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19 Majorette jackets, two suits, two ball gowns, two summer dresses, two ladies suits, two blouses, a cape, and a winter coat - since Christmas!

Today is for jam!

The other day I wandered up the garden with a couple of friends, and realized that there was bounty!  In a Bun Dance, even!  The apples were ripening on both little trees, and the crab apple is laden...  In a month or so there will be a whole tree-full of cherry coloured cherry-sized crab apples, to make more crable apple jelly and wine than I prbably need!

And I realized as we went that everywhere we looked were ripening brambles...  This garden is like the courtyard of Sleeping Beauty's palace!

So this afternoon I went out and picked brambles.  In a short time, I had about three pounds of fruit.  That, with three pounds of sugar. will make a very fine first boiling of bramble jam!

Brambles, honeysuckle, and clematis all of a tangle!

Katy tree in full fruit!

The crab apple my Father in Law gave us when we moved in, 27 years ago!

James Grieves, I think...

The damson that planted itself!

Low level brambles by the shed...

A bowl filled with the wild bounty of the garden!

As I said on Facebook, it says something about the state of your garden when you have to disentangle the clematis from next door from the three different honeysuckles on YOUR side, and lift the tendrils out of the way to get at the brambles!

I also appear to have a plant that has ripening apples, brambles, and damsons all on the same branch..

There will be an update when the jam is done.  :)

Exploding Kitchens!

This was put together from a couple of FB entries...

A couple of weeks back, ravenrigan mad some lovely elderflower cordial.  She TOLD me to keep it in the fridge.  Unfortunately, yesterday one of us let it loose on the work surface.  And the last couple of days have been lovely and warm...

Today my kitchen exploded!

Chaos Fairy Does Her Worst!Collapse )

Sometimes you just have to forge ahead...

I am sure I could solve all my blood pressure problems by just shooting a few suppliers!

I'd line them up and pepper them with paintballs filled with syrup and food colouring, and mashmallows, until they were brightly coloured and VERY STICKY and promised never to do this to me again!

We sent for some lovely samples from a German company we have used before.  The samples were perfect and the customer loved them...  But just the samples took three weeks to get here!  Once we'd got the samples and the OK from the customer, they gave us the cash and we ordered the fabric.  On the order we put that this was now an URGENT order as the suppliers had taken so long to get the sample to us.  We had to have the fabric by June 14 as the frock is to be worn on the 27th!  I'd emailed the customer the moment the sample landed and she came round that evening and said yes, so there was no dilatoryness on the customer's part!  Nor ours as we ordered the fabric the very next morning.

June 14 rolls round... No fabric.  No email.  Nothing...

We emailed them asking where our fabric was.  No reply,

We rang them (yes, in GERMANY!) and got told 'Number unobtainable'!


We emailed again, crossly.

The rang us.  One of the two fabrics was out of stock and not due in for another fortnight!  And just WHEN were they going to tell us? And why had they not sent out the other fabric?

Turns out that they have no mechanism in their system for splitting an order like that, and no mechanism for us to cancel part of the order.  We'd have to re-order the one they did have in stock, and cancel the whole of the first order.  And while the money would take several days to get back into our account, the money for the new order would go out right away!

Not only that, but they also told us we needed to RING THEM IN GERMANY to make sure any fabric we wanted was in stock.  Our flabber was well and truly gasted.

OK, the lass who rang was a bit grovely and apologetic, but -!!

Guess what?  We canceled the whole order.  They are on our Grey List: only to be ordered from in exstremis, and then only when we have plenty of lead time for the project.  They do lovely quality fabric, but their customer service sucks.

I found what LOOKED like the best bet for a replacement on Ebay and ordered the tulle from one supplier and the taffeta from another.  Tulle arrived safe and sound a day or so later, but taffeta man only had a short bit of the colour left.  He refunded the cash right away.

