Dandy & Rose

Bespoke Western Shirts, Handmade in England


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Meandering Me

me chrys right front with sleeve

standing around

 

I’m beyond excited to be going to Nashville next month. I can’t wait to see friends, hear music and get stuck into some PhD research.

For my trip, I have made myself a new Dandy & Rose shirt! Here I am, nonchalantly standing around in my own living room wearing it this afternoon.

I have used a favourite floral print of mine. It’s called Meandering Chrysanthemum – a seasonal Liberty print from a few seasons ago.

 

 

me chrys back yoke


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I Got Stripes

Working with Liberty prints means that I get to make shirts in all kinds of different prints or patterns, but rarely do I get chance to use stripes, which are such a mainstay of western shirt design. So when Liberty added this design, ‘The Braided Brocade’, to their range last year, I was dying to use it.

front left

It’s based on military braids, and I love the trompe l’oeil textured effect.

close up sleeve placket

 

When a regular customer in Los Angeles contacted me and asked if I would consider making him a blue striped shirt, I jumped at the chance, and we picked out this fresh colourway from the four available.

I’ve really enjoyed the crisp precision of working with stripes. And I love those sawtooth pockets!

backsquare front the braided brocade

To find out how to get a Dandy & Rose shirt custom made for you, click on the SHOP tab at the top of this page.


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Strike a light!

 

Danny's Strike with sleeve

The Americana Music Association UK’s 2016 Artist of The Year, Danny and The Champions of The World, are off to tour Spain later this week.

This Fifties-style shirt in Liberty’s matches print ‘Strike’ should keep front man Danny George Wilson cool on those Spanish stages. Even cooler than he already is!

I love this style, with its loop closing at the neck. I haven’t got round to offering it as standard yet, so message me through the CONTACT page if you are interested.


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Grrrrreat shirt!

Scotty's Tiger Back Yoke

With its small, colourful floral design, this might very well be what most of us think of as a typical Liberty print, if it weren’t for that – thankfully friendly looking – tiger bursting through a clump of greenery as if to shout ‘Surprise!’

James, whose fifth Dandy & Rose shirt this is (yes James, I’m counting), picked the fabric out from Liberty’s website after being given a D & R gift token for his birthday. It’s so summery that I am glad he chose to have a short-sleeved style, giving me a chance to add a piped cuff.

Scotty's Tiger square on front

To find out how to order a bespoke shirt of your own, or to buy a gift token for a loved one, click on the SHOP tab at the top of this page.


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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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Made to make your mouth water

This is the second shirt I’ve made to commission in ‘Poppyseed Dreams’, a print that Liberty say was inspired by Indian textile art and that hints at Sixties’ psychedelia.

Back in the Sixties, I wasn’t old enough to enjoy psychedelia; but one thing I did like was an Opal Fruit.

Yes, I know they have renamed and reflavoured the chewy cuboid sweets (Starburst! I ask you!) but to me they will always be Opal Fruits. And when I look at the zingy citrus colours in this shirt, I can almost feel the back of my palate shrinking away from the citrus pinch that oozed from the green ones as you bit into them. I always left the green ones till last. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them – I just needed to work up to them.

Maybe it was those green opal fruits that inspired the lime snaps on this shirt:

Incidentally, the Opal Fruits jingle must have been the most insidious ever. I remember it to this day; in fact I used to sing it to entertain my kids on long car journeys, simultaneously stuffing their faces with Starburst. It went like this:

“Opal fruits! Made to make your mouth water!

Fresh with the tang of citrus!

Four refreshing fruit flavours!

Orange! Stawberry! Lemon! Lime!

Opal fruits! Made to make your mouth water!”

I know I put a lot of exclamation marks in there, but that’s the way it was sung – with a chirpy sense of urgency.

The oldest version of the ad I can find online dates from the Seventies, by which time, sadly, only the first line of the song was in use. But I remember the whole lyric. Like I said: insidious.


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Fancy Stitchery

back yoke closer

I’ve been meaning for a while to experiment with fancy stitchery.

Fancy stitching around yoke edges is a finish that is often found on vintage western shirts. Steven Weil shows this example in his fantasic book ‘Western Wear: A Classic American Fashion’. My copy, which is special to me because I bought in the museum shop of The Autry Center in Los Angeles when I visited the Nudie’s archive there, is one of my favourite books to leaf through.

Scan20001

1950s – 60s shirt by Ranch-Man

So anyway, I have used one of my favourite Liberty paisleys, the 70s-looking ‘Mark’. I’ve used aqua piping on this in the past, but to make the stitching stand out, I’ve picked out the navy blue this time.

