Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Another blog about Whitby...

Another blog about Whitby, but it’s been my primary stimulus for the last few weeks. I’ve been somewhat cut off from the general goings on of Silver Lining as I put every spare minute into getting the Bride and Gloom stall together… with the help of everyone else of course.

Rachel has been immersing herself in Silver Lining and ensuring the work carries on there. Bless her, I know she wants to get all dark and dramatic but she has you guys to think of. At least she has Amy, Denny and Tracy to help her, and it doesn’t stop her wielding her creative genius and delegating tasks to her specification.

We’ve all been devoting some of our time to Bride and Gloom. The last couple of weeks have seen us all with split personalities; by day serene (ahem) seamstresses devoted to Silver Lining Sewing rooms, by night demons (literally) in the work room feverishly preparing for our stall at Whitby Halloween festival.

Tracy creating a brand new range called ‘Kafuffles’. They are absolutely awesome collar/truffle/shrug inventions; each one totally original and drool inducing.

This picture really doesn't do them justice!

Paul, now known as ‘Designer of Doom’ has been busy showing his artistic skills in creating awesome designs for shirts and corsets among other things. Just check out this zombie hand… I need one of those in my life!

And I have been ritualistically burning my fingers on a daily basis to create the most gothic rainbow of hair accessories you have ever seen.

This is just a glimpse of what we have been working towards. It’s close now, just 9 days until we make the journey to Whitby and our stall in the leisure centre.

If you are planning to be in Whitby over Halloween, please come and say hello.
Follow the picture link below to download the program of events for the weekend; there are bands galore, in the main Spa event but also in other venues around town. There are burlesque and comedy performances, masked balls and fancy dress, classic bike and car shows, club nights and of course the massive gothic markets that we are taking part in.

For Silver Lining Sewing Rooms it means a week off the radar. The shop will close its doors on Saturday 24th October and open them again Tuesday the 3rd of November.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Artisan screen printed ties

We search high and low.

We scour the Earth and leave no stone unturned.

We travel far and wide and rummage around in the four corners of the globe.

… all to bring you the best, most interesting, hand made accessories that would compliment our creations and add that extra little something to your affair.

Of course when I say this I mean that we spend our breaks sat on our arses, cup of coffee in one hand and mouse in the other, jumping the world in a series of clicks.

On such an excursion I found myself in Detroit hanging out with Bethany Shorb in her beautiful tie lab. I was instantly sold and knew that her exquisite, original art, hand screen printed ties would be perfect for you guys.

Her designs range from classic and elegant to dark and dramatic. She has a massive catalogue of artwork and the range of ties and scarves is immense. It was stressful whittling down the choice to present to you. You have no idea how hard it was to first select artwork, then tie fabrics, fabric colours and ink colours but whittle away we did and I’m bowled over by our choices.

Aren’t they beautiful? I can’t wait to see your reactions when we offer them up for sale at the Whitby Gothic Weekend.

When I found this artist online I knew instantly that I wanted to get my hands on some of her work, and I know you will too. All we need now is for you guys to come see us at the Leisure Centre (30th and 31st October and 1st November) and fall in love with her designs as well... then I can go through the whole agonizing process of ordering some more! Trauma!

Friday, 2 October 2009

How did you get in my life?

Our sewing room is never dull. Get a group of girls together and the giggles follow and with it our own vocabulary and the evolution of ‘Phrase of the Week’.

This week Amy was fighting a losing battle with a particularly persistent piece of thread. It followed her everywhere and no matter how many times she thought she’d got rid of it she found it stuck to her in some new ingenious way... to which she was compelled to ask it:

How did you get in my life?’

Well that was it; from then on any slightly irksome incident was greeted with our new phrase of the week - ‘How did you get in my life?’, which is fine when you’re asking the spider that’s crawling over the table or the piece of double sided sticky tape that you’ve found stuck to your elbow... not so well received when you get carried away and ask your husband... oops! Thankfully he laughed - he knows what we’re like.

