Bloomsbury, book review, Books, dressmaking, Jo Barnfield, make your own, Patterns, retro styling, sewing, sewing book, The vintage pattern selector, vintage

The vintage pattern selector – book review

I saw this in a bookshop a few months ago, it has been on my wish list for a long time – finally arrived today. 

I love the way the patterns can be mixed up and used to create a style of your own. (not yet had time to try out the patterns) but the book itself has a brief outline of the various styles over the decades and patterns to match. 

I really struggle with patterns now, since learning to make my own dummy to work on it has been so much easier to adapt and make my own things – it is just a case of time to do it. 

For a while now I have been playing with french knickers, and I have to admit my first attempt were more bloomers than the sultry silky look I was aiming for so the french knicker pattern might be the one I start with. 

It is a great book, very clear instructions and the patterns are worth the cost of the book it contains 15 digital patterns all for the price of £11 – that is a bargain. Will add to the post when I have used the patterns and let you know how it all goes. 

art, art books, book review, Books, crafting books, creative, doodling, photography, vintage, vintage projects

Homespun Vintage – Book Review

I love books and there is nothing I enjoy more than sitting in Waterstones with a pile of books to browse through, a cooling latte at my elbow and time to relax!

My family know me so well that they give me book vouchers for Christmas – to me they are a ticket to adventure – book shops are just like travel shops each one offers an experience to travel from your armchair! This morning I spent a very happy hour, (always best alone so I am not dragged out! I can browse for a long time without feeling guilty!) in Waterstones Chichester.

I found this delightful book by Jane Crowfoot, the photography is delightful – giving crochet and knitting projects that charm. She has caught the vintage trend very well, but has broadened it out with folksy projects (Folk Tales) alongside Art Deco (Two tone Chic), and modern vibrant retro vintage (Time for Tea) to create a timeless collection of patterns and designs that are inspiring and will have knitters and hookers reaching for their wool.

Adventures, Charlotte Lyons, cotton, fabric, Kokka, linenen, project, projects, Robert Kaufman, sewing, Trefle, union jack, vintage

Saturday Shopping

It was my birthday on Friday and lovely A gave me a voucher to spend at the Eternal maker, so I spent Saturday afternoon browsing round the delights of the shop, I adore the table laden with china cups filled with  a wide variety of buttons, or the cosy corner of ribbons of every tone and shade which makes me feel like a hunter gatherer if only for fabric, ribbon and felt.  Saturday was such a dull overcast day, typical of January that it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon, T came along too and we followed the visit with tea and cake in a nearby cafe to thaw our fingers and toes. (If you intend a visit it is well worth investing in several layers, the shop is not very warm and I had to give up once the cold had seeped into my bones!) 
The biggest difficulty I have is can be a struggle to find fabric and notions that match my ideas, I have lost count of the number of times I have desperately searched the shelves of fabric stores only to have to give up my project simply because the fabric to bring it to life is elusive. Ideas often perplex shop keepers, I have often heard them exclaim “no-one has ever asked me that in all my years owning this shop” or “why on earth would you want to do that?” so EM is a welcome relief, the staff are so helpful and when I told them what I had in mind, their expert knowledge of the wide range of fabric for sale, some of which journeys from as far away as Japan; soon had me smiling with pleasure. Not only that, but suggestions and exchange of ideas flowed easily, I always feel I leave the shop with a friend behind me. 

I gathered these lovely cotton ribbons together, I was particularly delighted with the red and blue ribbon at the bottom because it was exactly what my project needed. 

This fabric is called the vintage workshop, I love the combination of pattern pieces alongside vintage sewing instructions. It is an Amy Barakman design from Red Rooster fabrics. 

I simply could not resist this Trefle crazy sewing pattern by kokka, my inner compulsiveness struggles with the upside-down design, but I love the retro colouring and style. It reminds me of the french schoolbook I had back in the seventies!  I love this pattern because it offers so many colour combinations to pick out from the lovely bright reds to the pale blues and lime green. 
These lovely notions are so beautiful that I will struggle to cut this design up! I love the little buttons and the keys, it is simply delightful. It is a Charlotte lyons design from Blend, called walnut farm. 
So that is most of my supplies in order, now with a little sketching and research, I am almost ready to begin, but I can’t tell you what it is just yet, you shall have to wait and see. 

