Other Interests

A Celebration of Mrs. Joyce Quarrie, Happy Birthday!

You never know what connections you can make through friends. While I was on my trip to Cumbria in England, our host, Lib Saunders knew that I was very interested in sewing a Chanel style jacket made with Linton Tweed--the same fabrics that the House of Chanel commissions for their fashion lines.

"Right, then," said Lib. "You must meet Auntie Joyce." Immediately, I was put in contact with Joyce Quarrie's daughter, Jean who was eager to tell me about the Craftsy class, The Iconic Tweed Jacket, taught by Lorna Knight. Lorna is a teacher in England who has instructed Jean in a number of classes. I told Jean about signing up for the class when I heard I was within striking distance of Carlisle.

Mrs. Quarrie's daugher, Jean had told me which fabric she had purchased to make the same jacket along with Lorna Knight in the Craftsy class. Lorna had given some advice in one of the lessons on the type of fabric to purchase. But look at the vibrant colours and impeccable sewing in the jackets that Joyce Quarrie shared with us.

You can read about my visit to the Linton shop, The Bobbin in Carlisle and see the fabric I purchased.
When we went to the shop, The Bobbin, Tracy knew Mrs. Quarrie, and remarked on how much they enjoyed seeing her come in to look at the fabrics, and then enjoy lunch.

I was over the moon in the shop, but truly, it was even better to meet  Joyce Quarrie, in the town of Carlisle. She hosted my mother, sister, Lib and our other host, Sue, providing us with tea, a delicious walnut coffee two tiered iced cake, shortbread and almond tarts.

I don't think I am giving away state secrets in saying that Joyce will be 96 on May 22. She was dressed impeccably in a beautiful white, with black slubs tweed skirt, heels, stockings, and a black knit top. She had on a modern porcelain necklace that she had hand painted in her porcelain painting class that she goes to each Wednesday. Her make up was subtle and she looked just gorgeous as you can see. This is what I want to be when I am 96, living independently, interested in people and the world around me, and still learning with new classes!

But best of all, she had brought downstairs her beautiful Linton Tweed jackets that she had made over the years. These were skillfully sewn as you can see above, and finished with matching linings, bound buttons, patch and flap pockets and kept in a well-ordered closet. Jean also showed us a long tweed skirt, with turquoise woven into it that she had made for a cruise she had gone on last year.

So, I must thank Lib for putting us in touch with Mrs. Quarrie. It is important to acknowledge remarkable people, and so good to see that Mrs. Quarrie's skills as a dressmaker have been passed on to her daughters. I hope to hear from Joan to see her progress on her jacket. I'm still at the thinking stage, and must make up my muslin to get the fit prior to cutting into my beautiful fabric.

I've included two photos that refer to Joyce's husband who was a submarine commander in the Second World War. I enjoyed hearing about her life working during the war, and keeping her girls safe, while worrying about the safety of her husband in the cold seas.
Mrs Joyce Quarrie, and Elizabeth Saunders

My Journey with Linton Tweeds: Buying the Fabric For a Tweed Jacket

When I heard that Linton Textile Mills, in Carlisle, Cumbria, England was within driving distance of the Lake District, I knew that I would have to talk my sister and mother into a visit. I purchased the Craftsy class, The Iconic Tweed Jacket with Lorna Knight and watched it before I left for England.

Thank you to Tracy of Linton Textile Mills for the help
By posting a question in the comment section of the class, Lorna gave me further advice beyond the chapter of the class on choosing your fabric. I also checked in with Alison Smith in the Craftsy courses on Tailoring Techniques and she too, made recommendations. Both teachers invited me to their sewing schools for a visit, but I will have to save that for a second trip.

Linton Tweed has become successful for two reasons. The owners of the mill did not keep only to the traditional wool yarns to weave their tweed, but incorporated metallics, synthetics, silks, ribbons, boucles, and sequins into the weave to create marvelous patterns and textures.

The second reason is that Coco Chanel had a connection with the mill and used these fabrics for her iconic tweed Chanel jacket. Her jacket design was so popular because it was a change from the structured, fitted garments of the 1920's and represented more freedom for women. Chanel used couture techniques to stabilize the loose weave and give the jacket soft structure.


You will see that it is a quilted jacket, in that the lining is sewn to the face fabric, all seams are stabilized with silk organza selvedge and the lining hides all the hand sewing on the seams. There are princess seams, set in sleeves, patch pockets, and all types of braid to outline the jacket edges. To give the jacket weight, a chain is sewn in the bottom. If this was the real Chanel jacket, I would be using a solid gold chain, but mine might be a length from Home Depot!

Our friend, Sue Thwaites who patiently drove us to Carlisle, along with Lib Saunders, who were most generous hosts for our stay in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England

The Linton shop, called The Bobbin is separate from the mill, which is not open to the public for health and safety reasons. Tracy, the shop assistant who helped me was very kind and gave advice when I needed it and let me browse, and ooh and ahh as long as I wanted. Since there was a cafe attached with very good food, my friends ordered the lunch and I went around fondling fabric. Such a wide choice, but I went with the idea of making a first jacket (oh, yes, there will be more!), one that I could wear in a more casual fashion with jeans, or dress up with a navy skirt.

