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Busy Little Sew and Sew

March 16, 2010

While the business ticks along nicely and the boys get bigger, louder and more boisterous, I’ve even managed to find a little bit of time to reignite my old passion for dressmaking.

Well, what else is a ‘retro glamorous photographer about town’ supposed to sport when original, wearable dresses from the 40s, 50s and 60s get thinner and thinner on the ground?

It was never a problem as a young teenager, when the charity shops in Hartlepool were full of full skirts, frocks with nipped waists and the odd bit of 1940’s Utility Wear (which are now so precious I’ve wrapped them up in archival tissue paper and stored them in the loft). These days, the option of running stuff up from vintage patterns in the fabric I want and  in my exact size is just too appealing.

Seedheads fabric by Angie Lewin

I love this Seedheads fabric designed by Angie Lewin and available from St Judes

There’s a huge crafting and sewing movement in the States at the moment, with ordinary sewists writing some really inspiring blogs (My particular favourite is Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing) and a plethora of independent pattern companies springing up, such as Colette Patterns – not to mention all the fabulous handmade stuff for sale on Etsy.

I’ve recently made a couple of 60s inspired tunic dresses which are great to fling on when I’m in a rush in the morning – and I’m waiting for to find a spare moment to start on a some gorgeous vintage Vogue patterns. The huge fabric stash which I acquired in only two swoops on Giesse Scampoli in Birmingham (sadly recently closed down) isn’t going to turn itself into pretty frocks without my help.

60s inspired tunic dress made by Rachel Spivey

My 60s inspired tunic dress and a selection of my next projects

Hopefully I’ll get more items made before things get crazy busy in the summer. Apart from a handful of dates I’m looking at packed schedule of weddings every weekend from June through to September and the diary is already filling up for 2011.

And there’s plenty happening on the burlesque front too.

Next month I have sessions booked with the fabulous performer Starla Haze and newcomer Veronica Kupcake – plus Darkteaser has confirmed that she will be bringing the Garter Lounge to a fantastic new venue at the end of the summer, so there’ll be lots of work doing promo shoots with some of the big names she has penciled in to perform.

Burlesque performer Starla Haze photographed by Rachel Spivey

Golden girl Starla Haze on stage at the Garter Lounge last July

I’ve also been asked by Vintage Life Magazine to be a regular contributor, which will help get the Raquel Rouge name out there a bit more and it was also nice to get a little mention on the radio the other morning, after an auction prize donated to the Milverton School Charity Ball sounded like it ended in a bit of a bidding war.

Organiser Cathy Wall managed to plug Raquel Rouge on the Breakfast Show with Kirsty Leahy

Click here to play the snippet

So with the lucky winner’s session on the horizon – plus the Christmas boudoir vouchers that people are starting to redeem – I’m beginning to wonder why I’m devoting valuable time sat here pontificating about making dresses when I could actually be getting on with my Butterick Fast and Easy.

Bye for now.

RS x

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 30, 2010 7:01 pm

    Wonderful images! Sam X

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