there to me, and although I love our yellow door, it isn’t the best for photos, but its the only place the light is even vaguely flattering that has a long enough run up to take full length photos, so it is having to do for now)

purple stripy skater dress purple skater dress

So I’m really proud of this one. The fabric is fairly fiberous bad quality jersey that was really stiff at first, but has softened up nicely after a couple of washes, so clearly isn’t as bad as I thought. But it was my first time matching stripes and I got it about 80% right, (and the 20% I got wrong I know what I did)….

matching stripes


So here is me looking like an idiot, but you can quite clearly see all the stripes match up perfectly down the seam under my arm, down the side of the bodice and down the skirt. It is pretty much the same on the other side too, apart from about 4 stripes at the bottom of the bodice. This is because when I sewed the back of the bodice onto the skirt I left a smaller hem on one side than I did on the other side and both sides of the front. Unfortunately I only worked out what the problem was a good hour or two after finishing the thing. However if I did it again, I would a) if experiencing problems with one seam/side, walk away and do the other side first, which helps see what the problem is b) walk away for an hour or two anyway just to see if my brain worked out what to do in that time (something I never do, but is really important) and c) if I couldn’t fix the problem, make sure the bit that was out is at the top of the bodice under the arm pit, not the bottom as that is less noticable. 80% right is not bad for a first try at stripes, and actually as it was involving things like stretchy jersey and elastic sewn into the seams and is a dress not just a top, it maybe wasn’t the most sensible pattern for a first attempt at stripe matching, oh well! ( it is this pattern I did this place before btw!)

So yeah, we went out to Babymetal, for the entire of the journey the weather was horrific, and due to the time of the gig we needed to eat in Brixton (where the gig was at) so we found a cafe, which was happily playing their album,  and had a sandwich and a glass of wine, and by the time we were finished the weather had cleared up.

The band were onstage at 8.15 so we, and pretty much the entire rest of the audience, decided to turn up at 7.30 so the queue was massive. But there was an amazingly good atmosphere and everyone chatted and popped into the little offie along the queue to buy drinks as we waited, its the most fun I’ve had in a gig queue for ages.

Then when we got in we braved the rugby scrum to buy me a t-shirt. Baby metal’s t-shirts are so cool, they are really elaborate and their team have put a load of effort into making them interesting, so many bands theres days just do a logo in really lame font. They were also £20, which was a nice surprise as Japanese bands merchandise can be eye waveringly expensive (Versailles, I’m looking at you here).

We ended up in the circle, not the pit, which hadn’t been made completely clear when I bought the tickets, but I was ok with that actually as we got a seat fairly near the front and actually I was quite tired so a seat was really helpful and we could see the band perfectly from where we were. Before the band came on they played a load of Sabbath and Maiden and stuff, and it was so cool to see the entire room singing along and head banging to “Bring your Daughter to the Slaughter” 🙂

There were a few girls I saw in lolita. Big shout out to the girl I met in the loos wearing a Baby dress, which made me doubly happy as she was a larger size girl and it was black and one of Babys more elaborate prints, and I had no idea their more elaborate or gothy dresses could fit larger sizes too, not just their more basic and pink ones. This may be bad though in the long run as it has given me ideas!

Yeah, and the show. It was awesome! Really polished and slick,they played pretty much everything I could think of from their album and a new song at the end. The band were really tech and wanked off loads soloing, the girls were such good dancers and running around all over the place. I find it hard to believe they are only 15/16 (specially as a load of people were going on about how they’d been into the band for 18 months/2 years…..someones telling porkies there) but it was a really good show, and there were pyrotechnics at the end! 🙂 I like pyrotechnics! 🙂

Also special commendation to my Muchacha Achachumu cat bag which survived the entire evening, including being heavily rained on for 20 minutes, without letting water in or the print running. So many times you hear stories of Japanese brand stuff running or not being washable or durable, but this bag took the worst  the British weather could throw at it and was fine. Very impressed!

Here it is hanging up safe and dry after its outing…..

muchacha achachumu


And here is me wearing my new Babymetal t-shirt the next day…..



The next project I have to make is a top for a friend, so although i may take a photo of it, I can’t show it on here till she’s got it, so unless something else random and cool happens in the meantime, it may be a couple of weeks at least till I post again.

