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  2. Savile Row tailoring
  3. Albert Karoll is preserving the old-fashioned craft of making bespoke clothing.

Everything went, sooner or later; the small animals tended to last longer than the large ones, but eventually all that was left were some particularly hardy plants, and the butterflies. By the next year the butterflies were swarming enough to block out the summer sun, and Disease Control began to intervene. The slow, steady disappearance of plants and animals was the only lasting problem from all the Vagabonding.

Plugs were more loyal to their mission than the people who employed them, and if someone had to die in the line of work they were usually happy to do it. If they died, glory; if they lived, money. Petra measured a plug once German Renaissance, which seemed a pointless place to visit, but Petra didn't make the rules. He didn't say a word for the first hour. Then he said, "The cuffs go two inches past the wrist, not one and a half. The client came back the next year with a yen for Colonial America. He brought two different plugs with him. What do you think of that? When Petra was very young she'd taken her mother's sewing machine apart and put it back together.

After that it didn't squeak, and Petra and her long thin fingers were sent to the tailor's place downtown for apprenticeship. Why—" Simone looked away and blew air through her teeth. O'Rourke decided at last on an era 18th-century Kyoto, so the historian must have been really good looking after all , and Simone insisted on several planning sessions before the staff was even brought in for dressing. Petra was assigned to the counter, and while Simone kept Ms.

O'Rourke in the main room with the curtains discreetly drawn, Petra spent a week rewinding ribbons on their spools and looking at the portfolios of Italian armor-makers. Simone was considering buying a set to be able to gauge the best wadding for the vests beneath. Petra looked at the joints, imagined the pivots as the arm moved back and forth.

She wondered if the French hadn't had a better sense of how the body moved; some of the Italian stuff just looked like an excuse for filigree. He turned and presented his back to her—three arrows stuck out from the left shoulder blade, four from the right. It's a souvenir. I'd like to keep them. Doctors said it was fine, nothing important was pierced. Simone seemed surprised by the attempt at conversation after five years she was still surprised.

Petra was surprised the first time she saw a Bore team in the shop—the Vagabond, the Historian, the translator, two plugs, and a "Consultant" whose job was ostensibly to provide a life story for the client, but who spent three hours insisting that Roman women could have worn corsets if the Empire had sailed far enough. The Historian was either too stupid or too smart to argue, and Petra's protest had been cut short by Simone stepping forward to suggest they discuss jewelry for the Historian and plausible wardrobe for the plugs.

Plugs were always working-class, even Petra knew that—in case you had to stay behind and fix things for a noble who'd mangled the past, you didn't want to run the risk of a rival faction calling for your head, which they tended strongly to do. Petra tallied the cost of the wardrobe for a Roman household: a million in material and labor, another half a million in jewelry. With salaries for the entourage and the fees for machine management and operation, his vacation would cost him ten million. Ten million to go back in time in lovely clothes, and not be allowed to change a thing.

Petra, please show the gentlemen out. I think I'll be staying here. The Institute has already asked me to come and speak about the importance of knowing your escape plan in an emergency, and believe me, I know it. Bei doesn't mention his plugs," Petra said, feeling a little sick. She dropped her copy of the paper on Petra's desk. The curve on that back seam looks like a six-year-old made it. Tibi cornered Petra at the Threaders' Guild meeting.

Tibi worked at Mansion, which outfitted Vagabonders with a lot more pomp and circumstance than Simone did. Tibi had a dead butterfly pinned to her dress, and when she hugged Petra it left a dusting of pale green on Petra's shoulder. Holding up? O'Rourke's kimono is ready for you to look at," Petra said, bringing the mannequin to Simone's desk. A moment later Simone slammed a hand on her desk. The hair ornament I need is a reproduction.

Because naturally a reproduction is indistinguishable from an original. The people of Kyoto will never notice. Are they hiring antiques dealers out of primary school these days? Simone pushed away from the desk in disgust and left through the door to the shop, heels clicking. Petra smoothed the front of the kimono. It was heavy grey silk, painted with cherry blossoms and chrysanthemums. We have customers who will pay a lot and who will give us time to make the best product possible. I asked him what faults he was finding in the jacket. He hesitated, but I pressed him.

He then explained that the stitching around the buttonholes was very rough, and that this is such a basic mistake that it even has a name: the squashed bug. As Taub analyzed the jacket, I realized that there were also differences between what I had asked the tailor to do and what he had actually done.

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For instance, I had asked him to sew the canvas, which gives the jacket much of its shape, and not to fuse it, since the latter can cause the jacket to begin puckering after a few years. The tailor had told me that he had done as I requested, but Taub said that this was not the case. He said that he had not expected I would find out about the fusing.

He sounded angry at me, as if I had created a problem for myself.

