Home from Naples.

I always love to come home from a holiday, but one of the things that makes that homecoming extra special is a good bit of post.

For instance, a letter from the AHRC saying that yes, I have funding for the remainder of my PhD studies.

That’s the very best sort of homecoming to be having after what’s been a great holiday, helped especially by everyone’s suggestions in my Messy Tuesdays post about what to read, and about how to think about clothes.

I thoroughly enjoyed Justine Picardie’s ‘My Mother’s Wedding Dress,’ recommended by Colleen… thanks very much for that, it was a very helpful reference. And I also enjoyed learning about my body shape from the eminently sensible and no-nonsense Trinny and Susannah, recommended to me in part by the lovely Katie of Oxford Kitchen Yarns.

I also conquered my fear of the sewing machine by making up my very first garment from a paper pattern. Given my newfound knowledge of body-shape, I can see that this unflatteringly large and billowing shape doesn’t celebrate my hourglass figure to perfection, but it does make use of the lovely colours I so much enjoy, and it is loose enough to allow for plenty of pizza-eating, (of which there was much) in Napoli.

I always thought that having a sewing machine eliminated the need to sew by hand, but in making up this garment from a pattern, I learned how much hand-sewing is necessary in properly making something up. I have a horror of hand-sewing anything, believing my stitches to look like some kind of textile-based Frankenstein mauling, rather than proper handiwork, but in making up this pattern, I was pleasantly surprised. Once again, I have the generosity of people I’ve met through this blog, to thank for the pleasure I eventually got out of slip-stitching the inside seams in my top. I remember Katie once saying that the lovely thing about hand-knitting, is that all of the stitches pass through your hands – a thought that improved my general disposition towards hand-sewing – and also, I remembered Kate’s wonderful post a while back about slip-stitching. Bearing the words of these two imminent makers in mind, I took my partially finished top down into the sunshine, ordered a bottle of dry white, and calmly got into some relaxed hand-sewing. I was very pleased with the results of my slip-stitching:

The thread I used for the job was bought at a random market on the basis that its wooden spool and vintage label were simply irresistable. I’ve never been brave enough to put something as thick, antique and shiny as this on my machine, but for sewing seams by hand it is incredibly pleasing, having a lovely waxiness about it and lending its special qualities to the procedure.

More of Napoli, Pompeii, Vesuvius and Brandi later in the week. For now, thanks again for all the clothes love and assistance and hallelujah for PhD funding.

8 Responses to Home from Naples.

  1. Lara says:

    wooooo! Y…E…S! Hurrah for PhD funding – yey for the usual evil AHRC!! HURAAH!
    And also most impressed with your sewing antics – might try and steal you to help with J’s boxer shorts of doom. xxx

  2. katieh says:


    It looks great!

    i hope you’re very proud of yourself. 😀

  3. Moggle says:

    Woo and Yay for Phd funding.
    Hope you got to eat at all of the Blumenthal reccomended pizzerias 🙂

  4. wazz says:

    Hooofookinrah for the AHRC!

    I’m in love with that top – the fabric and thread are all just gorgeous and you look fabulous in it, whatever trin ‘n’ suze say. What pattern was it?

  5. Cinders says:

    well done on getting your funding.
    I love the colours in your strawberry top.
    Looking forward to your photos of Naples. I’d love to see Pompei

  6. Jane says:

    The top is great! I think it looks really good on you.

    Congratulations on your funding, woohoo!

    And that pizza looks AMAZING! Yum yum. Naples pizza is the best – I had one magnificent slice, grabbed on the go from a street vendor as we endeavoured to balance the twin risks of missing our ferry and perishing of starvation. It was truly wonderful, and I bet it wasn’t even nearly the best pizza in the city.

    Glad you had a good time!

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