Chester….a weirdo’s guide!

I wasn’t going to post about this, as it was just a two day break in a random northern city, but actually it was too awesome not to.

First of all we got a first class train up there. This is because for whatever bizarre reason it was pretty much the same price as standard for that particular journey…

train beer

Jon, having a beer on the train. Straight after that they gave us a free beer as well! 🙂

The hotel we were staying in was half way between the station and the town, it was a bit 80’s decor and had a very 80’s restaurant (breaded camembert, stuffed duck) that we avoided, but it also had an awesome swimming pool with a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi that we gave a good explore after settling in.

We then hit the town to find dinner and drinkies.

Chester is really weird as all the buildings even back to medieval are 4 stories high and the bottom floor and cellar are one shop and then there is a gallery you can walk along with a second shop at first and 2nd floor level. it is also a lot posher than I was expecting (Hollyoaks is not a good advertisement) and has a lot of interesting quirky shops……

including a Tiki Bar!!! I don’t think they even have one in London and I have been dying to try one out for like ever! This one was in the crypt of a building and was so pretty……

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I had a Mai Tai and a Pina Colada and Jon had a Tequila Sunrise to drink. It was so cool, though the choice of happy hardcore style dance music blaring did seem a little incongruous.

Then we cleared off to a pub near the river to eat, it was recommended to us as really special and it was ok, however £10 for a 8oz steak and chips and a half bottle of wine each was pretty darn good, I’ve got to say. We were a bit too tired and cocktailed out to want to get really drunk, so, as it came with a handy lid, we liberated the bottle of wine back to our hotel and had it the next day while getting ready for the convention.

Next morning we went on a walk round the town centre again. It is such a bizarre place, even Debenhams is in like a really ancient building…this is the coffee shop in the basement….

Debenhams chester

Then I went to look at a shop that had caught my eye the night before…

morgan chester mori girl

Morgan is a little chain of boutiques in Chester and Wales that does what I can only describe as Mori Girl – a japanese youth style that involves dressing like someone who lives in the woods and is close to nature – clothing. Which is awesome cuz this is the middle of England. The shop is very pretty (I had a job and a half making that photo not reflective, there are far better pictures on their website) but ruinously expensive, serious designer prices. As inspiration it is lovely though, and although the workers there and the clientele seemed mainly my Mums age, one of them knew exactly what Mori Girl was and had a pinterest board full of it apparently.

So feeling inspired, we head across the road to Cancer Research and there I did what I have to describe as my best charity shop haul in ages…

In fact if more stuff had stood half a chance of fitting I would have had half the shop away with me….

Here goes then…

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The blouse is a lot more poofy and victorian style when you actually have it on. Left behind of particular note was a one shouldered 90’s top sewing pattern that only went up to a size 12, a Mansun/Manics fan green army jacket (Jon already has one) and a blue velvet jacket (too small for Jon).

On the way back to the hotel we ran into a town crier convention as well….

chester town crier convention chester town crier convention


So then the convention, which is what we were actually in Chester for. It was a celebration of the works of a 90’s band called Mansun. For anyone who doesn’t know they were a britpop-glam style band a bit like the Manic Street Preachers, but with a much more prog edge to them. They were quite big at the time but never made it massive, to a large part because their record company didn’t think they were pop enough to push. They split up about 10 years ago now, but amongst young kids (And there really were quite a lot at the convention) they’ve once again got a bit of a cult following as people who weren’t there at the time reevaluate everything that happened in the britpop era and decide what they think was good or not, 15 years later without the record label and radio 1/nme interference that was a major issue at the time. A phrase that got bandied round a lot at the convention was ‘Britpop’s Velvet Underground’

Anyway, it was very good fun, there were a few exhibitiony things, a few talks and panels on various aspects of Mansuns history, and then a gig in the evening. I didn’t take many photos as I was having fun…

jon six mansun guitar

Jon posing as the album cover from ‘Six’ and one of Paul Draper’s guitars.

