Dandy & Rose

Bespoke Western Shirts, Handmade in England


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The Blues

Bourton blue front

Commissioned man’s shirt in Liberty of London’s paisley ‘Bourton’

As you’ve probably guessed, I love colour. But my favourite colour is blue.

My mum loves blue too. When I was a kid I was nearly always dressed in blue, so for a while in young adulthood, I rebelled. But now blue and I are the best of friends again, and we have been for ages.

There are so many shades of blue in this classic Liberty paisley that I can’t begin to count them.

From darkest navy, to dusky violet, through to sweet lilac and clear, clean turquoise, they work together to make a cheering whole. I’ve added stitching in a smoky midnight colour and snaps the colour of bluebells.

I have worked with this Liberty classic paisley print in several colourways and loved them all, but this one always lifts my heart.

Bourton blue back yoke

Commissioned men’s shirt in Liberty’s classic paisley, ‘Bourton’.

This shirt was commissioned, but if you’d like a Dandy & Rose shirt of your very own, click on the SHOP tab at the top of the page, or drop me a line through the CONTACT page. I’d love to hear from you!


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Tulip Mania

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London's art nouveau Tulip print 'Ten Six' 7

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London’s art nouveau Tulip print ‘Ten Six’ back yoke

I was a little sad to see the tulips pass from my garden a couple of weeks ago. They are so exotic, with their  vibrant, polished petals and encompassing shape. No wonder that, when they were first introduced to Europe from the Islamic world in the sixteenth century, they were considered  precious objects of status. In the 1630s their value boomed so high that a phenomenon known as ‘tulipmania’ happened, with frenzied trading making many Dutch merchants enormously rich; when the ‘Tulip Bubble’ burst, they lost everything.

But anyway, never mind the history lesson. Here’s a shirt. It is made from an art nouveau style Liberty print representing tulips. It comes from last year’s Spring/Summer range, but it’s based on a furnishing design from the 1890s. So elegant.

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London's art nouveau Tulip print 'Ten Six' 6

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London’s art nouveau Tulip print ‘Ten Six’

It’s always difficult to decide what to do with a favourite print in a favourite colourway. Some red piping might have been nice, but I really wanted to see those tulips bending in the breeze, so I have gone with my first instinct – to cut the yokes on the bias.

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London's art nouveau Tulip print 'Ten Six' (2)

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London’s art nouveau Tulip print ‘Ten Six’

The shirt has short sleeves, which I have faced with plain pale blue fabric to match the leaves in the print. The pocket flaps are faced in the same fabric, but that will be the wearer’s secret till he lifts them to put something in his pocket. The topstitching is in the same pale blue colour. The pearl snaps are grey.

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London's art nouveau Tulip print 'Ten Six'

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London’s art nouveau Tulip print ‘Ten Six’

It has turned out so sharp and snappy, I just had to photograph it with that top pearl snap done up!


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Girl Power

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My lovely customer Jacky, whose second shirt this is, gave me the brief to create something ‘girly’, then picked out this riot-of-flowers Liberty print, ‘Tresco’.

Accustomed as I am to making and studying menswear, I managed to connect with my inner girl and have come up with this pink-piped, jewel-snapped party piece.

Enjoy, Jacky!

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Cross Ways

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Bias and cross cutting are a traditional way to add interest to western shirt yokes.

Usually when you cut out a garment, you do it on the ‘straight grain’ with each piece lined up vertically against the edge on the fabric, along the warp thread that runs the length of the fabric. But if you turn the pieces so that they line up either at an angle (bias) or horizontally to the edge, along the weft thread that runs across the fabric (cross grain), any design that’s on the fabric will go in a different direction on the finished garment. It’s one of those things that’s easier to do than explain. That was probably as clear as mud, but don’t worry, here’s the Wikipedia entry on it.

Grain

It’s a great technique for stripes and checks, like these two vintage shirts from Steven E. Weil and Daniel DeWeese’s Western Shirts book.