Adventures, charity finds, china, domestic, lemon, lemon juicer, vintage

Vintage find

It was the local animal hospital charity Christmas fair this weekend, I went along with T and it was a treasure trove of bric a brac, clothing and books! We barely had room in the boot to take our loot home! 
This delightful little juicer was an irresistible find and it works beautifully. I love the colours and decoration but I am not too sure about its age, it could be as early as a fifties piece or it could be from the seventies. 

The top plate is shaped perfectly for juicing and the little holes let the juice through and keeping the pips in the plate. 

The top comes off leaving the bottom an easy poring jug, it is a delight to use, one of those domestic gadgets I shall use time and time again. 
bobbins, buttons, Christmas decoration, cotton reels, hand made, recycled, vintage

shhh…

I have been playing all day with my glue gun, it has been a delightful pleasure. I bought these little wooden cotton reels back in the summer from ebay. However when they arrived they were too small for ribbon storage and they have remained stored away in a box until I saw the cover of hand made magazine this month. 
I love the nordic blue for a Christmas colour scheme, it works with both white and a deep red. I also have collected some pretty ribbons and vintage buttons. 
I simply cannot resist buttons in charity shops, they have a story all of their own. When I was a child I played with my Nanna’s button box and I used to love the pretty glass ones, it has created a bit of a collection which I keep by colour in little glass jars. (spice jars seem to be just the right size and these little pots of colour look so pretty on the shelf. 
I love my glue gun it makes such quick work, as it gives instant results. Cut strips the width of the reel, pinking sheers make such a nice edge. If you glue a small amount each time and press the fabric with your finger. 
You can decorate the edge with a button, and thread the braid through the holes and tie it in a knot. Add some glue down the hole and push the knot in, add a tiny bit more glue and hold the button down hard on the top of the reel. This will keep the tread in place firmly so you can hang the reel. 
You can use ribbon too I bought this vintage set from the dotcomgiftshop. I am very pleased with the results and they have a lovely hand made feel. Keep quiet though, it’s not quite Christmas yet! 

art, birds, blue and white, charity shop finds, chic, country style, craft, customising, design, flowers, recycling, shabby chic, sharpie pens, vintage

Table revamp

I love the curves of this table, painting furniture white always brings out the form of a piece of furniture and I find it extremely satisfying. I drew the design using a sharpie pen, just doodling the flowers and the birds. Afterwards I sealed the pen design with clear varnish. It is such an easy thing to do, and it really can transform an ordinary object into a work of art. 

brooch, fabric, fabric scraps, hand made, hand sewing, hand stitched, kath Kidston, life lessons, suffolk puff, vintage, vintage chic, yo yo

In praise of hand stitching

These little lovelies were inspired by the pretty one I bought yesterday. I do love my sewing machine but it is so easy to get caught up in trying to avoid as much hand sewing as possible in order to get things made. Hand stitching is easier in a lot of ways when it comes to smaller scale items, and it wasn’t until I was sitting on the sofa stitching away while enjoying a film that I realised how transportable hand sewing is. 
I think the pace of making something stitch by stitch is so satisfying, it feels like more of a connection somehow. You can really make the stitches almost invisible in a way that machine stitching can’t achieve, and it is why most couture garments are still hand sewn today. 

What I most like about these projects is that they are made from scraps of material that are too small to make into anything else. I love this vintage rose fabric so much that throwing it away seems such a difficult thing to do. What I like most is drawing out different aspects of the colours. Photographed with a blue background brings out the cool tones. I like the way the red dot fabric draws the red of the rose out but the roses are more subtle when surrounded by the blue stripe. 
It was while I was investigating pictures to do with hand stitching I came across this marvellous site, it is a needlework encyclopaedia and looks to have been written in the late 18th early 19th Century. It is a wonderful find; I have enjoyed reading all about the joys of needle work, especially the following advice: 
“Long experience has convinced me that no kind of needlework necessitates a stooping or cramped attitude. To obviate which, see that your chair and table suit each other in height, and that you so hold your work as hardly to need to bend your head at all. The practice of fastening the work to the knee, besides being ungraceful, is injurious to the health.”I thought ergonomics was a modern invention, it is good advice though, especially if you, like me, intend to indulge the joys of hand sewing. 