It was really weird though, back in 2000/2001 there was a whole community based round liking this sort of music, there were multiple club nights in London playing Mansun and other bands of their ilk and millions of underaged teenagers, who wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a nightclub at that age these days, following minor rock stars around screaming. I kept recognising people vaguely who I’d known back then and been to the same gigs and clubs and pub meet ups as, but as Facebook didn’t exist there was no practical way of keeping in touch with. I do miss London having a functioning alternative scene! One of the things you don’t realise until you see them all in a room with you is just how many people have had to move away!

Anyway, journey back was a right pain in the neck as Virgin trains, in their wisdom, had decided to do track repairs over the bank holiday weekend and so a train would have involved 3 changes and taken 5 1/2 hrs, so we took a coach which took 6 instead. Which was not great and made me kind of ill.

I’ve been kind of ill ever since actually. I have finally blocked my knitting, but due to rather damp weather and having to dry it flat its drying rather slowly. I also intend to spend tomorrow working on my next top.

Loncon3/Worldcon 2014

So this year Worldcon, the world literary science fiction convention was in London (at Edxcel in the Docklands) and as we live fairly nearby and are both into Science fiction, we went.

Due to catching a rather nasty cold in the middle and attempting some dancing which is a lot more hardcore than the usual longish walks I manage, I only attended for 3 days rather than all 5, which kinda killed the clothing thing i wanted to do as my aim was to wear all my main lolita outfits at least once. I was also scuppered by stuff not turning up from China in a timely fashion and by deciding I wanted to do something completely different on the Sunday anyway.


Thursday was quite a quiet day as it was the first day of the Con, we mostly went to panels on this day, it was kind of like being in a mini university. I saw ones on costuming, cities and medievalism which were all really interesting. Didn’t bother to take a picture till I got home at night….

black bodyline dress

Just a plain black Bodyline jsk with (you can’t tell in the picture) long sleeved black and silver top and black and gold tights, the weird shape pendant is actually a laser cut At-At from a stall at the Scifi weekend the other year.

Friday we only went in for the dancing as we didn’t know how well I was going to be able to manage it and it seemed silly to push ourselves. In the event I really enjoyed it and managed to dance for 2 1/2 hrs only sitting out for one dance (where I took this picture)

Roger de Coverley


The blob in the middle is Jon dancing the Roger de Coverley (I did get a go at it earlier on). Though the picture doesn’t show it there were actually a lot of people in costume of some kind or other. I sort of dressed up, in fact I wore something a lot floatier than I had originally intended, but I don’t really have a lot of stuff with floor length skirts, certainly nothing specifically Regency, though as Jon and I did actually really enjoy the event, we are looking to try out lessons in Surbiton so this may have to be swiftly rectified.

Anyway….what I wore….

loncon 3

With bonus Iron Throne, the skirt I made years ago before I started a blog, the jersey blouse is my homemade pattern one. Although this is an awesome outfit for doing floaty dancing in, it isn’t as it stands a very good lolita one as the petticoat I have doesn’t puff it out enough so it looks kind of flat. This will hopefully be rectified when stuff arrives from China.

Picture of me with another loli at the con…..


I didn’t get this ladies name, but did give her my username, so hopefully she finds this. Demos perfectly though why I need a pouffier petticoat.

Saturday I was achey all day from the dancing, and both of us had a cold, so we had an on the sofa day watching videos.

Sunday we meant to enter a cosplay competition thing, but it was on fairly early in the morning and the neighbouring sports club decided to have a party till one am so we slept in a bit late. We still dressed up though….


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I went for a kind of Gainsborough look using my Steampunk dress as a kind of Chemise a la Reine. Loads of people said I look really pretty and it worked reasonably well, but I am still not really happy with the way this dress has turned out. I will continue to look for ways to style it up, but it isn’t really me! :-S

I am so proud of Jon for dressing up though, he never does. This is his outfit….


He went as Elric from the Michael Moorcock novels, he had loads of white face paint on which isn’t really clear in this. The cloak was made years and years ago by our friend Liz, who would actually be much better at sewinghtan me if she ever bothered 😛

Picture of the two of us together….



Jon saw a panel that day, I mostly spent it drinking in the bar with a friend, however we went home early as we were both still a bit ill and suffering from lack of sleep the night before.

