Friday, 31 July 2009

Vintage sewing and embroidery bits

Working in the City has a lot of disadvantages (commuting, train delays, terrorism, numpties etc) but one advantage is that I can walk to Spitalfields Market in my lunch hour.

Thursdays at Spitalfields is antiques day and this month I decided to treat myself.

First off I bought a vintage watch face...
Vintage watch face
It reminds me of my great granny's pocket watch, I love the sparkle. I have plans for this watch face - both mosaic and sewing related - fortunately the choice will not be a torturous one as there are loads more on the same stall so I can always go back for more.

Next up - buttons!

1960s blue button...
1960s button

Pink sparkly buttons...
vintage buttons
Actually these are clear but they have pink in the inside of the holes which shines through the clear bits. They are really very cool.

Pearly buttons...
vintage pearly buttons
On a strange silver foil covered card backing!

Next I found a 1930s embroidery pattern booklet, a freebie with the magazine "Woman's Friend"...
Embroidery transfers from 1930s
There really is not enough use of the word "undies" in the world anymore, don't you think? This little booklet is very cool, can't believe it is almost 80 years old. Some of the transfers have been cut out and used of course but the remaining designs are really good...

Embroidery transfers from 1930s

Embroidery transfers from 1930s

Embroidery transfers from 1930s

Embroidery transfers from 1930s

Embroidery transfers from 1930s

Embroidery transfers from 1930s

Embroidery transfers from 1930s

Embroidery transfers from 1930s

Embroidery transfers from 1930s

I am not going to cut the transfers out, no it's too old and lovely for that. So I have photocopied them and I will create my own transfers from the copy (I say that like I know what I am doing..!) I have saved the copies as a PDF so if anybody would like me to email them a copy of all these designs just drop me a comment or email and I will send them to you.

I also found a 1940s Needlecraft booklet full of great and somewhat old-fashioned design ideas...

Needlecraft booklet from 1940s

An "all purpose" sweater anyone?
Needlecraft booklet from 1940s

Or how about a nice cockeral egg cosy?
Needlecraft booklet from 1940s

Amongst the wartime charm there are some really interesting embroidery ideas which I would love to have the skill to try...

Needlecraft booklet from 1940s

Needlecraft booklet from 1940s

Needlecraft booklet from 1940s

Needlecraft booklet from 1940s

Needlecraft booklet from 1940s

I love the flowers in the background of this one...
Needlecraft booklet from 1940s

Needlecraft booklet from 1940s

This is the advert on the back...
Needlecraft booklet from 1940s

So as you can see I did rather well in my lunch hour yesterday!

Today I have a day off and I have taken over my house with sewing mess. I am making bags, and I have a rather exciting addition to add to them today, more or that over the weekend!

(I have used a different method of posting photos in this entry so please let me know if you have any problems viewing or uploading any of it! Thanks!)

Thursday, 30 July 2009


I have discovered this place.

And now I am having lots of fun...

I can see our house will soon start to resemble a scene from Hitchcock's The Birds. These things are great to hand sew whilst sitting on the sofa.

Tomorrow I have a day off so I am looking forward to getting creative, dying my hair and cleaning the house. Actually that's a lie, I am looking forward to the first one in that list only, the other two just get in the way! I also want to write about my purchases from Spitalfields Antiques market today - I got some great vintage bits, lots to share...lots to photograph.

See you tomorrow blogland!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Day 219: Bags

I don't know why I am obsessed with making bags. Perhaps for the same reasons I am obsessed with buying them.

During my week of creativity last week I made two bags. The first with my favoured grey ikea fabric and upcycled vintage duvet. I really love the soft washed out look of these two fabrics together...

I used the same pattern as for my previous pleated bag so of course it is reversible...

It came out well and I was pleased that I made the whole thing without once referring to the pattern, something must be sticking in that busy mind of mine!

Secondly, I made a mustard coloured bag using some upcycled cushion covers I found in a charity shop in Shoreditch and some paisley brown fabric (splendid in its granny-ness!) from Hobbycraft.

I am very hard to please, especially when it comes to pleasing myself, but I have to say I am rather pleased with how this one came out...

(Er...please ignore general clutter and background mess in above photo!)