 

I don’t work with very many prints that lend themselves to being turned and turned about, but this Liberty design ‘Philip Clay’ was calling out to be realigned.

It’s got a look about it of Moroccan tiles, I think but it’s actually inspired by playing cards. But more of that when the shirt is finished!

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To find out how to order a bespoke shirt of your own, click on the SHOP tab at the top of the page.


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On angels’ wings

eben back

This print by Liberty of London, Eben, was inspired by the wings of angels depicted in fifteenth century manuscripts, like this one in the margin of Les Grandes Heures de Rohan.

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Angel, Grandes Heures de Rohan, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. Circa 1430.

All power to the monk who painted the angel above, he did a great job and everything, but I think he forgot to colour in the wings.

Still, we’ve put that right now.

I think this might be the most colourful shirt I have ever made. It’s winging its way to Nashville and its new owner, Jim Lauderdale.


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Spring’s Harbinger

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Jim Lauderdale in Dandy & Rose snowdrop shirt. Photograph by Scott Simontacchi.

Once, many, many years ago, a suitor asked me what my favourite flower was, and promised to present me with a bouquet of whatever I chose. I am always truthful, so I told him that I love snowdrops. It was June.

 

Nevertheless, the gallant young fellow sent to some swanky London florist and a few days later, he presented me with a tiny bunch of exactly the flower I had asked for. It really didn’t help his case, to be honest, and, now that I am no longer young and careless, I feel a twinge of guilt every time I remember the lengths he went to, and how fruitless were his efforts .

I still look forward every year, once Christmas is over, to the moment when the small clump of snowdrops in my garden blooms. I love to see them bravely nodding their tiny white heads, hiding their freshly green-splashed faces as if they don’t quite want to look at the still-grim JaIMG_1306nuary sky.

And right on cue, they have arrived this year, just as I finished this shirt, commissioned by Jim Lauderdale, in Liberty’s graceful art nouveau snowdrop print, based on an 1896 print from their archive.

Any minute now, Spring will be here. I just know it.


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A year at Dandy & Rose

Here’s a gallery of the shirts I made in 2015. What a lot of piping ruffling and stitching I have done! Thanks to everyone who placed an order, or enjoyed looking at the shirts online.

Happy New Year!  If you’d like to own your own Dandy & Rose, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a chat. Prices and details are available in my online shop Dandy & Rose on etsy.com

I can’t wait to see what I get to make in 2016!


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Wonderland

 

back yoke

Sometimes people take a while to work up to ordering their first Dandy & Rose shirt.

It’s at least a couple of years since Declan Culliton, over there in Ireland, started following Dandy & Rose and saying that he was hoping his wife and daughters would buy him a shirt for Christmas. Well, they must have taken the hint!

And look what a beautiful print he has chosen!

It’s from Liberty’s recent Alice in Wonderland range, and came out of an Alice-themed tour of Oxford that the Liberty Design Studio took, in search of inspiration. The landscape is the Christ Church Water Meadows, where Charles Dodgson took young Alice Liddell and her sisters on boat trips while he was writing his famous book, published under his nom de plume, Lewis Carroll.

There is something about those lilac tree trunks that is absolutely magical!

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For details of how to order a bespoke shirt of your own, click on the SHOP tab.

 

 


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Making a paisley splash!

front leftA few months ago, I made a shirt in palest blue paisley for a lovely lady called Lorna, who now lives in the USA, but is a native of Paisley in Scotland. I called the piece ‘The Prettiness of Paisley’ and you can read it here:

The Prettiness of Paisley

Well, Lorna has left pretty and pastel behind, and for her latest shirt has chosen a brand new Liberty of London paisley called Cadby’s in reds, greens and blues. I piped her shirt in navy blue and added emerald green snaps.

What a wonderful splash of colour!

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What do I have?

Something happened yesterday to make me reflect on what it is that I and other people making a living (or part of it) out of their creativity really have to offer.

Of course, we have our skills with guitar or camera or, in my case, needle.

