September 30, 2013

The Humility Bead

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 4:03 pm by historywardrobe



October 1st and Great War Fashion is published! I don’t yet have a copy in my hands, but I know it’s going to be so thrilling to see it for real, particularly since the designer has done such a beautiful job with the photographs and textile textures.

Researching and writing the book was an immensely intense period.  There were always more sources and stories I wanted to include.  I have been astonished at the wealth and depth of material available on the subject of fashion on the Home Front in WW1.  Since completing it my insights (and my costume collection) have grown.  I’ll be sharing the gorgeous gowns, uniforms and accessories at a hands-on workshop soon.

The topic of Great War Fashion – women’s lives in WW1 through their clothes – is irresistible and I know interest is going to be great as the 1914-2014 commemoration approaches.  And so I come to the title of my blog piece – the Humility Bead.  

It is said that in the past every beaded garment made, whether bag, ball gown or belt, would have one bead out of place.  Perhaps the wrong size, the wrong colour or wrong position.  This bead was known as the Humility Bead, to show that only God is perfect.

I have no aspirations to perfection, but I swear I read and re-read the text of Great War Fashion, scouring it for typos and errors.  Then the copy-editor set to work.  Alas, despite these endeavours, I now see my work is woven with a design containing more than one spot of humility.  As the author of five published novels I’m already aware that errors are cunning and can slip through the narrowest net.  Mostly readers don’t even notice.  Although I’m usually the sort to splutter over a misplaced apostrophe I think I’ll now do well to accept the “things that cannot be changed”.  I am resolved to wallow in what’s wonderful about the book and follow the advice of the late Steve Jobs – “Just resolve to do the next thing better.”

I know that the stories are worth telling, the images are worth admiring, and the unique research gives new life to lives long passed into history.  For every bead out of place there are thousands more that shine delightfully!

Yours humbly…


September 10, 2013

New Book – New Website!

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:42 pm by historywardrobe

The Great War Fashion website is now live! Not long now till publication (October 1st). You can visit to find out more about the book, and to discover where there’s an author talk near you.