It’s not all laughs at Silver Lining though. It’s been a sad week. Kim has gone back to uni and we already miss her. We’ve started a countdown until she returns at Christmas...

These rambling make is sound like we don’t do much but sit around laughing and lamenting the absence of our friend. I assure you we’re hard at work ALL the time... see, even after a long day at work we sit around the table to sew patches onto leather jackets, which is actually quite hard! (This is where the spider and sticky tape came in...yikes! That sounds like the spider met a sticky end, but I assure you he is still alive and well).

I bent my big sturdy needle and Rachel wore a hole in her nail pushing the needle into the leather and Tracy got cramp in her thumb trying to grip the pull the needles through the tough leather. I can totally understand why leather and not satin is the choice for bikers... now there’s an image!

Thursday, 24 September 2009


We've been working furiously all week. Not only on the essentials of running a business, but also on the nice parts of working in a creative industry. At the end of October we will be wending our way across the country to play with the Gothic community at Halloween.

Once again we will be promoting the darker side of Silver Lining Sewing Rooms... Bride and Gloom, and showing off our dramatic and extravagant gothic wedding dresses. One of the new items on our stall this time will be our sashes, and boy have we had our tongues tied over this one!

I can only guess that we were thinking about dinner when we named these stunning adornments, but since the first cut of the fabric of the very first incarnations of these creations we have all been tripping over the letters in this seemingly simple word… sash and spurting out all manner of adaptations with Sashages being the only version able to leave our lips with any frequency!

I’m not quite sure that Sashages is the best description of these beautiful embellishments but it definitely makes us all smile and so it’s likely to stick. Try not to think meaty product prepared by a butcher and think more of sumptuous silk, taffeta or satin sash crafted by bewitching seamstresses in a plethora of dazzling colours.

I just love the way these Sashages hang and can transform any outfit into the most amazing and elegant affair.

There are several sizes to choose from; delicate and dainty to all out brazen bustle.

Originally designed to decorate some bridesmaid dresses and adapted to be worn over corsets these additions to your wardrobe can be worn with anything. Wear them around your waist or hips, or just under your bust to create an empire line… and if you absolutely must around your head in a Rambo styli as Rachel insisted on modelling for us (and I actually have to admit that it didn’t look half bad :))

Don’t tell Rachel, but I already have my eye on several fabrics to make a whole rainbow of Sashages for myself.

Friday, 18 September 2009

We love you gals but...

We're shutting the shop for a week. We are all of us spent.

After tomorrow we are not open again until the 29th of September... do not worry, the answer phone will be on to pick up any messages and you are always able to contact Rachel by email.

But don't you fret. We are not (all) on holiday. We're just taking the time to catch our breath.
We are going to take this opportunity to get ahead a little bit. We will be filling our time chasing up slow deliveries, sorting out the botched/incomplete haberdashery orders and taking a real stock check. These are the things that take our time away from actually sewing yet are catasrophies in their own right if left unchecked.

We would also like to use this week to break the back on some of the larger jobs we have coming up. Importantly we want to get back to the position of having our work completed 2/3 weeks before it's required... a luxury that has slowly been vanishing as we squeeze more and more clients in and one that we're unlikely to claw back in a week.

I am beginning to learn that Rachel isn't physically able to say no to anyone; no matter how late in the day a request or how big the task!
Even if she knows the only way to get the fabric in time is to send one of her ladies on a 2 hour round trip to a shop in another town, even if it means buying 6 belts to get the right buckles because there was an error with the delivery, even if it means staying up till 4am beading, Rachel will move heaven and earth to do it.

We're not complaining. I think it's fantastic that Silver Lining Sewing Rooms are so busy, but we're all looking forward to a week where we can just get our heads down and crack on.

Friday, 11 September 2009

What about the 7 deadly sins?

That’s the first thing people have asked me after reading the previous blog – and I am kicking myself over how I could have missed that.

