What a great fabric choice my new Californian customer, Joe, has made! This print is from the current Liberty of London range. It completely removes the need to make a decision that many of my customers struggle with: floral or paisley? It has them both!
Joe opted for lots of piping and ‘smile’ pockets.
I have placed one of my signature contrast pearl snaps in line with the yoke….
… and added an extra yellow snap to each sleeve placket. It just seemed like the right thing to do.
I was born and brought up in the county of Shakespeare and have loved his work since I was old enough to know who he was. So when Lorna Simes chose this print for her fourth Dandy & Rose shirt, I was delighted. A Shakespearean western shirt? Why not?
The first Shakespeare play I ever saw was Romeo and Juliet. I think I was about twelve or thirteen and the production starred John Hurt and Lisa Harrow. I asked my Dad to take me to see it at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. He worked at the Massey Ferguson tractor factory in Coventry, but at the end of a long week, he put on his suit and headed back into the city, because I had asked him to, and he wanted me to have the education he hadn’t been offered. The play made a deep impression on me – as it would on anyone who saw John Hurt play Romeo, I imagine – and decades later I mentioned to my Dad how wonderful it had been. He told me he had had no idea what was going on onstage, because he didn’t understand Shakespeare, however much he wished he could. He just wanted me to have that experience. Thank you, Dad.
I don’t mind, then, that Liberty, having created a print showing stormy seas, starry constellations and fleets of ships, and called it ‘Tempest’ to boot, have covered it with bits of text from Romeo and Juliet. Apparently, the designer’s concept was to depict someone stranded on an island, who records their observations on the weather and movements of the Heavens on the only paper to hand – a copy of Shakespeare’s Works. I think I would have torn out the pages of a lesser play, myself.
Lorna’s shirt will be joining her when she sails on the Cayamo cruise in a couple of weeks’ time. If any of her fellow cruisers are alarmed by the stormy seas on her shirt, she can perhaps soothe them with the beautiful verse also printed on there. And reflect that she has taken the advice of Polonius to Laertes in Hamlet:
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
I can’t think of anything Shakespeare can have meant more by ‘rich’ than a cowgirl shirt with his own words printed on it!
Around the world, 2016 has been in many ways a strange, sad and alarming year .
But looking back on my own year brings many good memories and moments of achievement. I survived the grilling that came with passing the halfway point of my PhD and had a productive – and fun- research trip to Nashville. A definite high point was having a Dandy & Rose shirt put on display in the Country Music Hall of Fame’s ‘Featured Western Wear Designer’ exhibit. It’s such an honour: I don’t think I’ll get my head around it until I see it in person, which I hope to do in 2017.
I wrote a lot of words and made a lot of shirts in 2016.
Now for 2017!
Wishing followers of this blog a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
It’s been a grim, foggy weekend, full of undone Christmas preparations, so I have been glad to have this sunny yellow paisley shirt to focus on.
The fabric is Liberty’s paisley ‘Lagos Laurel’. I seem to recall that is a 1930s print from the Liberty archive. They reintroduced it to the range in 2012 in honour of the London Olympics – see the little laurel wreath tucked in amongst the paisley motifs?
I have made several shirts in Lagos Laurel previously…
Jim Lauderdale’s shirt in Liberty ‘Lagos Laurel’ with yokes in ‘Glenjade’
Michael’s shirt in Liberty’s paisley ‘Lagos Laurel’
Reed’s mixed print shirt in Liberty’s ‘Lagos Laurel’, ‘Mitsi’
but I haven’t used this lovely, rich, buttery yellow before. And I don’t think I have used yellow snaps before either. What a joy!
Jim Lauderdale’s shirt in Liberty’s print ‘Wiltshire Berry’
Last week I was in something of a panic because this shirt had dropped off the postal radar: last recorded as leaving Heathrow, the US postal service had no record of it. But in a minor Christmas miracle, it reappeared on its way from New York to Nashville on Monday and arrived just in time for Jim Lauderdale to wear it on the festive edition of Music City Roots, the weekly live radio show he hosts, a couple of days ago.
I always think this red colourway of Liberty’s classic print ‘Wiltshire Berry’, shouts ‘CHRISTMAS’. I have given it green piping and a celebratory mix of green and red snaps.
At the end of the show, Jim led the jam session that closes Music City Roots in the Chuck Berry classic ‘Johnny B. Goode’. I’m sure the pun was unintended but – well, a classic berry fabric and a classic Berry tune: what could be more pleasing?
Click here to watch a video clip of the jam.
Jim Lauderdale’s shirt in Liberty’s ‘Wiltshire Berry’
Jim Lauderdale’s shirt in Liberty’s cord snowdrop print
What could be snugglier in this chilly weather that a corduroy western shirt? And this one, with its tiny snowdrops, reminds us that Spring will be here before we know it!
I normally make my own piping, but this time I have accented the yoke with some purchased piping that I have had in my stash for a while. Come to think of it, I have had the cord for a while too – it’s a Liberty print called ‘Martina’. Fabric and piping have just been waiting for the right moment to come together!
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I am so honoured that The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum have put this paisley shirt that I made for Jim Lauderdale on display. It’s in one of their ‘Featured Western Wear Designer’ cases just off their foyer.
While I have been researching my PhD, I have spent a lot of time in the Hall’s archives, looking at garments by the great western wear designers, like Nathan Turk, Manuel and Nudie Cohn. So it’s a wonderful thrill now to be in an exhibit alongside them.
Photograph by Scott Simontacchi
The shirt will be on display for a year. After that, you can expect to see Jim wearing it onstage again!