Friday, 27 July 2012


So the grand opening ceremony is tonight.  Lydia has been to the rehearsal and is staying mum, but says the wild flower meadow is fabulous.  I don't think she spotted Regina, but if you look closely tonight you might see here - will she wearing her nurse's unifrom?  Who knows?  Meanwhile Ruth volunteered to help out with the alterations to the costumes (well done, Ruth!).  This is what she had to say about it:

"Turning up, going through a couple of layers of security at Three Mills, passport in hand and signing in front of two witnessed the official secrets act I know I was going to be privy to something very cool.

I was asked about whether I could work a sewing machine and off we went. My eyes were like saucers walking through what I can only describe as a fancy dress warehouse on acid.  I had never seen so many amazing costumes up close. Huge towering flamboyant outfits, sparkly, shiny, feathery and glittery in equal measure.  It reminded me of someone's dreams brought to life.

Two french Costumers (people who make and work with costumes all day) guided me and I was off, working on some very bright fabric, made into very slippery outfits, which were very tricky to sew. My nerves, and the needle were put to the test.  I have to say it was the most complex sort of sewing I have ever done but great to cut your 'sewing teeth' on the opening ceremony costumes. Needless to say the needle got broken a couple of times and I actually broke a sweat. Appropriate for the Olympics.

I asked how many outfits there were to do of this particular style, and the reply came back, "Cinq cent".  I thought that sounded pretty manageable until I realised it was 500 and not 15. The sweats were back and the needle was broken again, I went off for a well earned break. The place was staffed by volunteers as all the official costume people had gone home for the day. I was pleased to hear there were complimentary snacks, less pleased when I found out they were pot noodles.  So So not Olympic!

On my way back to start outfit number 5 of 500, I had a very wide eyed walk around the whole warehouse. Obviously not being able to take photos meant I committed a lot of very ostentatious outfits to memory and will be pointing and waving at the TV tonightand saying " I touched that, I sewed that, I tripped over that.

I managed to sew about 20 outfits in total in 5 hours. It was somewhat reminiscent of a very glamorous sweatshop because of the volume of outfits, but it was the most enjoyable sewing experience I have had the pleasure of taking part in. They even asked me to go back, so my stitching can't have been that bad now, can it?"

Oh, and we did manage to ring All the Bells, so we can honestly say we've done our bit for art. We made a mighty noise for three minutes on the top of the Mound in Mile End Park with some very imaginative bells - I think the cow bell was my favourite.  Then we did what any self respecting WI lady would do:  we went off for a cup of tea and a bite of something...

Next up, fireworks.


  1. Hey Colleen,
    Thanks for asking me to write about my Olympic sewing experience. It was great to get involved. The Opening ceremony was fantastic wasn't it! Glad you rang all the bells, an 08.12am start was a little early for me. Cheerio.

    Love and Lycra Ruth x

  2. Willy Wonka Bonkers! Loved the inclusivity of it all. Fab costumes.

    Thought the Cameroon team should have got a gold medal for their outfits; and the Czechs a consolation prize for those wellies

  3. Look at all of your bells - they look fabulous! I had such a chuckle at the creative "ringtone bells". x