You hear stories about bridezillas that want the moon on a stick and wreak havoc if they don’t get what they want and it’s easy to see how the 7 deadly sins apply in those cases, but we haven’t had experience of that.

It’s only natural that a bride-to-be will be filled with ideas and enthusiastic about what their wedding will become, and true, we have seen tears… but these have been from a mother gazing at her beautiful grown up daughter or a bride-to-be smiling on her adorable flower girl. And that’s the way it should be.

More often than not the studio is filled with laughter as the wedding party try on their garments, and none more so than Lesli and Jane:

(Sorry for the poor picture quality!)

Now if I ever were to venture out from the sewing room into the studio it would have been for them. The laughter that filtered through into the workroom was infectious and more often than not I felt like I was missing out on something. Every step of designing and making their bridesmaids dresses was a delight.

Thanks ladies

Sunday, 6 September 2009

And then there were 7

Seven is an important number:
- There are 7 spots on a ladybird
- There are 7 days in the week
- There are 7 wonders in the ancient world
- There are Seven Heavenly Sisters in Greek Mythology
- And there are the 7 days of creation

And now there are 7 ladies looking after you at Silver Lining Sewing Rooms:

Rachel – Owner, designer and top dog seamstress. Degree qualified with 7 years (there it is again) time served specialising in weddings. Just loves to zone out with some heavy beading and I’ve not yet found something Rachel can’t do!

Tracy – Time served seamstress and silversmith. Highly organised and super efficient – unless someone’s ’borrowed’ her scissors or tape measure; then she’s like a lost child.

Marcail – Degree qualified with a keen eye for detail and an unhealthy obsession for beautiful fabrics. Marcail will most likely be the one helping you into your dress on a Saturday.

Denny – Time served seamstress. She’s a little beaver in the workroom.

Kim – Currently studying for her degree. Kim’s another little trooper and is keeping us in fits of giggles with her university twang, like ‘it’s too orangey for you’… what?

Amy – The latest Silver Lining recruit; Amy is doing fashion and textiles at college and is very quickly shaping up to be a talented addition to the team.

Charlotte – that’s me. I’m here in front of the computer, or there in front of the sewing machine, but it’s extremely rare that you’ll meet me because I’m a bit pin happy… which doesn’t go down well when you’re getting people into dresses.

We might look like a motley crew but we’re a well oiled machine. What we lack in conformity we make up for in creativity and that is what you need to make your occasion special.

So, 7 sounds like a good number to me! Hopefully, with such numerical associations, we can’t help but succeed in making you all look and feel spectacular.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Nearly a year since Silver Lining Sewing Rooms began!

The last blog post was quite an epic, and quite some time ago now. Thinking back over the intervening months I can make a list a mile long of all the changes that have been made, all the people we have met and events we have helped them get ready for.

One of the changes has been that Rachel has delegated the upkeep of the Silver Lining Sewing Rooms blog to me, Charlotte. It’s now my job to keep you all informed of what’s going on for us at Silver Lining; share with you the joys of helping brides prepare for their fairytale weddings, letting you know of any exciting new lines or collaborations with artists to make the perfect accessories or ensembles; helping you get to know a little bit about us and how we work and what to expect when you come here and to let you know of a few practicalities like changes to opening times etc.

Where to start? So much has happened.

The one man band that started at the end of September last year has blossomed into a 6 woman team; Rachel being the first to marvel at quite how that’s happened and how, even with all these extra hands we’re all still putting in extra long days to get everything done. At times we can be right up to the bone with the deadlines but none of us are shy of staying till midnight on Friday if that is what is needed to make everything perfect.

This last week has been manic as August bank holiday is the most popular weekend of the year to get married. Our diary has been chocka, the phone has been off the hook and I’m sure there was smoke rising from the sewing machines with all the activity.