I took a look about to see if we could source the fabric elsewhere.  I found some with a nice supplier here in the UK, but sadly, though they were very quick and efficient, we had to take a gamble on the colour, and it was too blue.

Meanwhile taffeta man got back to me: he could get another bit and send it out over night.  It came the following day.  It was a bit pink, but I thought it would go with the shoes...  The customer came that evening and approved it, so phew!

After she had gone, I was refolding the taffeta and I noticed a stain...  EEEKKK!!!

The first meter of fabric was stained about half way across the width with what looks like sewing machine oil.  It's in blobs and drips...


Bugger!  No time to buy more, and we were already waiting for the German money to get back and out of pocket by another length of taffeta.

In order to get the skirt of the prom frock out of the good bits, I had to make the skirt two thirds of a circle rather than a whole circle, and cut in 4 panels rather than a single panel for the front and two for the back (to allow for center back opening).  Luckily the taffeta layer is UNDER three layers of net and tulle, with a lace bodice over the top of a taffeta covered foundation.

I sent taffeta man an email, asking what he was going to do about this.  I sent him the pictures of the damage before I cut it out.  I have yet to have a reply.  Feedback will be negative as I failed to get a grovelling apology.  he did email me a few days later saying that he had told me he'd sent 20" of extra fabric, but that if it was a problem, I could send it back and he'd send me a replacemnt perfect length...

At this point, words failed me utterly.  He HAD a perfect length IN STOCK, but had sent out a bit he knew was damaged??? WTF?

The lovely lilac prom frock taffeta layer was cut.  The bodice sections were sewn and applied to the outside of the thick mercerized cotton foundation layers with all its plastic bones...  Su serged the seam allowances on the skirts for me. I sat and calmly hand sewed the taffeta to the foundation up the corset tape up the back, and spend some moments playing with the button covering thingy and covered ten lovely buttons in lilac taffta!  I cut bias strips to bind the top and bottom of the foundation layer, and sewed those on.  I then hand finished the inside.  It was calming, soothing, and all thoughts of murdering people and nailing their hides to the sewing room door as a warning to others almost drifted away...

This is one of those times when you do the extra hand sewing for the sake of your own karma, not because the customer deserves it (though she is a total sweetie!).

ravenrigan made the lovely hair piece, and did all the gathering on the tulle and the taffeta.

And so it begins...

I got a bit fed up the other day, so yesterday I started work on the house stuff...

A bit of an armchair spending spree!Collapse )
I hadn't realized until I looked that so little of this has gone up on LJ.  Most of it has been on FB because that's where all the discussions have been.  So, here we go!

Nesta's Clothes!

White linen shift.

The brown cotehardie style under gown.  Bitter chocolate linen I dyed myself!  The button loops are hand worked, the eyelets done by machine.

The green over gown, again, linen dyed by me.  My lovely leather belt and pouch by Dave at Armrd.

The lovely brown and cream wool herringbone tweed coat, lined in dark brown linen.  This is based on a Viking coat.  Nesta does it up with a kilt pin, though there may be a plain penannular brooch in her future.

Chestnut waxed cotton rain cape with wooden toggles.  There should soon be a hood to go with it...

There is another shift, and a plum coloured cotehardie and purple over dress in the same style that I need to get pix of, and the shirt, trews and tunic.

Pictures taken in the churchyard: James was Christened here!  Built in 1140 something on Saxon foundations, with Roman Remains under those!  When it gets very cold, Nesta cheats and wears thermal undies, thick socks, hiking boots and both the coat AND the cape!  Kate then looks a bit like a pudding on wheels...  ;)

And now for the irritated post...

It's been one of those weeks.   But on Friday we finally managed to cut something out that has been hanging over us...

We wanted some nice wool for a customer, and finally found something that sounded excellent: Scotweb's Barathea in a very dark green.Price OK, colour OK, lovely fabric to work with.  So we ordered it...  And waited.  And on the day we were supposed to see it arrive, they let us know there wasn't as much as we'd ordered!  What should they do?

