A Little Break – research and contemplation.

After finally finishing the 3 garment study blogs for the Textile Archive exercise I felt I needed a day of Pritt and scissors. I’m always ripping articles and interviews out of magazines, some because I just like them and some because there is a link, sometimes very tenuous to what ever project I am working on at the time. 

My three textile items were selected because of the textures created by the use of embroidery and smocking and the clear signs of wear & tear and examples of repair work. 

When I saw this article with a project to create a shirt decorated with rufffles and lettering I was immediately drawn to it. The colours are perfect and the rough edged ruffles reminded me strongly of the fraying around the holes and rips on the 3 pieces.

I made these 2 collages using extracts and pictures from Ruth Roe’s article and photographs of the fraying on the dustercoat and the back of the smocking on the smock coat. 

It is very frustrating that my workroom is so packed I can’t even fight a path through to my sewing machine to have a go at making some ruffles and to write some text using Ruth’s instructions for free-motion stitching.


No repair work had been done on the dustercoat but both the smocks had small darning patches and this bought to mind an article I read by Celia Pym and Richard Wingate about a project they were involved in called Parallel Practices. 

They had come up with the crazy idea of Celia setting up a sewing station in a Dissecting Room being used by medical students where she would sit and repair clothes bought in by the students. The article talks about how this highlighted previously unacknowledged similarities between the too seemingly different practises of repairing and dissecting. My favourite quote was from one of the students who told Celia that she pieces together the signs of wear on the body she is dissecting, like clues and evidence; she puts the story of the person together. This resinated with the purpose of my visit to view old textiles and how from the signs of wear and tear I was also seeking clues as to the life and the story of the garment.

Celia’s darning is wonderfully artistic and I have collaged her pictures with ones of the darning I had photographed whilst in Ludlow.


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