Looking at the diary this week the picture is much the same, but don’t let that put you off, the shop opening times can be found on the right along with our contact details. If you have a general enquiry your best option is probably to email Rachel or you can leave a message here and I’ll make sure to get back to you A.S.A.P. If you want to discuss the possibilities or any ideas you might have I advise you to book yourself a free consultation with Rachel.
I'll keep it short and sweet for now, but be sure... I will be back in the next few days!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

it's about time...

Talk about feast or famine! I have been so busy I just haven’t had space to write my blog for ages........and now here’s a really long one. Well loads has happened so there’s lots to tell.

Since opening in October last year, Silver Lining Sewing Rooms has gone from strength to strength. I have been busier in the first seven months of trading than I could ever have imagined. It has been a wonderful and exciting rollercoaster ride. I have met so many lovely people and had the pleasure of working with them to make them feel great for their special day . I have carried out dozens and dozens of alterations from minor adjustments through to complete redesigning and reworking of gowns. I’ve had a great time designing and creating wedding gowns, bridesmaids, formal dresses, a wedding coat (of which I’m particularly proud), as well as numerous smaller but no less important garments.

Having listened to my valued customers’ needs and after running myself ragged trying to be in two places at once, I’m changing my opening hours. The shop will be open from 11 until 7 Tuesday to Friday, and Saturdays from 9 to 5. Many of you need to come for fittings in the evening, after your day’s work, or on a Saturday. This move means that I will have Mondays and early mornings to work without the interruption of drop-in customers or the demands of the telephone. Whilst I love being in the shop and discussing all your exciting ideas and fitting your garments to you, I really need this protected space to do the more detailed and intricate work of beading, etc., which demands all of my attention.

Silver Lining Sewing Rooms has seen other changes too, as I have taken on and experienced seamstress to help me keep on top of my workload. Her skill and ability are proving invaluable to me, freeing me up to concentrate on designing, cutting and all the intricate detailed work.

Another exciting development is working in collaboration with a local artist and seamstress. One strand of her work is hand making pieces in fine silver which are embellished with pearls and other semi-precious beads to create bridal jewellery, bridesmaids’ gifts and other pieces that may just take your fancy. The other aspect of her work is creating beautiful wedding and evening bags and wraps and stoles for your wedding or evening function. These she creates from luxurious fabrics, often ruffled with taffeta, tulle or silk organza. We have lovingly named these “truffles”. The range develops continually. Here is where the collaboration comes in... she can make any of her creations in the fabric of the bridal gown or prom dress to complete that extra special outfit. She works under her own label: Dreams in Indigo, but exclusively for Silver Lining Sewing Rooms. (Go to the link to learn the inspiration behind the label and to see some examples of her work.)

Just this week I have taken on someone to assist in the shop on Saturdays. She will be there to greet you, help you into your dress and help you browse through all the new lines available through Silver Lining Sewing Rooms. This will free me to give more time to the actual fitting of your gown and listening to your needs and wishes.

And as if all that isn’t enough, I have been designing and developing a whole collection of unusual and alternative wedding gowns and embroidered, beaded and embellished corsets for showing and selling at the Whitby Goth Weekend at the end of this month. These are made in deep, vibrant colours... dark teal, embellished with tulle and organza, rich amethyst with black pearls, and how about black satin, smothered in rich bright red poppies, each with a mass of black seed beads at its centre. Each wedding gown has bridesmaids, a wrap or bolero, bags, ties and cravats galore! All of these can be recreated in your colours, with masses of choice of decoration and themes. I am particularly delighted with the wide selection in both size and adornment of my range of black satin, sprung steel boned corsets. I have spent hours working on these and am getting rather excited about the forthcoming event. So, from 24th to 28th of this month you will find me in the leisure centre bazarre at Whitby. (Photo’s coming after Whitby so watch this space)

Both collections are available to view and to buy from Silver Lining Sewing Rooms from 1st May. Of course I am still giving lots of attention, time and energy to all the white, ivory, gold, cream and natural shades of a more traditional wedding.

I look forward to seeing you soon at Silver Lining Sewing Rooms. Just give me a call to make an appointment, and then I can be free to give you all of my attention.