Honiton lace making photographed by Matt Austin.

Lacemaking has a significant place in our Well Fashioned hearts. My homes, old and new, are both rooted in UK lacemaking history. Nottingham is the lace making capital of the UK, its industry pre-dates the arrival of the Normans, with its own lace market area dating back to the middle ages. Devon, my new home, is the birthplace of Honiton lace, a type of bobbin lace mostly depicting natural objects such as flowers or leaves. Coincidence? Probably, but what a Well Fashioned perk!

The culture of this industry in the UK is definitely one to celebrate, and thus Lacemaking Day was born! On the 9th September, events around the UK are being held for national Lacemaking Day. Here are a few of my favourites that you could visit if you wanted to learn more about this historic trade, and even have a go at some lacemaking yourself.

Debbie Bryan, Nottingham

  • A talk on how the Heart of Heritage has and still inspires the Debbie Bryan Lace Archive as well as a demonstration of lace blueprinting and (as long as the sun is shining) an opportunity to create one yourself.

The Museum of English Rural Life, Reading

  • Learn more about the MERL’s lace-making collections, hear from experts in the field and enjoy demonstrations from the North Downs Lace-makers.

Inspired by Machinery Lace Exhibition, Redditch

  • Starting on the 8th September this exhibition runsuntil the 22nd October, the exhibitions displays a wide variety of lace inspired by everything from lighthouses to sewing machines.

MoleValley Lacemakers Demonstration & Exhibition, Great Bookham

  • Members will demonstrate how they make their lace and encourage the public to give it a go using both English and European lacemaking techniques

‘Inspired Lacemakers’ Demonstration, Cromford

  • The ‘Inspired Lacemakers’ will be demonstrating the bobbin lace technique over the weekend, why not drop in and give it a go?

Lace in Fashion Exhibition, Bath

  • If you aren’t free on the 9th September it doesn’t have to stop you from learning more about the industry as The Fashion Museum in Bath is displaying a beautiful lace exhibition until the 1st January 2018

Follow the Lace Society on Facebook to keep an eye out for other events!

Honiton lace making photographed by Matt Austin

Well Fashioned Credits: These wonderful lacemaking photos showing Honiton lace making are by Matt Austin, a freelancer photographer based in the South West. You can see more of Matt’s work at https://mattaustinimages.co.uk.

Heritage Open Days

It’s nearly back to school time and that awkward phase of the year when summer is ending but the leaves are yet to turn brown and I can’t even fathom the idea of mulled wine.  Let’s all face it, we can all get hit with the post-summer blues.

Heritage Open Days have timed their festival of history and culture just perfectly to pull me out of the fading-tan, pimms put to the back of the cupboard, mood. Every year for four days in September, places around Britain throw open their doors to celebrate British heritage and culture across approximately 5000 events, and what’s more, they are all free!

For Well Fashioned wearers, makers and followers this year the festival has ticked a lot of boxes. Here is a round-up of some of the best Well Fashioned Heritage Open Days, held 7-10 September – all focused on the things we love – lace, textiles, jewellery and amazing factory tours.

Here’s my Top Ten Heritage Open Days I wish I could go to:

South East

9th: Jeremy France Jewellers, tour of factory and traditional jewellery methods

9th: Museum of English Rural Life celebrate National Lace making day.

9th: MoleValley Lacemakers Demonstration & Exhibition

9th-10th: Vintage Make Do & Mend

South West:

8th: Dents Museum & Factory tours and demonstrations

East of England

7th-10th: The Maeldune Heritage Centre, home to Maldon Embroidery

8th & 9th: Warner Textile Archive

8th: Fashion through the decades

East Midlands:

7th: Unique Cottage Studios Fibre Art Group demonstrate heritage textile techniques

7th-10th: Talk – Nick Povey from Nottingham’s Fewkes Lace Factory

7th-9th: Exhibition of Scrap Happy Quilters’ new works

9th: G.H. Hurt & Son Ltd,: The Shawl Factory

9th: Northamptonshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers

9th-10th: ‘Inspired Lacemakers’ demonstrating bobbin lace

West Midlands:

9th: Costumed guided tour of Smith and Pepper jewellery factory

10th: Newman Brothers at the Coffin Works, tour of a historic Jewellery Quarter factory

North West:

7th-10th: The Leather Satchel Co. Story & demonstrations

9th: Guided tour of Standfast & Barracks textile factory

Yorkshire:

8th: Talk – The history of Carmichael and Sons, renowned jewellers.

If you want to search for more events from the Heritage Open Day festival click here. Happy visiting and discovering, and please share you experiences of Well Fashioned events with us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

David Nieper swimdress

I’m often seen squeezing myself into a swimsuit that is unfortunately too small – being tall and long in the body has its disadvantages. To be honest, I’m beyond caring – as I firmly believe that the best way to get a bikini body – is just put one on. Not sure who said that, but thanks, I agree.

But, having said that, I do miss the glamour and comfort of a beautifully-made swimsuit. The kind you can actually swim in, the kind that fits and the very elusive kind that gives you confidence if you ever get the chance to lounge around the pool on a hot summer day. In my case, it’s the quick run into the outdoor lido.

So eye spy David Nieper and this luxury swimdress. I’m a big lover of swimdresses but they are so difficult to get right. If the skirt part is too long, swimming is impossible and sometimes the ‘retro’ look is hard to get right. From limited sewing knowledge i.e. watching the Great British Sewing Bee, sewing swimwear is a difficult job and only experienced seamstresses can cope with the stretchy material. View Full Post

Pure London is an annual trade show, in which over 800 exhibitors display their finest collections. Some visitors include buyers from the likes of Asos and Harrods, others are just like me, searching for brilliant brands to fall in love with. And how Pure London delivered! Brands originated from across the globe, from fine Italian jewellery to wild African prints. Yet I was on the hunt for the best Well Fashioned, made in the UK or sustainable, brands. Here are a few of my Well Fashioned highlights of Pure London…

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Here is my first Well Fashioned Friday Find, where every Friday I will highlight and celebrate one of my favourite brands featured in the Well Fashioned directories!

We are all susceptible to a bad-fashion day at work, whether there wasn’t enough time to wash our favourite top or perhaps our hair is doing that weird-sticky-up thing.  But who cares as long as you feel good.

And, we all deserve comfort as well as style, to look and feel great at work… and this leads me to my first Friday Find…PolkaPants.

PolkaPants have noticed that unlike many of us, female chefs are saddled with the choice of loose fitting, unflattering trousers aimed at a unisex market and therefore don’t often get the opportunity to feel stylish or comfortable at work.

But no more.  PolkaPants have created tailored and stylish alternatives to the usual baggy options. Some designs are bold, including their signature polka dot print, adding a unique flare to a chef’s uniform whilst others are simple to ensure that they are suitable for any establishment.  The designs are high waisted, slim fitting and cropped at the ankle, keeping style but, above all, comfort in mind. What’s more…PolkaPants are made in London!

My question, do I need to be a chef to wear them?  If so, I’m re-training 🙂

Find out more about PolkaPants here

 

To find more Well Fashioned womenswear and accessories, visit our Well Fashioned directories: Made in Britain & UK fashion and Made in Ireland & Wearing Irish