The stitch is a blanket-type stitch from my trusty Janome 3040, which I believe is also – justifiably – known as the ‘Threadbanger’. I tried using a heavier thread – Gutterman top-stitch thread – but if anyone can get that to run smoothly on their machine – well, feel free to give me some tips!

I like the neat effect I’ve got here, from using Coats cotton thread. Tana lawn is very fine, so I stabilised the fabric with Vilene ‘Stitch and Tear’ paper and spent a good while poking out the bits caught between the stitching after I’d stitched and torn, using a seam ripper.

Find the shirt for sale at

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/189988765/hand-made-one-of-a-kind-mens-western?ref=shop_home_active_1

 

 


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Mixing it up

I’ve always loved mixed print shirts.One of my most-worn garments is a ruffled shirt I bought years ago that mixes two stripes and a paisley. Every time I wear it, people ask if I made it myself and I wish I could say ‘yes’.

The trouble is, mixing prints is pretty tricky and mixing Liberty prints is even more of a challenge, because most of their prints contain loads of colours, squaring up to fight with each other.

I’m slowly building up my confidence with mixing it up though. I’m really pleased with this shirt in Liberty’s classic paisley ‘Bourton’ with yokes in ‘Ellie Ruth’. At this time of year I like to make something in Autumn colours and today the rain stopped long enough for me to take my model (I call him ‘Bud’. Not after the John Travolta character in Urban Cowboy, but because he came in a box marked ‘Budget Price’) outside to be photographed in the Autumn light, The rich rusts, reds and greens of the fabrics come through really well, I think. The shirt has green snaps.

Find this shirt for sale at:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/168609039/hand-made-one-of-a-kind-mans-western?


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A Little Bit of Liberty Lore

220px-Arthur_Lasenby_Liberty00Arthur Lasenby Liberty was a man of taste. What’s more, he had a passion for fabrics and a flair for retail.

He came to London from his home town of Chesham, Buckinghamshire,  at the age of sixteen to work for an uncle in the wine trade; moved on to a draper’s shop; and finally found his niche with a position at Farmer & Rogers Great Shawl and Cloak Emporium in Regent Street. They don’t name shops like that anymore. ‘Gap’ and ‘Primark’ don’t have the same ring.

In common with those modern retailers, Farmer and Rogers imported mostly from India and China; but, taking advantage of the craze for all things Japanese, they opened an ‘Oriental Warehouse’ next door to their main premises in 1862. Two years later, the talented and ambitious Arthur, still only 21 years old, became manager.

The Oriental Warehouse was a great success and it must have been obvious that Arthur was a natural entrepreneur; but coming as he did from a family in straightened circumstances, he lacked the capital to set up on his own. Then in 1874 he became engaged to Emma Louise Blackmore and her father provided the necessary finance; in fact, the money provided by his new father-in-law only stretched to half a shop, which Arthur called East India House.

It was not until 1924 that Liberty moved to the iconic half-timbered building where it is still housed.

But back to East India House in the 1870s: Arthur’s new shop was a magnet for all the louche, artistic types that defined the taste of the time – Rosetti, Burne-Jones and of course the not-so-louche William Morris: they all hung out there. Although he began by selling only plain dyed silks, Arthur soon began to work with a printer in Staffordshire to develop a range of colour fast dyes in the subtle, pleasing colours found in oriental rugs and fabrics and used them to produce hand-blocked prints; his range of ‘Liberty Art Fabrics’ was born.

Arthur’s early prints were on silk and included the paisleys that are still associated with the Liberty name today. Tana lawn, the super-fine, soft cotton with a silk-like feel that I use for most of my shirts, was introduced in the 1920s,and named after Lake Tana in Ethiopia, where the cotton used to produce it originated; at around the same time, the classic small floral ‘Liberty prints’ began to be produced.

Liberty was associated with all the best design movements and was a byword for the arts & crafts, aesthetic and art nouveau movements. Peacock feathers were a much-used motif in the aesthetic movement and in 1887, this design ‘Peacock Feather’ was produced for Liberty by Arthur Silver of Silver Studio and printed in Rossendale. It was later renamed ‘Hera’.

ss12libe725000330-blue

All Liberty designs are archived and vintage designs are often the inspiration for new ones. ‘Hera’ was revived in the 1970s and is still in production, still printed in Lancashire today.

Here it is adapted for one of Liberty’s famous silk scarves:

scarf-orange

And here it is as a western shirt – or two! Find them for sale at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/dandyandrose

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