OK, we ask, how much is there?

We'll have to ask the warehouse.  That could take a couple of days...

Gentle grinding of teeth.  Please let us know ASAP, as this is getting urgent.

Next day they ring us back: 5.30m.  Ok, we say, give us an hour and we'll work out if that is enough.  We rapidly throw the bits onto 5.30m of calico ripped off the bolt to check the fit.  It goes on. Just.  And only because this style of doublet means there are lots of tiny bits that we can cram into spaces between the larger bits of things like the Venetians and the lower body and tab pieces...  Good.  Ring them back and tell them to send it out ASAP as this delay had made it an urgent matter.

It fails to arrive.  By this time we are into the snow, and half of England is either gridlocked or hibernating.  I email Scotweb to see when they sent our parcel out so I can find out from the carriers where it is and when to expect it.

Oh...  The warehouse hasn't sent it yet.  FIVE WHOLE DAYS AFTER THEY WERE TOLD THIS WAS URGENT?  Because of their delay?  Colour me unimpressed.  So they sent it out on FRIDAY by next day delivery - in the snow.  Saturday: no parcel.  Monday, no parcel...  But at least this time i had a delivery tracking number and could track it to see where it was: it had left the local depot, but was marked DELAY ON ROUTE.  I rang the depot.  The lovely lass was ever so good, and rang the driver.  He said between 3 and 4pm.  And was true to his word: it was here at a quarter to four.  The lass at the depot said that while the roads had been cleared, there were areas where 'things had happened' over the weekend, and they were putting a delayed note on all deliveries in the area just in case...  It just meant that until the driver was on the way to us from the last delivery, he couldn't tell exactly when he'd be there and it would be later than they usually hoped to get things out to our delivery point.

So by this time Su and I are deep into other folk's projects, and this one that we knew would be complex and would need more time had to be put back into the time shift area where we DIDN'T WANT IT because we wanted plenty of time to do miles of piping and work with complex shapes and odd bits and strange seams...

If you can hear a sort of crunchy sound, it'll be us grinding our teeth!  And today I am going to be catching up on stuff that SHOULD have been done before, had we had fabric when we planned to make the projects up...  Rather than having three things neatly lined up to do one after the other, we are doing three at once!  Farewell, weekend!

Dammit, we had fabric from INDIA and the USA come quicker than this!  For the same carriage fee we paid, we get stuff from Hainsworth, James Hare, and Henry Bertrand in under 24 hours!   Scotweb have gone on the same list as McCulloch and Wallis:  only if there is no-one else on the planet with this fabric.  I don't understand how they stay in business when there is so much really good stuff coming out of India, China, and wherever so much faster!  And with exemplary customer service, to boot.

Next week is pedal to the metal FTL sewing from morn 'til eve, from eve to dewy dusk - and beyond!  Don't expect to hear from me...

This is the cheerful post...

   ...And I am feeling slightly smug.

I have been bust Acquiring Stuff(TM) for Empire.  It is fun!

STUFF!Collapse )


Todays List Of Stuff To Do...

Mostly sewing.
  • Put 8 eyelets into my black bodice
  • Put 8 eyelets into my silver bodice
  • Make J's linen petticoat
  • Complete my black petticoat if possible
  • Complete making the panes for the slashed doublet body
  • Make slashed suit Venetians.

The black bodice is looking good, and we have a bunch of customer commissions nearing completion...  I have a set of collars and cuffs and we have a couple of chemises to complete for one person, plus eyelets to put in her petticoat waistband (jacket also, but the fabric for that hasn't arrived yet: this is what happens when you order hand embroidered fabric from India!).  Another person only needs hooks and eyes and then he is complete...  There's loads of other stuff we're busy working on, in various stages of completion.

The rest of this week contains Sewing Like The Wind and FTL Pattern Making!