The monday Jon went in and did loads of panels, I stayed at home and slept as by that point the cold had taken a really firm grip! 😦

Over all I massively enjoyed the bits I went to , I am somewhat frustrated there was a lot of evening activities I missed out on as although the cold could not be helped, even though we live quite near by London standards we were still 3/4 hr away and with my Chronic Fatigue could only really manage traveling back and forwards once in a day, so if I needed a nap, that was it. If it ever happens in the uk again (which on previous form seems to be every 5 years or so and London every 10!) or if I was to go to a similar convention, I think I would try to stay on site, then I could go to more stuff.

At the moment I am still recovering from the cold and I won’t be doing any sewing till next week as I am away this weekend. However I have apparently been nominated for a liebster award (a bloggy chain letter thing that helps small blogs get more followers) thanks Brigid 🙂 ! So I have something to post when I get back.

As far as sewing goes I have 4 or 5 boring tops to make, that I intend to bite the bullet and get on with, after which I am definitely going to have a go at some spooky fun stuff as the majority of the stuff I have made this year is everyday wardrobe filler and is not even really representative of what I wear on a day to day basis, and I am itching to sew something gothy and creative!



Hidcote Gardens and the Scarecrows.

Absolutely dismal weather today.  Hoping the rumbles of thunder in the background don’t mean the power will go down in the middle of writing this. Anyway. I have been away for rather a long time. This is because not only did our bathroom remodelling take about twice as long as we had anticipated, in the chaos of packing things away for safekeeping I lost my camera cable and have only just found it again. (It is just as well we did pack everything away as the mess the builders left is phenomenal and we’ve literally had to deep clean the entire flat as a result, and still not finished!)

So I spent the first 2 weeks of the building staying with my parents near Chipping Campden in Glocestershire. It was awesome to be there and be looked after and not have to cook and stuff, but a little bit lonely as I don’t really know anyone up there (Even though I went to school in the area, I haven’t really kept in proper touch with anyone who stayed living locally.) and I don’t drive.

However it is absolutely beautiful countryside round there, and Jon came to stay over the Easter weekend (he spent entire rest of the time on a friends sofa bed so as to be near his work and near the flat so he could keep an eye on the builders) and we walked from my parents house up the hill to Hidcote Gardens, a really famous garden that happens to be about 2 miles away from where they live. And took loads of photos…..

About half these pictures are taken by Jon, the other half by me. 🙂


The countryside on the walk up the hill…

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Pictures we took in the garden…. I am dressed like a right scruff bag as it was a spur of the moment decision to go up there, and the path at the bottom of the hill is often muddy (though it wasn’t that day) so sensible shoes are a really good idea. I would love to go again dressed up properly and do a photoshoot some time though.

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And then in the orchard we ran into a scarecrow competition…… normally I would find something like that quite creepy, but it was such beautiful weather and the light was all soft late spring afternoon, that actually it was really beautiful.

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Anyway. now I have my camera back, expect loads of catch up photos. More I took of pretty stuff at Mum and Dads and our awesome new bathroom. I don’t think I am going to be able to get my sewing machines back out till next week at the earliest though. However in the tidying up after the builders we have manages to free an extra shelf for my sewing patterns, so I am really happy! 🙂

Oh, the Goblin Kings Masquerade Ball was cancelled by the organisers, which was just as well really as we were staying on a friends sofa bed and I had no access to all my pretty stuff at the time, so that dress still isn’t sorted.  There is something similar in a couple of months I fancy going to, so it will probably get dragged out and finished for that then.



Purple (And grey freezing cold) Rain.

So as has been much hyped for the last few weeks Prince, the 80’s pop star with a thing for Purple and squiggly symbols, is in London at the moment and doing a load of “small scale gigs in iconic venues”.

(ETA It has been hypothesised by a particularly pedantic Facebook friend that my description of Prince’s career may lead to my complaint being dismissed as Not A Real Fan. Funnily enough lots of other people read my blog who are not music geeks, in the queue yesterday, the most common response on being told who we were queuing for was ‘Prince Who?’ If anyone wants a detailed run down on just how much I love obscure tracks from the mid 90’s or follow artists that did one song with him in the early 80’s,or they won’t take me seriously they are utterly missing the point!)

For the last two nights that venue has been the Electric Ballroom in Camden.

