Pre-Christmas, I asked people to recommend their favourite shops in Bude, places that go over and above the call of duty in providing consistently good service to customers.
The plan was to visit the winning shop, interview the owner and write an article. I’m well aware that I have not yet had time to do so and it is now March, so I’m writing something anyway, without the visit. The visit will come later, as this shop is indeed fascinating …
The winner was The Costume Rooms owned by Michelle Barker, whose passion is creating accurate replicas of Georgian costumes.
I first encountered Michelle some years ago at a Bude Castle exhibition on Heritage Day, fascinated by her work on the authentic-looking costumes she was creating as we watched. The workshop has been researching and studying eighteenth-century costume for over 6 years now. She is intrigued by three questions:
- How was Georgian costume made?
2. What variations are there in the patterns as the fashions changed throughout the century?
3. Why on earth did they sew that item like that?
On the website, Michelle writes: from Edinburgh to Totnes, we have visited costume museums and had countless study sessions. We have studied over 20 pairs of stays, have looked at over 100 garments, have taken actual patterns from about four 1760s sack backs alone (in a desire to see if there’s a similarity between pattern shapes) and have looked into the development of inner tailoring techniques between the 1760s and 1780s in menswear. We also have well over 30 patterns in our ever-growing collection that have been taken from original garments. It’s become a bit of a passion really.
You don’t say, Michelle!
More amazing stuff about the fine details of the costumes on the Handbound Costume site.
Situated on the Strand in Bude, the idea of this quirky gift shop, combined with a costume workshop, was born from a passion for fashion history and classical literature, a life-long love of sewing and all things crafty allied with a desire to share the joy that can be found in the gift of giving. Michelle loves stationery and it shows – her shop is full of it. MY big issue everywhere is that it is really hard to get letter-writing stationery these days as I guess no one writes letters any more.