Monday, 25 July 2011

Life in London

I arrived in London at the ripe old age of twenty three and loved it!

I had only ever left Ireland to go on holidays so this was a real treat. Of course, once you decide you are not living at home anymore, you quickly come to realise that the folks are not around to pay the bills and feed you, so I needed to find a job and quickly as there was also rent to pay.

Now don't get me wrong, life wasn't that bad, I was living in my uncle's house in Kilburn after all, with my older brother and twin sister....
Living there was like living in Ireland, it was so full of the Irish (so didn't feel too home sick) in 1983.

Anyway, found out that the Evening Standard newspaper was the place to find the best jobs going!
After applying for machinists jobs in design rooms, I landed one in a company called Boule's Ltd working in Hammersmith.

Now bear in mind, at this stage in my working career, I have only ever worked on piece work on the jeans that we made in the factory back home, so you can imagine how I felt the first morning I arrived into this fab design room, was introduced to all the team and was shown to my work space where I was to make up all the fantastic samples that were going to bring in huge orders for the company. (No pressure then).

The designer handed me a little bundle tied up with a string and a picture of the garment (a blouse) and asked me to get to work. Oh God! Took a deep breath and looked at what I had to do. So looking like I had put a full garment together before and this little thing would be a piece of cake, I opened the little bundle and about 15 pieces fell out! (my heart nearly fell out of my chest also).

I sat there looking at all the parts and trying not to look to see if anyone was watching me watching the pieces. I made it look like I knew what the strange parts were (I hope), and with the help of what my mum had already taught us about dressmaking and what I had picked up from doing my own bits and pieces and also asking the designer what way would she like it to go together,  I managed to get the blouse looking like a blouse and ended up working there for 3 years, loving the people and also the major experience I gained.

My life in the fashion industry in London had begone and I really really loved it!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

In the past

Ireland was a wonderful country to grow up in and I was born into an even more wonderful family, full of very creative people who loved to make thing with their hands. My dad was a very skilled carpenter and my mum was a very skilled dressmaker and mother. My brothers followed in my dads footsteps, my younger sister studied Art and is now an art teacher, she also has her work displayed in galleries. My twin sister and I carried on to work in the fashion industry in London.

I remember when I was very young my mum was always teaching myself and my twin sister how to sew. She was the person that started my love of fabrics and encouraged me to create wonderful outfits for my dolls while she created wonderful outfits for all our neighbours and brides to be.

The first real sewing machine I learned to sew on was with a foot peddle that had to be rocked forward and backwards to get the wheel to turn and that would then move the needle. You could only sew straight lines and there was no back-tack button, you had to turn the work around and sew back on its self. The machine and table was a beautiful piece of work though. I have just got one of the tables to put into my hallway as the entrance table to hold my lamp. It has pride of place and looks fantastic.

As I got older and started to socialize, I soon realised the skill that we had could make us stand out among our friends as we didn't need a lot of money to create great fashion outfits every week-end.

At fifteen, I started work in a clothing factory where I learned how to use all makes and models of sewing machines and also learned sewing skills that have stayed with me a life time. I spent 7 years working there before the big blue yonder called and at twenty three I set off  to explore what lay outside the land of my birth.

The first port of called was London, well! it is pretty close and as this was my first time to live away from home I though it best not to go too far to start with, plus I knew that there was a great fashion industry there....

Thats all for now. I will tell you more soon.