The first nights gig was not really publicised. A lady who is Prince’s manager or tour manager or something posted on Twitter at 10pm on Tuesday night that he was there, a few fans turned up and got let in, but mostly it was a teaser for the press. Yesterdays gig however, for anyone following Prince related twitter feeds was fairly well publicised.

Doors at 7pm at the Electric Ballroom, but if you wanted tickets you had to be down there for 2pm to pick them up. The accepted wisdom was that it was two per person. Now immediately this did not bode well for the rest of the tour. Much as I miss the days of camping out overnight for David Bowie or Foo Fighters tickets, and awful though the way most of them seem to end up in the hands of touts is, being able to buy tickets online has massively democratised the whole gig scene in Britain. No longer do you need a mate without a job residing in the actual area the gig is being held at in order to be able to see a band play. However as I was feeling vaguely well yesterday and don’t actually have a job, I went down to try and get tickets for Jon and I.

I left the house at 11.30, it was not the warmest weather but dry, and I was relatively well wrapped up, black ski-jacket/market coat, red wool hat, no gloves and mary jane shoes, but at that time there was no indication the weather was in any way bad.

However by the time I got to Camden at 12.30 it was flooding down. Sheeting freezing rain with a bitter wind driving it into everyones faces and turning umbrellas inside out. This may not have been easy to tell for an American, but this was particularly nasty weather even by British standards.

So I queued, the guy next to me bought a £5 umbrella from one of the tourist tat stalls, I bought a pair of socks to keep my feet a bit warmer, as a little huddle of us we took it in turns to go for hot drinks and crepes from the stall across the road. It was actually quite good fun in a bizarre way, and it would only be an hour and a half till we got in to buy our tickets and then headed off to the pub for the rest of the afternoon.

We were about 30 back from the front of the queue when we got there at 12.30, but by about 1.15 it was 350/400 strong right round the block.

Then two o’clock came, the security guard came out of the building, everyone cheered. But suddenly complete confusion. This wasn’t a queue to buy tickets at 2, this was a queue to get into the gig at 7. And it was one entry per person not two. WTF!?

So not great, but fair enough you couldn’t get a ticket for a friend with a job, but we had been waiting for an hour and a half, the queue had been massive for an hour of that, why could they not have just told us in advance so we weren’t wasting time? And if it was one entry per person, where the hell was the harm in giving out wrist bands to everyone there, so they could go away and come back again later?

But oh look, what have we here, about 2.15 as everyone was milling around, unwilling to believe we’d actually been screwed that badly and not sure what to do, here comes members of the national press, with video cameras and microphones, being all “look at all these obsessive Prince fans, theres so many of them, and they’ve got here 5 hours before a gig in this weather” no mention at all of the fact everyone in the queue had been tricked.

Of course people left, I left, I was starting to get cold to the core, and realistically there was no way I could queue for 5 hours for anything. I’ve been told off for moaning about this, cuz Prince is already discriminating against people with jobs and who don’t live in London, but this is FULL OUT DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION. By tricking his fans into turning up early and then forcing them to wait in the bitter cold and rain, Prince is actually excluding anyone who doesn’t have the stamina to stand out for 5 hours and wait from going to his gig. I have Chronic Fatigue, if I get too cold and don’t have anywhere to sit down for several hours I get very very ill. I was in fact ill last night and am sneezing rather more than I’d appreciate the is morning.

I couldn’t just go home then come back again as I live about an hour away.

Apparently at some point in late afternoon/early evening a big corporation brought out sponsored purple umbrellas for the people who were left. Apparently Prince’s retinue provided food. Both of which were interpreted by the press and tweeters from his retinue as wonderful bountiful gestures, isn’t he being sweet to his crazy crazy fans! Fans who were only bloody there in the first place,and had only got there so early because they had been deliberately tricked!

So yeah, I hear it was a good gig, I hear that the people who actually got in really enjoyed it. However spare a thought for the at least half the queue who couldn’t cope with a 5 hour wait in the cold and had to go home, we’re not so impressed. And nor are our friends who couldn’t believe it when we told them what was happening. And it will get around. Not to mention all the people with actual jobs or who live out of London who are completely excluded from the queuing up process in the first place.