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After looking at the jacket, Taub suggested that it might be best that I not try to have replicated one of the more challenging garments he had displayed on his blog. Maybe I should try to get a traditional suit made, instead. Most tailors can make some semblance of a suit, he explained. He suggested that the best way for a not-so-great tailor to show off his abilities would be by doing what he already does well.

I began to think that I should abandon my project. I no longer believed that a tailor in the developing world could make a Savile Row—level garment, and the essential unfairness of asking somebody in India to try to do so felt increasingly clear. A high-quality suit made with high-quality cloth, wherever it was made, was bound to cost at least six or seven hundred dollars. Still, something had happened to me. I had become like a child who wants one particular toy and dreams of it all the time. I somehow knew, intellectually, that what I wanted was not going to happen, and yet I continued down the path I was on.

I began searching the Web to see who in Vietnam tried to operate at the standards of Savile Row. Eventually, I found Luis Antonio Torres, an intensely dapper fellow who grew up in California but now lives in Saigon, where he runs a business making private-label garments for brands such as Barneys New York and United Arrows. He also has a small shop for bespoke clothing and an eponymous ready-to-wear line. Unlike Taub, who is a fourth-generation tailor and has a hands-on background in the construction of clothes, Torres is focussed on business though he has great taste and knows an enormous amount.

He came to Vietnam because he was trying to pair Vietnamese factories with American companies that wanted very high-quality clothes. Every resource that I checked suggested that Torres was the person in Vietnam who was most likely to be able to produce a suit that approached Savile Row quality. When I spoke to him about my article, he told me that it would cost seven hundred dollars to construct the jacket and a hundred and eighty dollars to construct the pants. I would have to pay for the cloth as well. Shipping to the U. Until then, the most expensive garment I had ever owned was a suit that cost five hundred and fifty dollars.

When I went there, one evening in August, the garments were laid out on tables: linen shorts with tuxedo tabs to tighten and let out the waist, because the leather of a belt seems rough against the gentleness of linen , lovely shirts whose buttonholes were hand-sewn. This happens regularly, Torres told me.

I showed him the blue superfine wool cloth that I had brought with me for my suit. He looked at it with interest and began taking my measurements. A very pretty young woman in a skirt stood beside him and wrote down numbers as he called them out. A few days later, I returned to the shop. This time, Torres asked me to put on a trial jacket. He sat on a stool and had me button the coat and raise my arms.

As he made me turn this way and that, he kept marking up the garment with a piece of chalk. On my previous visit, he had asked his employees to adjust one of the shoulders a quarter inch, because my right shoulder is lower than my left, but the alteration had not been built in. The total cost of the suit, a simple single-breasted one, with Milanese buttonholes, was going to be about fifteen hundred dollars, and I was feeling foolish for spending so much money, so this little mistake made me worry.

Torres, however, was both calming and professional.


He struck me as having the soothing, nonjudgmental manner of a therapist. At one point, I told him that I hoped to lose weight. At the end of September, I received a second trial jacket in the mail. While the first one had been snug, this one felt like it had been made for someone else. Winn rated it really liked it. An intriguing look at time travel.

Savile Row tailoring

Maria is a bit of a loner. She likes to talk to animals and objects. A special picture turns her ramblings into something else and Maria is finding out about a different age and time. Good story. Beautiful, brilliant book! Couldn't stop highlighting passages! Can't wait to read more Penelope Lively books!

I really enjoyed this book even though it is written for children. Maria is an only child and is fond of being on her own so that she can think her own thoughts. She talks to animals and to inanimate objects and is always being told off for muttering to herself. She and her parents travel to Lyme Regis for a summer holiday and stay in a house which hasn't changed much since the Victorian era. Maria can here a swing creaking in the garden even though there isn't one and she gets the feeling that I really enjoyed this book even though it is written for children. Maria can here a swing creaking in the garden even though there isn't one and she gets the feeling that people are still around who used to live in the house.

Maria makes friends with Martin who is staying with his family in the guest house next door and together they explore the beach and collect fossils, pooling their knowledge. Gradually Maria relaxes and enjoys her holiday but she is still aware of noises which other people can't hear. This is a charming story with enough in it to keep an adult interested which once again goes to show that a good story is a good story for any age group. Many people who were shy as children will be able to relate to many of Maria's feelings and her sense of not really understanding adults and how they think and behave.

The book has some interesting things to say about the nature of time and how past present and future are not necessarily a straight line. Sep 07, Bette rated it really liked it Shelves: audiobooks. I loved this book. It was charming, imaginative, and written in a way that was fun for me as an adult. The Lyme Regis setting, with its history of fossil hunting, reminded me a bit of Tracy Chevalier's "Remarkable Creatures," which I also enjoyed.

