Planning a trip to the Workshop? Bill gives his advice…

 

 

Of course we don’t want to be bossy and tell everyone how to go shopping- that’s a personal thing and we all shop in a different way depending on what we’re doing – skiving off work, filling in time between appointments, waiting the for kids to come out of Dancebase, Christmas browsing etc etc etc, the list goes on into infinity. No that’s not what we’re saying, but how best to prepare- if you are preparing at all, to come in to find something nice to wear from the Bill Baber Workshop.

 

By the way it not just called a workshop because we make the garments here, oh no –  it’s a workshop because some times you have to work pretty hard to find the right garment here! We have 400 pieces of all different colours, styles and fit to go through so it’s not a walk in the park, it can be a serious retail struggle in here sometimes.

Well some folk will come in and just see something that just looks great- job done, but often it can be a matter of going patiently through everything here to see what works best. That’s where we can help when you come in, we can say what we think it looks like for you but that’s about it.

What we can also do is to give you, now, a few simple pointers that definitely make the process easier !

Here we go…

Mina wearing the Shamrock Alex and Oat S Dress.

First of all have a good look at the website and try to imagine the styles that might work for you. Forget the colours and look at the shapes- what might be good for your shape? What could you do with it, could it be workwear, maybe something to have on holiday, or something to go out in?

 

Make sure you’re dressed right- you just need simple comfortable things to wear, jeans and a t-shirt, a plain skirt, maybe leggings, keep it simple because these garments do all the work of dressing you up, they want to be the main feature of what you’re wearing, and are best with light comfortable basics.

 

 

Before you go out the door and get on the bus to the Grassmarket, (or before you ring for the chauffeur) have a quick look round the wardrobe to what colours you have, what you might need, maybe what accessories you’ve stopped using that you could might want to bring back into action- a scarf or a brooch. Just look quickly round to see what you have. That’s one up on arriving and maddeningly not being able to remember a single thing you have that you could wear the new cape with.

 

 

Finally, I know a lot of us just want to shop alone and decide better that way, all good. But otherwise do try to bring a friend or an acquaintance or anyone who will come with you, it helps so much to have someone with you who knows you and can give you some feedback. Well you don’t have to listen to what they say, but just having them say it can be a great help !

There it is –  our helpful guide to shopping at the Bill Baber workshop – any other pointers you might have to add?

 

 

 

Mina at Bill Baber Knitwear!

 

We were lucky enough to have all three of Bill’s nieces come and help us at the Workshop over the summer. Mina has been with us this last week, learning to use the machines and modelling a few of her favourite garments. We asked her a few questions about her future plans and what her time at the Workshop has been like.

What is your current occupation? 

I am living in Brighton and work at a sweet shop but about to start a BA in Music at SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

That sounds like great fun! Have you always had an interest in music?

I always had an interest, which came mainly from my mum, who initially had to force me to my violin lessons! But by age 13/14 I was enjoying it and finding my own interest.

 

 

 

 

 

I was definitely the same, it takes a while to get the violin to make a pleasant sound! Do you have an interest in clothing and fashion design? 

Yes, I do! About 6 months ago I bought myself a sewing machine and started making my own clothes. It’s more sustainable making your own things, you can also make things perfectly suited to your own style. I shop for things I can’t buy like winter trousers and underwear but make a lot of my own tops and dresses.

I’m sure there are plenty of lovely fabric shops back home in Brighton. Where do you like to shop if you are looking clothes?

Boutiques, shops where I know things are handmade and unique or second hand. I like Armstrong’s in Edinburgh, Flax Emporium in Brighton is great, they make all their own clothes. I often end up browsing for ideas at Beyond Retro, they do a lot of reworking garments into new things, turning large men’s jackets into dresses and things like that.

What are your favourite Bill Baber Knitwear garments? 

I am wearing a Crew Neck Pullover that I love. I like the S Dress, I would get it in a bright colour and wear it as a dress over bare legs or tights, also the Pico I like but maybe in more neutral colours like Oat, Beige and Ecru.

What have you been up to while you have been working here and what is your favourite machine to use?

The overlocker! I am interested in getting one for myself. I first learned to use the linking machine sewing seams on the Jura Hat and making the bobble. I then started using scrap fabric to start designing a new hat. I am cutting out a pattern and overlocking the pieces together.

 

The first draft of the hat is looking good! What has it been like working at Bill Baber Knitwear? 

I like working with Bill, making things all day and chatting to interesting customers. It’s good to have time to work with the garments between serving customers. It’s calmer than the sweet shop!

 

Thank-you for all your help Mina and good luck with your studies in the big smoke! 