But what we really have is our vision. Our ideas. The songwriters I work with have their melodies and their lyrics, their ‘something to play’ and ‘something to say’. The photographers who so generously give me access to the pictures they take of musicians in Dandy & Rose shirts have their eye for a shot, their ‘something to see’.

I can’t write songs or take pictures and I try to run my business in a way that acknowledges the talents of those who can.

I have something to sew.

My vision was to bring together my love of country music; my academic expertise in the history of American western wear; the artisan skills that are part of my family heritage; and the very English Liberty of London prints that I have loved since my teen years as a William Morris groupie. I didn’t even do it on purpose, really; not so long ago, I was the Mum in my kids’ school playground surprisingly dressed in a western shirt hand made from Liberty prints. Now I am making my shirts for people all around the world. It’s taken 5 years of hard work and learning – I even learned to build a website – to build up Dandy & Rose. I will never make my fortune at it, but having my creative vision acknowledged means the world to me.

My heart is in Dandy & Rose. I like to think that my customers – whether they are teachers, events managers, designers, musicians, road managers – get a personal service and end up with the shirt that is absolutely theirs. I take the greatest care helping them choose their fabric. When I am cutting and sewing, I never forget the belief they have shown in me, and my English Liberty print western shirt vision, by placing their order.

Yesterday, a friend drew my attention to a public Facebook post. I didn’t know the person involved, but because we are both members of the community that has grown up around Americana music here in the UK, we had 16 friends in common, including one of my customers and a handful of supporters who regularly ‘like’ and comment on my Facebook posts.

Alongside some photographs of a Liberty print western shirt was his announcement that he planned to launch a sideline to his family wedding dress business making… you guessed it, Liberty print western shirts. He said that he planned to ask the Nashville-based artist who was playing the venue he runs yesterday evening to wear the shirt. Here it is:

At the top of this page is the shirt that I made a couple of months back for the Scottish singer/songwriter Dean Owens. Spot the difference!

I love Dean’s music and especially his very beautiful and moving latest album, Into the Sea. We picked out the fabric, Liberty’s ‘Lady Paisley’ for his shirt together in between sets when he played Brighton in the summer. It’s his first Dandy & Rose and I was glad he made such a bold choice. I gave the shirt a back yoke shape that reflected the pattern and made sure the finish was super sharp. It’s a large, complicated print, so I placed the patterns really carefully. It’s Dean’s shirt. Unique to him. That’s what I do.

Here are some shots of him looking right at home in it on a recent visit to Nashville. On the left, he is posing with the great singer/songwriter who has been my cheerleader from the get-go, Jim Lauderdale. I loved seeing them together in their Dandy & Rose shirts.

It hurts to think that someone would copy Dean’s shirt and give the results to another singer to wear onstage. I wouldn’t do that, and I don’t expect anyone else to either. I am so mad, on both my behalf and Dean’s, that I could spit.

I challenged the person involved. During our conversation, he denied that the shirt was a copy. I’ll leave that one to the evidence of your eyes.

He said he didn’t know anything about me and my business, had never heard of Dean (what?!) and that he just had some Liberty fabrics in stock and fancied making them into western shirts. He said the pattern was a vintage western shirt pattern and anyone could make it. He said he didn’t mean to hurt my business, promised not to undercut me and suggested there was room for two makers of Liberty print western shirts on this little island.

Well, maybe all that is true.

And maybe, even if someone hijacks my creative vision, and even if they cut a garment to make it look like one of mine, they still haven’t stolen anything from me, because no one can take the bit of my heart that gave rise to it.

But all the same: don’t copy my work, will you? And please don’t ask anyone else to do it. It’s not cheap to buy a Dandy & Rose, and most of the people who have one have pushed the financial boundaries to do it. But if you invest, I promise that, as my customer Rod Picott tweeted recently, you’ll have ‘the best shirt ever’.rod picott Twitter Search

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Rod Picott in ‘The Best Shirt Ever’