Prince may think its a cool romantic idea to put on impromptu small gigs in London with bizarre and exploitative means of getting tickets, but given he is a major international act who hasn’t visited Britain properly in 7 years, this is not the way to win fans. Its not the way to treat existing fans. In fact for anyone who isn’t Prince or doesn’t have the stamina to stand in the freezing rain on one of the coldest days of the year for 5 hours, its a complete shambles!

china lady, dr who,another ladybird top and vexatious overlockers!

A while ago I know, but last time I posted I mentioned the necklace and the ceramic bust of a woman I was massively regretting not picking up from the charity shops in Beckenham. So early last week I went down there, the necklace had gone, which is sad, but I can always find another one I guess, but the woman’s head was still there…..

It is a little smaller than I thought so only my teeny tiny hat will fit it, but it is settling in nicely on my mini hat shelf….


i thought that was it for charity shopping for a while, but our as I passed our local British Heart Foundation the other day I spotted a load of Dr Who DVD’S in the window for 99p each. There were some old series and some new series, and at first I thought each dvd was one episode they were so cheap, but for the new series it was 2 and the old series it was a complete story arc! Now I don’t mind watching Dr Who, which given I can’t really be bothered with TV is enthusiasm from me. Jon however loves Dr Who massively. So I bought them all….


Turns out when I got them home and did a little digging on the internet, that they originally came with one of those monthly magazines, called the Dr Who Files . Anyway, when I went back the next day there were 40 odd more there. So I bought all of them! I don’t have photos cuz they are in a massive bag waiting till we can find somewhere to put them. but Jon is completely over the moon, and we are looking at it as a long term investment! 🙂

Also end of the week before last I sewed up another ladybird top….


Same fabric, same pattern as last time….the ubiquitous Sewaholic Renfrew. Long sleeved version this time though. I’m going to try a couple more adventurous knit problems next time, however I didn’t manage to get any momentum going as despite it only taking an hour and a half to make and looking amazing on the outside, the back side of the overlocker stitch was looping/bubbling and no amount of fiddling with the tension settings would tell me what was wrong. So I left starting the next one for a week whilst I researched on the internet. Finally I found a couple of blogs which suggested the problem probably was one of the threads wasn’t between its tension plates properly (as opposed to every other blog which said rethread it entirely with  multicoloured threads and fiddle some more…not if I can get away with it!) and looking at it closely, yes one of the threads was out from its tension plates. So I’ve fixed that!

I have no idea if it has worked yet though, as the builder came yesterday to sort us with new radiators and put a power point in behind the table where I sew so I don’t have to keep long and dangerous extension cables winding across the floor to plug the machines into. So I had to put the machines away on a shelf and hopefully when I get them out again the overlocker will have been sufficiently un-jolted it will work and not need rethreading anyway! :-S

However when I got up to get a glass of water a few minutes ago I had to peel myself off the seat I’m on, so I’m not going to try anything potentially very frustrating in this kind of heat!

Dare to wear

Today my Mum came down to London to take me out for the day and I decided it would be a good idea to take her to see Dare  To Wear at St Pancras Church in Euston.

I’d heard vague things about the exhibition, and it’s only just opened, but I saw a picture of this necklace…….


I think its by  Tatty Devine, and the premise of the exhibition was put this way in promotional material…

“We join 26 visionary artists exploring the wardrobe conundrums:  ‘Will flamboyance set you free?’ ‘Will wearing beige really kill you?’ and ‘What should we wear on the way to the afterlife?’.”

So I thought it was worth a look.

The exhibition is in the crypt of St Pancras Church, which is probably the second most weeping angel infested place in central London (apart from Kensington Gardens)….


….and not really somewhere I’d go at night.

But its a really atmospheric venue for what is a totally amazing exhibition.

As soon as I walked in I saw more rhinestones and fake jewels, dismembered barbies and shop mannequins than I’ve ever seen in one place before and I got really excited because if I was going to set the criteria for my dream art exhibition those would be somewhere on the list.

It was also quite freaky as it was kind of like walking into a collage or a shrine from Rookie Magazine!