Some of the fabrics were hung like drapes, some were stacked on rolling dollies, and some were on piled on the shelves. The rest of the items in the shop were knick knacks and scarves--many were made in China.

As you can see from the photos below, I was in heaven just looking and feeling the fabrics. I had debated on boucles, or ribbon tweeds. My priority was to choose something that would go well with navy, denim and black--the colours I usually wear as pants, or skirts. I also didn't want a huge matching job, which ruled out the one you see me so happily posing with. So, below you can see I was once again drawn to the blues/green/turquoises in a ribbon woven tweed, that I think will look beautiful in the Iconic Tweed Jacket, that wears like a cardigan.


WELL, you can't pass up the rack that tastefully says, "Buy one skirt length, get the second free." They had a beautiful thick wool navy, and a less textured black. I stayed within my budget and was very happy with my purchases. I think you can see by my expression how happy I was with that visit.

My final choices, including the 2 skirt lengths.
A close up of the label, and jacket choice.

Happily parting with the money!

Camas Blouse by Thread Theory

I've written about Thread Theory patterns before. I made my husband shorts with the Jedediah pattern, and also have made the Henley T shirt, which you can see below. But, when Morgan announced the Camas Blouse Sew Along, I ordered the pattern right away.  I made a muslin in a jersey knit in navy blue. I had a little trouble with the button placket, but realized that I was installing it the wrong way. Oooops!  Then, I switched to a woven fabric, as the shirt fit well, after I made a full bust adjustment by adding an extra 1/2 inch to the gathered edge.

I tried it again in a grey shirt flannel and made the yoke in a buttery faux leather. I also changed the back gathers into a pleat. The neckline is a little more open than I'd like. I could have raised it a little, but I also like the feeling and look of having a camisole underneath. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. And I like to support Thread Theory, because they specialize in men's patterns, and Matt and Morgan just seem so darn hard working and nice!

I learned to insert a placket, using a Craftsy class on shirt details with David Page Coffin, the shirt guru. I also have been watching Lynda Maynard's class on Finishing Edges so my shirt bindings are getting better. Sewing with knits is a challenge only because the knits i have bought at Fabricville, tend to only last a few wearings before they start to pill. I think, now that I have some well fitting patterns, I will have to buy more expensive fabric, but less of it. That suits me fine. I hate the pilling--it is a waste of my time. So, suggestions for on line knit fabrics That won't pill would be welcome. 

Katharine Tilton Raglan sleeve coat dress Butterick B6254

I loved the look of this pattern. Perhaps the turtleneck it is styled with drew me in--I'm all about keeping my neck warm and hiding what looks like my grandmother's neck. Ignore that my rabbit angora scarf untucked itself here, please

But, isn't the line of the jacket flattering? And, who knew how easy the pattern goes together. Usually a Tilton pattern has some origami type of fold and asymmetrical hem,
sleeve, or side seam going on. Nope, this was an easy, well drafted and flattering coat/dress/tunic.

But, you can't fool me!  I knew enough to make a muslin out of some remnant grey pointe lurking on the back table of Fabricville. I sewed it up, forgoing the usual FBA because I didn't want to research how to do this on a raglan style pattern, and because I live in hopes that all patterns will suddenly make me the Average sized woman of a certain age. Lady Luck smiled on me because the proportions of this pattern were just fine. But, after putting this grey coat on, I immediately thought I could hear Stalin calling me comrade. It looked a bit bleak and slightly shapeless. I felt as though the armscyes were hanging a little low, and perhaps it was a touch too wide in the back. I'll see if I can get a photo of it, just for laughs.
I promised a closer look at the armscyes.
 I am used to them being lower, now.

My sewing mentor has suggested that I needed to start choosing a smaller pattern size, based on the width of my back rather than the bust measurement. I've learned to do a variety of full bust adjustments from Diana and from Craftsy's Kathleen Cheetam. But after looking carefully at my muslin (The Stalin Coat), and the pattern, Diana thought the sleeves needed to stay where they were.

I decided to try the pattern again in a textured knit, adding some buttery imitation leather along the raglan seam lines to draw the eye away from the low hanging armpit area. That worked so well, I added welt pockets with that soft pleather, except for them dragging a bit and showing the silk charmeuse pocket linings, which I had to hide with fake facings. I did it perfectly matching the pattern. I dare you to find them!

Things I learned:

1.  You can get used to bat wings. They are very comfortable.
2.  Textured knits are fun and hide a lot of sewing sins.
3.  I used snaps under the buttons as I was afraid the knit buttonholes would eventually bag out,  even with stabilizer and interfacing. I must have made every mistake sewing on the snaps backward, in the wrong place, wrong side up.  Many curse words were uttered in the 4 hours it took me to sew them and the buttons.
4.  Somehow the right front stretched out one inch longer than the left front. I blame the snaps and buttons, because they ganged up on me. So I had to open up the front facing and lengthen the left side to match. I'm watching you!!!
5. I shouldn't ask my husband to be a photographer in the setting sun while he is on the way out the door to do something I should have done.