I appliqued (at least I think that's what I did, applique remains a total mystery to me..) some "bubbles" of the lining fabric onto the outside...

And I somehow managed to achieve my original aim of having a split in the sides up to the handles...

Then I added a strip of the lining fabric inside the thin-ish handles so that they matched nicely...

Ta da! Very pleased. I have been using it today - I took it on the train, through the city and into work, out at lunchtime and fiddled about with it in the office in the guise of retreiving pens/books/phones etc.

Alas, nobody suddenly dropped everything they were doing to yell, "My goodness but where did you get that fabulous bag!?"
So I couldn't then say "Yah, I made it myself actually.." and await the admiration.

Never mind, it's still a fabulous bag ;)

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Day 218: 100 Acre Wood

Today we took a break. Just the three of us.

We went to look for Winnie the Pooh and all his friends in 100 Acre Wood.

We followed the signs...

...kept an eye out for heffalumps and woozles...

...we played pooh sticks...

...and enjoyed the views...

...we looked for Roo at his Sandy Pit...

...and had a picnic at Galleon's Lap...

Three cheers for Winnie the Pooh, A.A.Milne and E.H.Shepard too!

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Day 217: Creative space

I had hoped to present a photographic record of my creative week today, or rather yesterday, but alas time has once again deserted me. Hey ho.

I have stuck to the promise I made to myself this week and sewed every night. It has been lovely, but hard to fit in around the daily work/parenthood/commuting/sleep etc. I will post photos of my creations later this week.

I have been reading so many blogs this week! I really enjoy reading about other people's creative lives. I especially enjoy nosing around other people's creative spaces. So I thought I'd post a picture of mine. It only needs the one photo as this is the full extent of my workspace...unless of course you count the floor and the sofa, or the garden if I am smashing things for mosaics...

After every period of creativity everything gets packed neat and tidily away to make space for breakfast, working, dinner and blogging. One day I will have my own room and I will exist in happy creative chaos! In the meantime I am slowly and cunningly taking over more and more shelves, drawers and corners with my paraphenalia. Heh heh...

Sunday, 19 July 2009

A bit knackered

Evening light.

It's the end of a long but lovely weekend. We had my husband's mum and her partner and his son come to stay. We didn't do much - a bit of shopping, a lot of playing with lego, a bit of Wii and a lot of nattering, but I am absolutely shattered, two nights on an air bed have taken their toll.

So there will be no tile nipping or sewing this evening, just a long hot bath and a very early night.

Tomorrow is Monday, the start of a new week and a new challenge for myself: I am going to do 2-3 hours of sewing every night this week. The only way to really learn is to make the time. I find it really relaxing so it'll also force me to chill out of an evening, rather than hurtling around like a loon doing washing-up and tidying things.

Night night, blogland xx

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Day 207: Experimental upcycling

I love fabric. I really do. I love shiny tiles and pretty fabric.


But, at risk of sounding like an ageing hippy, I, like, totally love the environment too. Far out, man.

So I have started to think more carefully about my materials. I like to browse charity shops, I am forever gathering old china to break up for mosaics. Recently I have started to find some old clothes and fabrics too, which I have been taking home, washing and airing. But the best bit is when I begin to cut them up; suddenly a fuddy old skirt turns into a lovely red cord fabric, or an old boob-tube is suddenly a lovely lining fabric, or a vintage duvet makes over four metres of quality printed fabric.

I really enjoying turning something old and unwanted into something new and..well, lets face it, a bit wonky, but loved all the same.

Over the last few days I have made a little pouch thing...

Here's the inside...It is made from an old cord skirt and the aforementioned boob-tube. I cut it free hand and made it up as I went along. Really bad idea. It is all very wonky and the only reason it has that lovely wide band around the top is to hide the fact I stretched the fabric too much whilst doing the top-stitching, which caused the edges to curl.

Next up some hand sewing! I cannot just sit and watch television. I find it utterly impssible. Don't get me wrong, I love the telly (I'm watching Who Do You Think You Are as I type) but I cannot watch it without my hands being occupied. On Saturday night I was watching a film so I decided to hand sew a little pouch...

This fabric is just plain old cotton. Well ok, plain old gorgeous yummy cotton. The pink is Cath Kidston and the blue is from Hobbycraft.
Maybe I shall use it to keep sweets in.