Anyway…this post is about to get seriously picture heavy, and I am ashamed to say they are not very good pictures 😦

This is because my camera is on the blink and totally refuses to change flash settings, it also has a ‘helpful’ face finding auto focus tool which is great if you are trying to take quick snaps of your friends but if you put it in a room full of things that look like faces but aren’t quite it throws a complete wobbly and refuses to focus on anything, or focuses on one irrelevant object and totally ruins the photos.

It knows it’s getting binned as soon as I can afford a new one! >;-)

However, enough excuses…the pictures……


This artist (I didn’t have a chance to take down names 😦 ) put mobile devices with videos playing into their work…..


I think all these were by the same artist…they are incredibly detailed traditional embroidery and textile art…I am super impressed because given my incredibly slow attempts at tapestry I know how difficult this is to do!


Someone left a costume from Game of Thrones lying about!


Totally amazing collage/shrine work….this is the bit that really made me think of Rookie!


various objects….so many rhinestones! 🙂


an example of my camera playing up, it decided to focus on the lamp behind, which is a lovely lamp, but not the point!


lots of plastic people!


this is the best idea ever!

Fun things to do with Barbies. 🙂


This reminded me of Grayson Perry for some reason….actually if you like Grayson Perry this is a good exhibition for you.

Anyway…I could post photographs for ever and totally ruin the exhibition for everyone else….so go and see it!

Actually with a functional camera its also an excellent place to to take photos, so many cool angles!

I have come home all inspired and am going to dig out a fascinator made out of a dolls head I never got round to finishing a few years ago..and I may start adding too many rhinestones and pompoms to clothes I make for a bit.



museums and fine dining…..and a massive rant about Lolita fashion!

Despite having to stop due to a mega cold at the end of last week I have actually been sewing and completed one new dress, however my mum couldn’t get any photos of it today whilst we were out, my camera has the longest exposure time ever, and my mum has hypoglaecemia so gets a bit wobbly, so bad combination, so I will have to wait for Jon to come home from band rehearsal much later tonight to get a picture of it.

Today I took the day off to go to the V&A with my mum though. Well it was sort of the day off, it was also sort of a research trip.

First up we hit the Ballgowns Exhibition in the newly tarted up Fashion Gallery. Have to say it was awesome. So amazing to see Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen and Hardy Amies dresses in the flesh and to get a good look at them. Favourites were the first dress I saw, can’t remember who by, but made for the Queen Mother in the <s>18</s> 1950’s, and a late seventies 50’s style prom dress number with kind of quilted satin done up with pastel representations of a fairy story painted and written all over it, actually really contemporary to whats going on in street fashion right now.

Biggest problem with the exhibition was the dummies, as far as size goes, yeah they were all thin, but as most of the dresses downstairs were couture from actual peoples actual collections rather than designers samples they were on reasonable shaped dummies. However whoever had posed them had decided to do so in the most bizarre catwalk poses, including one I can only describe as the time warp…


which is not a way to make any outfit look attractive, no matter how beautifully made. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m as much an aficionado of Americas Next Top Model as anyone else, but i was under the impression that those kinds of poses were there to break the monotony of a runway show, or for an editorial shoot that is ostensibly about the clothes, but actually about something else entirely, the clothes are just the excuse. But for a static mannequin in an exhibition showing how gorgeous the ballgowns are; baffling! I felt like I was in some kind of parallel skinny-rich people dimension where the rules of physics and aesthetics behaved completely differently, a feeling I revisited several times throughout the day.

The difference between how I perceive beauty and how a designer does grew even more when I went upstairs to the contemporary (ie last 3 years) bit of the show. Apart from draped garments being really really not my thing, I failed to relate to most of the garments up there, I loved the concept of the fifties silhouette galaxy dress from last year (can’t remember who by) but on the model it looked sort of wrong.

Then my Mum and I saw a black full length sheath dress with intricate beading and simultaneously went ‘thats more like it!’ and of course it was about the only dress on that floor that wasn’t a sample and was actually worn by Beyonce, and the difference between that mannequins proportions and those of the dresses next to it was striking. Of course theres nothing wrong with size 0, and if someone is size 0 and has a dress made specially for them it can look spectacular, but a whole army of size 0 mannequins is a bit creepy, and actually in my mind didn’t do the dresses any favours. I mean I suspect Beyonce is tiny sized also, but omg the difference a bum and some tits made to the dress. Really don’t see how designers think what they do helps sell things.

