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Monday, 28 February 2011

A Mixed Bag

Here's this week's project! I've been looking for a mannequin (with no head or arms!) for ages and a couple of weeks agao I finally found one. Then, this weekend I found a load of french fashion/sewing magazines in the local market. They're from the 1940's and early 50's and are FABULOUS. I had to restrain myself and not buy the lot. Anyway, I'm thinking that a few of them collaged onto my naked mannequin will be rather chic and will make a tall centrepiece for my Open House display.

My worry is what to stick them with? The paper that they are printed on is quite thin and rough - more newspaper than magazine quality - presumably because they are all from the end of the War and paper was scarce. I'm worried that the wrong glue will make the colours run or make the print on the reverse show through. Any thoughts on this gratefully accepted! I'll pluck up the courage to make a start in the next couple of days so I'll keep you posted.

It's been a bit of a bumper few days, I've sewn loads of lavender postcards for the shop...
Lined a vintage hamper with some lovely vintage fabric, also for the shop although I was thinking it would make a lovely sewing basket...
and found an old Tufty Club educational jigsaw to go on the wall.
I do love a mooch around a market!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


I love haberdashery but there's only space for so much and then it needs sorting out! So I have finally tackled the mountain of vintage bits and bobs that I have been accumulating over the years and started to put them together. I've been making cards for the shop and then combining vintage buttons and vintage trims in a (hopefully) useful way so that they can go out into the world to embellish someone else's life!

I've found some really lovely things - have to confess that I've kept a few back for projects of my own... but here's a couple of pictures to give you an idea of the things in the shop:

In between my sort outs I have also been in a state of mild panic as I have taken the plunge and am going to take part in the Brighton Festival by exhibiting in an Open House.
Every year, during the Festival, more than 1,000 artists exhibit their work at over 200 venues, in Brighton and Hove and the surrounding area. It's the biggest event of its kind in the country and has been running since 1981. It takes place over the first 4 weekends in May and it's a great way to spend a day. I've always loved wandering in and out of people's houses to look at arts and crafts but this year...I have to produce stuff and it's proving quite scary!
I'm keeping with the vintage/recycling theme and working on postcard lavender sachets and hat stands at the moment but more work needs to be done. It's amazing how soon the first weekend in May is when I mark it out on my calendar. Here's a picture of the prototype hat stands, and a postcard sachet - I've joined in the Spring Makes Me Sing Swap organised by  Jackie at Sew Special Bears  so I will be including a sachet in my swap.
Ah well - back to it, I'll keep you posted..

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Making it Up

The other day I was putting together some more of the craft packs for the website and found myself speculating as to what I would make if one of these jars landed on my desk. So on Sunday I took up the challenge and chose one randomly from the store and set to.

When I originally devised the packs I worked on the basis that the contents – although perfect for adding to all kinds of other projects – should also be able to be made into an item on their own. So I began with the idea of making a decorative panel.

The finished piece is large enough to form part of a cushion or quilt, or even to hang on the wall. I’ve been investigating calico bags, to add to the packs, so I decided to sew mine onto one of those – I have to say, I rather like it!!

You are probably bursting with your own creative notions, if so please send in a photo to post on the blog – it would be brilliant to create a gallery of ideas. If you want to make something similar then the guidelines for this panel are laid out below - they are based on the contents of the craft packs at

In this make the larger piece of fabric was overlaid on the white backing fabric and the two stitched together. This gives stability to the piece and helps to stop it puckering as you sew and add more elements.

Then start to play around with the elements that you have. This pack came with a doilie, but a vintage hankie would work as backing too. The flowers were cut from a smaller piece of fabric and the embroidery was cut out and laid on.

The vintage trims were added as a frame and a heart was cut out of the smaller fabric piece. The buttons went in the corners and more were later scattered across the image. Once you are happy with the design – start stitching, or sticking.

Everything in this make is stitched  using a machine threaded with invisible nylon thread in the first instance. Hand stitching would also work as would Bondaweb or a similar product.
All of the elements are simply cut and stitched – no hemming or tidying up the edges. Slight fraying over time will add to the charm!

The cut out heart was looking a bit bright so some lace trim was sewn over the top and then cut to shape.

Various buttons were then scattered over the design and sewn in with the red embroidery thread – 2 strands.

Once everything is fixed in place you can embellish it even more if you feel the urge. Here I threaded the machine with some rayon embroidery thread and traced rough outlines over some of the shapes. Hand embroidery like stem stitch would also have worked.

And here’s the finished panel. As I said this could make a cushion front, the centrepiece of a quilt, a picture… This one was sewn onto one of the calico shopping bag – a bit of red on the handles would finish it soff perfectly!

I used the leftover paper bits, stamps and fabrics to sew onto a postcard and framed it. If I'd decided to make a panel for the wall I would have sewn some of the paper ephemera into that... So many possibilities!