Saturday, 7 November 2015

..... with winter on our heels.....

.... and cooler temperatures outside, we at Les Soeurs Anglaises think there's a lot to be said for staying indoors and catching up on some of the little sewing jobs that have been accumulating over the warmer months.  Inspired by the current work of two of our Weekend Workshop leaders for next year, Claire Wellesley Smith and Jessie Chorley, but also by the exquisite Japanese mending of Boro, we're working on our patching & darning skills using textiles. We've been trying our hands at repairing damaged knitted items, too, but more about that in our next newsletter!

A soft, old linen shirt patched and re-patched..

Favourite shirts, sweaters and vintage clothing that perhaps have seen better days, and are now in need of some tender loving care, become not only wearable once more, but also something to wear with pride and pleasure (and not a few compliments!). 

In Claire's fascinating book, Slow Stitch; Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art, she mentions that in the UK alone, ".... we send 1.2 million tonnes of textile waste, much of it good quality, to landfill or for incineration every year."  A staggering amount  by any standards.  If we wear clothes that we hope reflect our personalities then these much-cared for items say more about us than any throw-away garments from the likes of Walmart or Primark; ".......garment production that involves the cheapest and most flexible labour in some of the least regulated workplaces in the world".  If there is a common thread (excuse the pun) in our choice of workshop leaders, it is their celebration of, and respect for, heritage, memory and the hand-made.

Here are a few examples of rescued clothes that we love and that might otherwise have ended up in a land-fill site.

Compared to metal or stone, of  course the lifespan of textiles is much shorter, but with love and attention is it considerably longer than our consumerist zeitgeist would have us believe.  Personally, we prefer to hand stitch repairs, but sometimes the zigzag stitch on the sewing machine is just too tempting.

go to this 
fascinating blog to see how they darned in Medieval times

New Skirt made out of old fabric with a multitude of patches.            Hand-stitched Boro jacket

Elbow patch on a recently found shirt at our local brocante, bought for pennies and patched with other vintage offcuts.

Children used to be taught a myriad of beautiful  darning techniques - a stitching art in itself.  This darning sampler of 1814 is by Martha Woodnutt and was stitched at the famous Quaker Westtown School, Pennsylvania. It is worked in cotton on a linen/wool mix and is a perfect blend of painstaking needlework and practicality. 

5 Day / 6 Night Workshops  
Julie Arkell   Birds on a Table   1st  to 7th June      
Anna Kristina Goransson   Felted Form and Function  
  22nd to 28th June    
Fiona Rutherford  Tapestry Weaving   31st August to 6th Sept    
Celia Pym  
 Knitting, Mending and Darning    21st to 27th Sept   

Weekend Workshops
ASA TRICOSA  Knitting Masterclass  30th April / 1st May 
CLAIRE WELLESLEY SMITH  Dyeing and Stitching   7th / 8th October

Book a place now

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