After that went and had a salad for lunch in the was a yummy salad, but most definitely a salad!

then we went and had a look for the ‘Kitty and the Bulldog’ exhibition, which I was really excited to see, cuz it was ostensibly an exhibition on how Gothic Lolita relates to Western Fashion. Except it wasn’t it was 8 or so dresses in the japan gallery, it started out ok with a ‘in the mid 90’s a load of Japanese designers and musician types saw Viviane Westwood stuff and  all the lovely gear you used to be able to buy down Camden market (sobs..may it rest in peace!) and thought “we’ll have a piece of that! ” ”

And that was about it for analysis, Malice Mizer and Kamikaze Girls were mentioned, but it went no further than that. I am glad in a way, cuz it explicitly counters one of the more irritating Lolita fallacies that ‘The Japanese designers invented lolita in a sort of vacuum between victorian times and 21st century japan and it has no overlap with or relevance to actual goth or any western alternative culture at all, and never has had – yes you might have been into it in 2001/2 and actually remember and I am 22 but I can afford brand and you can’t so I know more what I am talking about than you do!” not that I’m bitter or anything.

And it was good that it had putamayo and moi dix mois ega line stuff which actually do look like stuff you could/can buy down camden, but it would have been good to have some actual western stuff for comparison.And more analysis!!!Cuz after the first few dresses the analysis just went off on one and went into some bizarre theory about lolita being a western fashion and feeding back into japanese traditional culture..not as one would expect via wa-lolita but via a black and red samurai outfit with a fetish mask and a traditional kimono with a bit of  (rachelle) lace on it and a head dress. Apparently the head dress was a western style item! (nope, me neither!) . I mean it was japanese street fashion, but whether it had anything at all to do with lolita was highly debatable!

They also put two virtually identical blue BTSSB and AATP dresses next to each other as examples of different styles, which out of an exhibition of 8 or 10 or so was a bit lame really.

And then there were the mannequins. Japanese girls are really skinny, they are not usually 6 foot! Hence every single dress was a good 2 inches above the mannequins knees, and therefore it looked a bit odd, specially with the angelic pretty!

Anyway…I will cease moaning about it. Its worth a look if you are there anyway, but I wouldn’t go out your way to see it!

After that we went to Harvey Nicks to the roof garden for some refreshment , cuz it has been taken over by Penhaligon and they are doing a special floral inspired desert and cocktail menu. Unfortunately all the cocktails are alcoholic,which was no good cuz my mum is fatally allergic to the stuff and has a really bad attitude to anyone else drinking around her, so we had a non alcoholic one each off the main menu, which were refreshing, but not that great! (they promised me grenadine!) However if one is going to fall off the diet wagon, it is best to do it somewhere you can do it in style, so we ordered a peony flavoured white chocolate mousse each with berries. And it arrived and I remembered I was in skinny-rich parallel dimension and with that portion size I wasn’t really falling off the wagon at all. It was however totally gorgeous! The revelation of the meal was that as well as peony scent in the mousse, which tbh I didn’t massively notice, they had soaked the fruit in some kind of violet water, which was one of the nicest things I’ve ever tasted, specially in conjunction with the mousse. I am going to experiment at home and try to replicate something similar. i will not be able to get hold of water as I suspect , having had a quick look at the web, that that’s a do it yourself jobby and I don’t have a garden. I have however found these, which are from the most amazing website for cooking, and also gives me the excuse to buy this and these at the same time and have a go at a really poncey dinner party! 🙂

Rather than take the direct lift we took the escalators through rich-skinny land down the store. Its not actually so much the rich i mind, its the assumption that you can’t be rich/a valid consumer if you aren’t a size 10 or less all these stores and designers hold. 😦  Oh well, this is why I make my own stuff I suppose!…which I’d probably better get on with!

I may try and skulk back to Harvey Nichols at some point to try the actual cocktails, cuz they looked awesome, but with someone a bit more amenable to mid afternoon drinking….. looks around shiftily for volunteers! (it is ruinously expensive though!)