I'm a fan of Lively's adult books. I think I liked this even more than her adult books! Sian Phillips does a wonderful job of narrating the audiobook. Highly recommended. Apr 08, Chris rated it it was amazing Shelves: fantasy. Maria is prone, much as the young Penelope Low did in Egypt, to having conversations with objects and animals in lieu of friends and siblings, which her rather distant parents construe as mumblings.

Albert Karoll is preserving the old-fashioned craft of making bespoke clothing.

But Maria is also an unusual auditory sensitive who hears sounds no one else hears; these noises include the squeak of a swing in the garden, the playing of the piano and the barking of a dog. But all the while Maria is becoming obsessed with one time inhabitants of their holiday home, Victorian sisters Susan and Harriet. In particular, what happened to Harriet?

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  • Is the answer in the landscape around Lyme — the fossils, the geology, the underlying morphology of the cliffs? And why can only she hear echoes of the past in her ammonite-shaped cochleae? A Stitch in Time is a beautifully written novel. How does Lively weave a story around Maria?

    Like any good author she includes a number of vibrantly coloured strands. Principally there is the recurrent image of the ammonite, a fossil plentiful in the rocks around Lyme; here is a natural spiral which could have suggested a tale of parallel lives separated by a hundred and ten years — though of course the match can never be exact.

    There are also the parallel lives of author and fictional character, though unlike Maria in the story the young Penelope was not to make real friends at boarding school in England, having to wait until she went to Oxford. Other elements show up, scraps of odd material that somehow get drawn into the story.


    Perhaps Lively picked up on the legend of the Black Dog of Lyme: and though her black dog only shares a colour, not a backstory, with the local tale, it does function as an omen — just what it presages is not clear till the very end. The fact is, while it includes some autobiography, some science and of course some fantasy, it mixes these elements in very different and individual ways. And it was such a delight to read — certainly one to read again. Mar 15, Julia rated it it was amazing. A Stitch In Time by Penelope Lively is a children's classic that can be enjoyed by anyone at any time.

    First published in , the action in this timeless classic is in It is set over the summer holidays in Lyme Regis. Life was simpler then - with picnics, hide and seek, books on rainy afternoons, collecting fossils. No modern technology or disturbance from mobile phones. The two holidaying families contrast sharply. Maria and her parents are quiet. Martin and his family are loud and gregar A Stitch In Time by Penelope Lively is a children's classic that can be enjoyed by anyone at any time.

    Martin and his family are loud and gregarious. Childhood is a carefree time where we make memories. It is also a time of over active imaginations and imaginary friends. Children seem more sensitive to the past whereas adults concentrate on the here and now. A Stitch In Time is a delightful read that transported me back to my childhood. Like Maria in the story, I too was eleven in the summer of A children's classic to be forever enjoyed by generations of adults and children alike. Dec 24, Juushika rated it really liked it Shelves: genre-mg-and-ya , genre-fantasy , status-borrowed , seasonal-summer.

    On summer vacation with her family, a girl stumbles into memories of a Victorian girl who once lived at their beach house. This slipping, fuzzy, not-quite-speculative premise could be frustrating, but it isn't; it has a satisfying conclusion, but more importantly it marries perfectly to the book's tone. Lively shows her protagonist profound respect, and fully inhabits her inner landscape: the intense privacy; the fluidity of personal growth and the snapshot moments which build a life.

    It works w On summer vacation with her family, a girl stumbles into memories of a Victorian girl who once lived at their beach house. It works well alongside the precise details that evoke the setting and the gentle criticisms innate to the characterization. This is a gentle, unassuming book which renders an immersive PoV.

    Oct 12, Katrina rated it it was amazing. A worthy Whitbread winner. A pleasant, if perhaps slightly dated, story of the summer holiday at the English seashore of an only child of older parents, with few friends it seems. Maria strikes up conversations with not just animals, but inanimate objects as well; at first I had thought she had special abilities, though later I wasn't so sure. Too bad Lively didn't make her into a series as she and her new pal Martin made an engaging pair. Audiobook definitely recommended for the terrific narration by actress Sian Phillip A pleasant, if perhaps slightly dated, story of the summer holiday at the English seashore of an only child of older parents, with few friends it seems.

    Audiobook definitely recommended for the terrific narration by actress Sian Phillips! Mar 26, Lisa rated it really liked it Shelves: c20th , library-book-or-loan , britain. A perfect little novel, a small treasure about a rather lonely little girl with an over-active imagination. Superb characterisation. May 02, Ashley rated it liked it. A very enchanting book about a girl's whose imagination and reality seem to blend together seamlessly. Maria is an only child and is frequently alone with her thoughts, having conversations with animals or objects.