October 2009 – 88th Birthday


Members were joined at this meeting by WI members from Felixtowe morning, Brackenbury, Bucklesham and Nacton as our branch was celebrating its 88th Birthday.
Representatives from other local clubs and organisations had also been invited, and all 42 ladies present watched Pam Dickerson cut the birthday cake, and wish the branch well for the future.

Our guest speaker, Joan Lumkin, was well known to many of those present as a superb craftswoman. She sells her beautiful pieces at craft fairs and shows her work at exhibitions. It was interesting to learn how her lifelong interest started and developed .
Among her earliest memories, Joan told us how as a child of 4 or 5 years, she loved ‘dressing’ pegs dolls with her father’s handkerchiefs. Her favourite lessons at school were needlework and sewing.
On leaving school, she went to work for Jaeger and so impressed her employers that she was given the opportunity to take a four year college course, where she learned dress design and dressmaking. She showed examples of her course work – four different hems, all of which looked perfect to us, but one of them was only marked 6/10 !
While working for Jaeger, Joan added as an afterthought, she had made clothes for Stirling Moss, and a kilt for Prince Charles.
Joan then went on to show dresses which she had made for her baby daughter. One of them had been made from her own wedding dress, and this gave her the idea of setting up a business making wedding dresses. She was obviously in great demand, as she brought several photographs of happy brides wearing the gorgeous gowns she had created for them. At one time, she had five wedding dresses, as well as bridesmaids and pageboy outfits on the go!
Now, when a bride dreams of having a dress made in a very unusual colour, what do you do ? Well, you go to to Harrods to have the fabric dyed .The white satin, underlying net and shoes were all dyed to provide the golden apricot colour that her daughter so wanted. . Joan brought the dress to show us, complete with all its handcovered buttons.
Joan is continually getting ideas for new articles that she can make, and now has a large collection of wall hangings, quilts, patchwork teddybears ( including one made from different scraps of wedding dress fabrics ) clothing items in patchwork and covered boxes.

We certainly enjoyed a feast for the eyes with all the beautiful colours and meticulous crafted, inspired examples of needlework with which Mrs. Lumkin illustrated her talk, and she very kindly donated one of her quilts as a raffle prize.

The afternoon finished with a very good afternoon tea, provided by the committee members.

Maddy Rhodes


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