As you can see, I am getting better with each one, this one is made from lovely Clarke and Clarke fabric with some gorgeously soft tweed, the tweed matches a coat I have. I love the middle button it is one of Tilda’s collection of brads. I am making quite a few for Christmas presents. 

craft, craft fair, craft stalls, decoration, fabric flowers, flower, life lessons, notebook, present, recycling, sew, sewing, stitch, suffolk puff, vintage, Vintage fair, yo yo

Sew Little

On Saturday there was a little vintage fair and I found this little beautiful pin; it is hand stitched to perfection using soft vintage fabrics. I fell in love with most of the things on her stall, she sews everything by hand with her daughter. You can find her website here she has a lovely eye for mixing vintage finds that delight the eye, but she was also great to chat to. She liked the strawberries on my shopping basket, I offered to send her the pattern. 
That is what I like about vintage fairs, it is the opportunity to talk to like minded souls, exchange ideas and even skills. I have been considering painting my dressers for a long time, and it is one of the skills that Connie Bee is wiling to share in return for me teaching her to crochet. 
I also bought this lovely notebook the fabric is so pretty and the stitching is so neat it made me really inspired to make something of my own. 
It only saddens me that there aren’t more people clamouring to buy these home made beauties. They are an opportunity for us to give our cash which gives encouragement to someone’s dream rather than the ‘global’ trade to some meaningless organisation. 
Etsy and its UK version Misi are a wonderful on line version of the vintage fair, but you simply cannot beat a good chat over a stall with a likeminded soul or even over a cup of tea and home made cake. 

apple jelly, blue and white china, chutney, domesticity, home, home made, jam making, jars, recipe, recipies, vintage, What's cooking

Jamming!

I have been rather remiss of late, these lovely pots of jelly are made from L’s apples growing in her garden. We really enjoyed the mint jelly at the Apple fair at West Dean so I thought I would try and make my own. Apples are a great fruit to use in jam making as their high pectin levels set so easily. I had some scraps of this lovely blue rose vintage style fabric which I simply cannot bear to throw away, such a great use of scraps. 
The cow creamer is a burleigh design, and one of my favourites it always makes me smile when the milk comes out of the cow’s mouth! The little tea pot on the right is one of a pair my son gave me a few Christmases ago. I really do love blue and white china. 
Apple jelly is great to use with pork, but I decided to omit the mint this time. The cupboard is getting quite full now, but the supply of jars is still coming thick and fast from friends! (I think it is the hope that they will be returned full!) I am planning to start on mincemeat soon, I have never made it before but as A adores mince pies I thought it would be fun to try. 
As you can see my little dresser creates a great back drop for my jam, the little teapot on the right is a lovely gift from my son, and the chicken on the left was something I picked up in the lovely craft village in Broadwindsor a few years ago. I really must get round to painting my dresser soon; I feel it really shows off the shape of the furniture much better, but it is finding the time! Anyway, it is nice to have plans, and the sofa needs a new loose cover first. 

applique, button, craft, home made, needle, needle book, needle case, needle holder, sewing, stitching, vintage

A case for vintage re-incarnation

I simply struggle to resist the little napkins and tablecloths that are on the shelves of charity shops for pennies. They are the refugees of an era where families all sat round the dinner table and ate with napkins and linen table cloths. I am so pleased that the crisp white linen table cloths had long gone as my children could never keep their spaghetti on a plate! How they managed to keep the linen in such white pristine condition with no washing machines shows they had skills way beyond my abilities even with my eco bubble samsung! 
I love to find new lives for these poor refugees, and this one is a little needle case. You can gauge how small it is by the size of the stitches. I cut round the appliqué leaving a seam allowance and then used a modern vintage styled fabric that was in keeping, fabricland has lots of different varieties at the moment, all thanks to Kath Kidston. I backed it with the extra stiff iron on interfacing you use to make curtain pelmets it gives the needle book a good solid shape. The button was from my stash, and like everything I remember buying it at one of those craft outlets in Dorset, a small sideline for a potter and so lovely.