If you already know me, whether personally or virtually, the following may still come as a surprise….
I know it’s a cliché to say so nowadays, (you see how ‘passionate’ every haulage company is emblazoned on the side of their lorries, (!) and of course we shouldn’t forget that they are ‘logistics’ companies now…), but I am passionate about what I do, and I am the kind of person that couldn’t do what I do if I wasn’t….well, I guess I could, but it would be uninspired and therefore, not half as good!
I am a bit choosy about the jobs I take on, as I have to feel some kind of affinity with the design idea and the fabric choices. Any design for any garment, whether it’s a wedding dress or a tweed outfit ( and yes, I do both!), needs both of these elements to be right, together with the skill of the making, to produce something really impressive. My ideal customer is someone who has a bit of an open mind to suggestions, because very often people don’t know what’s available, or even possible, when it comes to fabrics and how they can be used for a specific design.
So, here’s an example of the kind of job that doesn’t go very far with me:
A lady phoned my yesterday, describing exactly what she wanted in precise detail, and asking what kind of estimate I could give for such a dress. The only other things she asked were whether I could do it in the time available (fair enough question), and as I mentioned, how much… Put on the spot like that I’m likely to over estimate, as I used to do the opposite, and regretted it so many times. But this was an example of someone wanting something very proscribed, without knowing of any other options, and ONLY wanting to buy on price.
I got the impression that she simply couldn’t find what she wanted after popping up to the high street, and happened to see my name somewhere. That’s also fair enough, but I’m not here to produce something in a couple of weeks and say ‘there you go, that'll be £200, please!”. That’s not what I do, as I see no joy in that. No joy for the client OR me, so what’s the point? Its a bit like ‘how many cherries can I buy for 50p?’. So I suggested a couple of shops that she may not have tried, and wished her luck.
I do what I do partly to pay my bills of course, but there must be job satisfaction which includes some creative input, and pride in a good design with beautiful fabric. I’m not cheap, but then my skills have been in development from about the age of 10 - that’s when I made my first garment! (A square of pink polka dot cotton fabric described as a 'blouse' by my teacher :-/)
My skills development then continued through home experimentation as a teenager, a degree in Fashion and Textiles in my twenties, and then much of my own research in the V & A Museum's (London) library and stores, the Fashion & Textile Museum's (London) stores, Fashion Institute of Technology (New York) Museum's website, Tomoko Nakamichi's (Bunka School, Tokyo) Pattern Magic methods and my own extension and developments of those, and study of my own vintage pattern cutting books, plus a huge love of designers Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen….all shape changers, ‘architects’ and revolutionaries in fashion.
Anyway, I’ll be telling you other interesting bits of this and that concerning ‘Bobbie Corps’ (as my lovely husband calls my business!!), over the coming weeks and months… My pattern cutting students who come here to the studio for classes are a really interesting bunch too, and I’ll be telling you a little bit about them (no names mentioned of course!) and their achievements very soon.
Here’s the page on my website where you can see details of pattern cutting and fashion sewing classes and courses in my home studio.
P.S. If the above resonates with you, and If you need something ’staggeringly, staggeringly gorgeous’ (as a hopefully future customer and admirable lady recently called my work), please stay tuned, and either reply here as if this was just an ordinary email, or please go to the contact page of my website, or have a general look round the website and let me know if it works for you i.e. was it pleasing to look at, and could you find what you wanted easily? All feedback always welcome! There’s also a ‘Contact me’ box on the homepage, and my phone number, writ large! Thanks, and speak soon! Bobbie