Wearing the Landscape


OneYearOneOutfit – the final outfit reveal.

Top: Lots more detail here.


Before dyeing

Made of Irish linen, garment dyed by me with docks, onion skins and a pattern made by hammering English Marigolds into the fabric. I kept the top in the dark after each dyeing session to help set the dye.

Bias cut, sewn by hand. Pattern: Merchant & Mills Curlew.

Skirt: Lots more detail here.

Welsh wool, spun in Wales and woven at the National Wool Museum. No dyes, these are natural sheep colours.

Pattern: 1934 from Home Journal magazine. Extra pleat inserted by me.

Scarf: All welsh wool. The cream and the grey are natural sheep colours. The golds are onion dyed by me.

The scarf replaces the waistcoat I knitted which I hate: it makes me look much bigger than I like. It will make a gorgeous cushion cover and I’ll work on that over the next few months.

Boots: Made by Celtic & Co in Cornwall from British sheepskins which are mainly a waste product these days. They were a Christmas present from my husband.

Is it wearable? Yes! I have worn the skirt and top together and felt happy with it. I put these boots with it to make it a British Isles outfit and prefer my black leather boots to make an outfit.

The top is a great match with my black trousers so will get worn that way too. I love the skirt and it goes well with a couple of other tops (and the black leather boots rather than these). The scarf is lovely and warm so is sure to get lots of wear over the winter.

What did I learn about British Isles textile products? There are no natural fibre threads spun in the British Isles so far as I can tell. All my threads had to be pulled from the fabrics so handsewing was the only option.

Plenty of handmade wooden buttons are available and they are so beautiful.


There is lots of Welsh knitting wool available – hand and machine spun. I’ve loved using it and will definitely use it again. It looks and feels beautiful. My knitting skills do not do it justice (and that’s not false modesty).

How will I take it forward?

Making clothes from completely local products is time consuming and can be quite expensive.

A lot of work goes into bringing up sheep, spinning yarn, weaving yarn, dyeing , knitting and handsewing. If all my clothes had to be made this way, I would have very few. It makes me understand why Elizabethans left each decent garment to a favoured person in their will. They were valuable and valued.

My life won’t allow me to have every item made this way but I plan to use elements in the future.

Lots of garden and other natural dyeing planned. I loved doing it. I’m growing woad to try to get local blue dye. The plant was eaten by caterpillars so I’ll have to try again.

I will visit WonderWool Wales again and buy more Welsh wool fabric. For a jacket, perhaps.

I am a terrible knitter but definitely improving because of all the practice I got doing this project. I’d like to use some of the cream or grey wool to make a sweater for next winter.  Or the one after!

I bought a 10 metre roll of undyed linen so I think another Curlew top or dress but dyed a different colour. Made by machine next time with purchased threads.

I really like Merchant & Mills patterns so I’ll probably make more of theirs in 2017. (I made an “unblogged” summer top from one of their patterns too).

Why wearing the landscape? That’s how I felt about #oneyearoneoutfit when I was working on my clothes. I wanted to take it further and see what else I could do with natural colours and fibres. It occurred to me that maybe wearing nature’s current products rather than those that have been buried under the earth for centuries might be a more sympathetic look for me.

I’d love to hear your comments on that.

Happy Stitching!

Norma x








Filed under #1year1outfit, 1930s, Clothes, dressmaking, dyeing, fashion, Knitting, sewalongs, sewing, textiles

32 responses to “Wearing the Landscape

  1. Now that’s what I call a project! The outfit is lovely, and I’m so glad you are happy with it (as opposed to glad it’s done and you never have to think of it again!).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pao

    Wow, I am beyond impressed, Norma. You did it! And it all looks great on you too. You’ll have to write a book after having had this experience along with everything you’ve learned.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Firstly, a big congratulations for not only finishing but for making an outfit that is so wearable and elegant! I really like each piece you have made and your dyeing experiments are marvellous. I love the idea of hammering colours into fabric. I might steal it!😁 You have inspired me. I am going to try and get my outfit into some sort of shape today!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful outfit you’ve put together – it looks fantastic. I love the combination of natural colours in your garments – really beautiful. I’ll going to check out the Celtic & Co website – I’ve not heard of them!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations! That took effort and perseverance. It is great looking. The skirt looks modern. I am glad it turned out to be so wearable after all the work. I hope you will do more dyeing–it very interesting to see what happens–it is always very unexpected, at least for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What beautiful work you do! Yes, textile manufacture and garment (and quilt) making is not for sissies! Like food production, there is so much we take for granted in all the efforts behind the scenes. Congratulations on your success.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats on completing this project. The neat, tiny hand stitching around the neckline of your top is amazing. You had much patience to work through this. I think you successfully achieved a memorable outfit.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m always learning something new. Thank you! Your garments are lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love it! What a beautiful, well put-together outfit and the buttons in that photo are great!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am so impressed. Way to go, Norma. Your outfit is really lovely, as are you! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Beautiful work! And such lovely materials! <3!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Lovely outfit! It was interesting to read the process you used and I did not know that precious garments were included in wills! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I wear it a lot.
      The way our ancestors valued their clothes makes me think I have to reconsider my relationship with clothes – beautiful pieces I want to take care of have to be the priority for me


  13. Pingback: #1year1outfit 2016 Final Outfits – Europe and US – this is moonlight

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