Looms, Blooms and Bees.

 Wandering around my local haberdashery, one of the few remaining places on the high-street that stocks yarn,
I noticed an invitation to enter this year’s  ”Great British Sewing Bee”.
I wonder who this year’s winner will be ?
Apparently Ann, who won it last year is something of a marvel to behold. For the final they had to make a luxury evening dress, made to measure, in 8 hours. That’s some skill. The 81 year old grandmother who’d been sewing almost everyday for 75 years said about her winning title,
 ”It’s a relief to think all of these years I’ve been doing something right”
Winner of last year's Great British Sewing Bee, Ann Rowley
Winner of last year’s Great British Sewing Bee, Ann Rowley

I appreciate well tailored clothes, I have dabbled in making my own items, here and there. Could it be some of the success in home sewing comes down to the right needle?

A conversation that started at the counter in C&H fabrics reminds me to read my instruction manual; to check I’m using the correct foot on my machine for jersey or stretch fabrics.
I’ve been cutting shapes in cotton jersey for summer headwraps, the silhouette for this summer is rather 50’s inspired, with a pair of cigarette pants or retro inspired dress, I could achieve a  fresh and flirty style perfect for the season. I’ve been browsing, this is a lovely printed sleeveless dress, in organic jersey cotton, by Orla Kiely, a delight.
Orla Keily Flower Girls Sleeveless Dress, 2014
Orla Keily Flower Girls Sleeveless Dress, 2014
 My latest headwrap design is shaping up well, with added charm in the form of a hand crochet floral gerbera. It’s statement-making and sustainable, (using reclaimed jersey fabric) and would be comfortable to wear along the Brighton promenade, maybe with some artsy loafers.
Summer reclaimed jersey cotton headwrap, with hand crochet gerbera flower in Bamboo yarn. Fiona Szabo 2014
Summer reclaimed jersey cotton headwrap, with hand crochet gerbera flower in Bamboo yarn. Fiona Szabo 2014
More fabulous retro shapes and gorgeous mixed patterns are a highlight for Stella Jean, her 2014 spring fabrics  were sourced prints,  handcrafted from women living in villages in Burkina Faso. She has worked with the International Trade Centre to enagage and  promote the work of many women – making a strong ethical point, not usually seen at Milan Fashion Week
Talented women, weaving at hand looms behind the scenes on the Stella Jean 2014 collection, Burkina Faso
Talented women, weaving at hand looms behind the scenes on the Stella Jean 2014 collection, Burkina Faso
Stella Jean, Milan 2014
Stella Jean, Milan 2014
 On the way back, I picked up a tub of seeds, to make a bee attracting flower garden, the summer daisies will soon be on their way.

Bagsying Unicorns, Made in March Visions.

I have been feeling that I don’t have the bag that expresses the designer in me, It’s been a mild concern of mine just recently. I have been considering making a bag. Will such a bag be ultra utilitarian and stylishly robust?

The making of the bag hasn’t happened yet, it’s still in the early visioning stages.

At Space Place Repair Cafe in Brighton, Sarah just happened to whip out a great DIY, bag making book; ‘Handprint and make your own bags’ it’s by Jenny McCabe.
The book is full of inspired printing and bag making ideas. I’m not sure where I will go next with my bag making thoughts. This book helped to fire up my thinking on the subject.

This is close to what I am feeling; the wool outer and contrast vintage look inner, with a modern bright zipper.
Etsy uncovered this, just one of many places that supports all sorts of makers.


Whilst still in an inquisitive mood, I’m thinking about Spring/Summer and headgear, so I’ve started a new project. I like to wear a hat. Soon, I plan to play around with wearing a headband or ‘turbanator’ and designing one in reclaimed jersey fabric. These ideas are well formed. So look out for my top notch reclaimed t-shirt fabric, the stylish turbanator !

To head the master vision making along the right path….By Gina Marinelli, silver unicorn headband.

Lyly Bye, Diary of Dark Lolita, blogspot.from blog of adriftingpenny

Circular and Crafty.

Large textile doorstop from www.thethirddrawerdown.com

I have been enchanted by some recycled fabric concepts this week, having noticed these textile ‘ball’ ideas, which mirror some of my own wrapping and coiling approaches to making.

The recent issue of Selvedge magazine highlighted something very novel from www.thirddrawerdown.com, who distribute these bold scrap fabric doorstops.


The theme of incorporating wrapped fabric into balls, this time using sari’s was a feature in a recent post from the Upcyclist.  An Istanbul design firm have created a family of furniture, with upholstery made from balls of recycled Nepalese yarn.


Marking Connections at the Kollektiv.

Recently I spent an inspired evening at the Kollektiv Gallery with some of Brighton’s artists and makers. Fulled with homemade seasonal pies and fruity wine, thanks to Moyra Scott, we chattted and shared thoughts on where we go to connect to our creative flow.  The gallery backdrop helped to move our thinking outwards as our busy hands connected to our project work, art journalling and expressive bauble making.

Art Gathering.

Gallery founder Sophie Giblin kept us well looked after; merrily discussing working processes and sharing her own creative insights around bringing the gallery together.  I purchased a giclee print by a local artist/illustrator Patrick R Allan and began to have clearer thoughts about my new collection and making destinations that I would like return to, further mapped out by easy conversation with creatives.

Asking questions about connections and working spaces;  what helps artists to develop and grow, within a mixed group of practitioner’s was useful.  I left feeling evermore curious to see how enterprise helps artists, makers and designers become professionally independent. Being a self-made me, the person who does things her way, I could really appreciate the wonder and brilliance in a concept like the Kollektiv Gallery.

Kollectiv Gallery

Turban Top Knot.


Fancy, this one was spotted on a blog somewhere this week, designed for Vogue, it looks great in a heavy weight knit, the roll-top look reminds me of a flouncy forelock, blowing in the Autumn breeze.

I’ve tried out a few twists this week; with the disassembling of a silk tie re-made into a luxe, wool-backed scarf, to be worn in whatever way you please….I like to wear mine neat and tucked in, close to the skin.

I’m currently unraveling the ends of some para cord (non traditional material) to see how it works along side my twisted silk strands, ready for a new piece.


Happy makings, 


Too big for an eye patch?

 I completed a fascinator, I’d like to perch wearing it on the arm of a plush little red velvet Deco sofa, thinking about red sofa’s makes me think of the red plastic one at the back of the Caroline of Brunswick pub. You could wear the fascinator there too, with the six eyes of Cerberus on bloodied stalks….

This  making of the new item has gently been in germination for some time, like all good things, silently taking shape, under the whispers of a new moon it emerged, how did this happen?  Was it the cupboard elves? well no, it was a fairly solid bout of three hours craft time by my nifty fingers,

I read elsewhere, here and there, that Ascot has tightened up the code for ladies head-gear*, are we no longer quite so fascinated by fascinator’s in certain circles then?

You don’t mind if I tickle your nostrils with just one more?  This one is very party friendly, made in cotton and super kid mohair (Debbi Bliss) with a hint of silk in there too. It’s oval in shape and incorporates a reclaimed diamante centre piece that sits atop hints of  silver Lurex, in a gossamer winged hornet fashion.

*announcing that women will have to wear hats, not fascinators, as part of a tightening of the dress code in Royal Ascot’s Royal Enclosure. In previous years female race goers were simply advised that “many ladies wear hats.”