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Dressmakers often use a calico toile, or mock-up, as a way of checking the fit of a garment. An added bonus is it is a good way of practicing any tricky parts of the construction or identifying any problem areas because you’ve shredded your £20 a metre silk you’ve been cherishing for several years, awaiting the perfect project.

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Secret Projects

I consider myself very lucky in life to have plenty of people that I would consider knit/quilt/sew/general-gift-worthy. As well as being generally excellent people, I know they will understand when I give them something with wonky seams, a couple of holes and maybe a forgotten pin, that it is the thought and the kind intentions behind a gift that counts, not necessarily the skill in the execution. However, that doesn’t make the creation of gift items any less intimidating…

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Dongdaemun Fabric Market, Seoul

This year I happened across the opportunity for my first visit to Seoul, South Korea. For being one of the world’s biggest megacities, cities with a population over 10 million, Seoul has a lot of charm, from a little book library park in the middle of the city, to the rivers that divide it up. The food is excellent and chimaek (chicken and beer) is a genius idea and I would be very happy to see, along with the Japanese izakaya bar traditions exported all over the world. Preferably alongside fabric markets as mindboggling as Dongdaemun.

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Coaster Mark II

As someone who really loves lurid colours, it probably comes as no surprise that, when it comes to fabrics, I really, really love batiks. There’s enough variety of prints, patterns and colours that I could probably be entertained forever. The ‘mottled’ effect you get from the resist dyeing process also means that one piece of fabric has a huge amount of variation within it, which for me all adds to the creative fun.

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