 

 

Here are Mina’s Bill Baber Knitwear picks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Berry S Dress
    Berry S Dress
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    Berry S Dress

    £99.00
  • Oat coloured scottish knitwear
    Oat coloured scottish knitwear
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    Oat Pico Top

    £89.00
  • Raspberry Cashmere & Silk Cape
    Reverse View Raspberry Cashmere & Silk Cape
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    Raspberry Cashmere & Silk Cape

    £199.00
  • Shamrock Alex
    Shamrock Alex
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    Shamrock Alex Top

    £89.00

🍀 Katie’s Workshop Visit!

 

Katie, of Maggie Casey’s Celtic Treasure, visited us at our Workshop during the summer. We gave her a tour of our shop and the Edinburgh Old Town over a beautiful sunny weekend! We are familiar with Katie via social media as she is the go-to model for the Maggie Casey’s store!

Maggie Casey’s is a store we have been stocking for a wee while now. They can be found on Main Street, Smithfield, Virgina. Specialising in Books, Knitwear, Jewellery and other gifts, all their products are sourced from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. We especially love the Jewellery they stock by Heathergems and Amethyst Dublin!

Helen took her through the process of creating a Linen Cape, in a colour of her choosing. Bill was able to show off the beautiful sunny garden he takes care of at the back of our Workshop.

If you ever find yourself in Virginia, we recommend a visit to this charming shop!

Cashmere Collection

 

Some people are surprised to learn that Cashmere yarn comes in fact from a very special breed of hardy mountain-dwelling goat! The Cashmere is made from the fleecy under layer of the goats coat which is carefully teased out with a comb. During the cooler weather, the goats fleece grows, protecting the animal from the harsh conditions with its insulating properties.

Jewel Cashmere & Silk Cape

The Jewel Cashmere & Silk Cape.

Cashmere goats are usually found in nomadic herds across, particularly in Mongolia, China and Iran. There are many different types of Cashmere, environmental factors affect how fine the hairs grow. Where there are harsh winters such as in the Himalayas, the goats grow particularly fine, long hairs which is better for producing Cashmere yarn.

A single goat will only produce around 200g of Cashmere, which you would be lucky to get one jumper out of! Considering the laboursome process to harvest the Cashmere yarns, and that you might need up to 3 goats each year for enough yarn to knit a single garment, its no wonder that the price for this yarn is high.

Cashmere yarns create a lightweight, insulating fabric that resists pilling, making it a popular choice for winter under layers without feeling too bulky. We have used it in our Cape collection, pairing it with the Silk yarns to create beautiful colour combinations.

 

 

We use a high quality yarn, spun at the Todd and Duncan, Loch Levan mill. So far, the Cashmere collection has been very popular, we are excited to start incorporating more Cashmere into the collection.

 

 

 

  • Charcoal Cashmere & Silk Cape
    Reverse View Charcoal Cashmere & Silk Cape
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    Charcoal Cashmere & Silk Cape

    £199.00
  • Denim Cashmere & Silk Cape
    Reverse View Cashmere & Silk Cape
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    Denim Cashmere & Silk Cape

    £199.00
  • Heather Cashmere & Silk Cape
    Reverse View Heather Cashmere & Silk Cape
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    Heather Cashmere & Silk Cape

    £199.00
  • Oat Cashmere & Silk Cape
    Reverse View Oat Cashmere & Silk Cape
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    Oat Cashmere & Silk Cape

    £199.00
  • Raspberry Cashmere & Silk Cape
    Reverse View Raspberry Cashmere & Silk Cape
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    Raspberry Cashmere & Silk Cape

    £199.00

How do you make Linen Yarn?

 

Linen has been cultivated from Flax for at least five Millennia. Linen weaving can be seen in the ancient egyptian paintings dating back to 3,000BC. In fact it was a finely spun line yarn cloth which was used to wrap mummies. It has been a cool and comfortable fabric to wear in the middle east and mentioned in the Bible.

While the Flax plant is relatively easy to grow, it is very labour intensive to process. Early American settlers were growing the Flax plant in the 17th century but by the 18th century, with industrialisation, it was much easier and cheaper to produce cotton.

To this day, Linen is mainly produced in Europe and North Africa with no commercial production in the US.

The Flax plant is an annual crop and grows to it’s full height within 90 days before it turns yellow and is ready to be pulled up. It must be pulled rather than cut so it will retain sap. The stalk is then retted, the woody outer layer is removed using chemicals or water. The stalks are then put through rollers to break off the shives or bark. The inner Flax fiber is then combed. The yarn is then put through a wheel frame and spun onto spools.

Linen is one of our favourite yarns to work with, it is a strong and structured yarn, with a beautiful texture. We use it in almost all out garments and recently it has been given the spotlight in our 100% Linen Capes.

 

  • Arklow Cape
    Arklow Cape
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    Arklow Cape

    £99.00
  • Ecru Cape
    Ecru Cape
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    Ecru Cape

    £99.00
  • Moss Cape
    Moss Cape
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    Moss Cape

    £99.00
  • Skerries Cape
    Skerries Cape
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    Skerries Cape

    £99.00
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