Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Upcycling Vintage Textiles

Recently I bought two boxes of vintage textiles at auction.  Rather foolishly I only gave them a cursory look before leaving a bid.  Well, I won them but it was obvious someone had just put a load of damaged and stained vintage textiles together.  They looked appealing but on close scrutiny nothing was saleable!

I was really annoyed with myself but, having put several items in the dustbin, I then washed everything else and sorted it all into what I could salvage.  The result was lots of lace and embroidered textiles which I have now resolved to upcycle and make into various items (mostly cushions).

This monogram P was all I could salvage from one piece and, as soon as I made it into a cushion and added it to my website, it sold.

Some Maltese lace doilies and a lace butterfly have now been sewn onto hessian to make lavender cushions/sachets.  I love the contrast of agricultural sacking with pretty fine lace.

Lace was also sewn onto hessian to make bunting for a vintage wedding.

Another cushion was made from parts of embroidered sheets and tablecloths,

another from a damaged sheet bearing the monogram M C.

and lastly another pair of cushions I have made using a pure linen French sheet and a very pretty hand embroided edging.

There are lots more pieces to 'salvage' and I am looking forward to using them to create more upcycled items.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Felix Rasumny Art Nouveau Medal

Sorting through my late mother's jewellery box I found this medal which has intrigued me.  On the front is a Art Nouveau picture of a lady wearing a helmet whilst on the back is written NANCY RECORD and a picture of a rifle and pistol with the Lorraine cross (also known as the Free French Cross) surrounded by thistles.  There is also a very tiny signature of F Rasumny on the front.

Upon further investigation I have found out that Felix Rasumny (1869 - 1940) was a Russian engraver who emigrated to France.  He trained at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs under masters such as Millet (one of my very favourite artists), Gauthier and Tasset.

In my ignorance I started my research thinking Nancy Record was a person but Nancy is the former capital of Lorraine and the home of Art Nouveau in north east France.  The thistle is the symbol of Lorraine and is a main feature in the coat of arms of Nancy.

Early Lorraine crosses differed but earlier designs are the same as this one in that the horizontal beams are of equal length and equally spaced.  The Lorraine region, because of its location, has hosted many wars and battles.  Twice it was annexed by Germanyand when Hitler took control of the region in WWII General de Gaulle chose the Croix de Lorraine as a symbol of resistance against the German advance.  This is when it became known as the Free French Cross.

There was also much fighting in this area during WWI and I rather think this medal dates from then or even earlier.

This is all I have found out about it but I am fascinated by its origins and wonder if many of these were made and who they were given to.  I haven't found any images or reference to another similar one on the internet.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Sew and Sew

I have been spending quite a lot of time in my sewing room lately.   I love it in there; it is quite a small room and my sewing table now overlooks the garden.

My daughter gets married in less than a month's time and, as she is having a rustic theme for the wedding, I have been sewing lots of hessian items but mainly bunting.  I have been sewing lace onto the hessian as well as appliqueing co-ordinating fabrics onto it and stencilling hearts with paint.

I worked out that I needed to produce 24 metres and have now done it all!  I have also stencilled lengths of hessian for table runners and sewn a ring pillow (which will be attached to their dog's collar as he is the ring bearer!) as well as covering jam jars for night lights.

Hessian is very messy to work with, all those loose fibres so it was good to have a change and sew with some normal fabric.  I made this pair of cushions from some very pretty vintage French fabric.  I only managed to buy a small piece so this is all I could make from it.  They have been added to my website.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Clandestine Crafting

When it is cold and wet outside I like nothing better than to go up to my little warm sewing room with a cup of tea, shut the door and sew.  Occasionally I turn on Radio 4 but I mostly like to be quiet, with my thoughts and ideas.

These are some of the things I have made recently.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Fabric Covered Coat Hanger Tutorial

Are you like me and hate it when clothes slip off wooden and plastic coat hangers on to the floor?  Of course, you can always use the ribbons that are sewn into the shoulders to keep items on the hangers in the shops but these have an awful habit of poking out when you are wearing an item.  So....since I love padded coat hangers and I have a lot of old wooden hangers I thought I would save some money and cover these myself rather than buy new ones.

Here is what you do....

You will need

A wooden coat hanger
A piece of fabric 60 cms long by 14 cms wide.  (I used a pretty vintage paisley fabric which was once an eiderdown cover)
Polyester wadding, approx the length of your hanger + 4 cms by approx 26 cms (I used the sort that is for lining curtains, the thickest you can buy, which is about £3 a metre)

Fold the polyester wadding around the hanger (cut a hole for the metal hook) enough times to make the required amount of padding.  Sew this together by hand, turning in the short ends (this can be very large stitches as they won't show and are only required to keep the padding in place).

Fold the fabric in half. widthways, right sides together.  Mark where the middle (30 cms ) is with a pin.

Sew both the short edges, up to the middle mark on the long edge and 2 cms from the end on the other long edge.  Turn the fabric the right side out.

Slot the fabric over both the ends.  The sewn edge will be on the top edge of the hanger.  I have allowed enough fabric for there to be some gathering.  Pin the long edge of the fabric which needs to be sewn together and hand sew with small, neat overstitches.

Admire your handiwork and add a co-ordinating lavender heart if you wish.

Back to Blogging

The 1st of January is the perfect day to revive my blog writing and I can tick off one of my New Year resolutions too!  I can hardly believe it is 18 months since I last wrote a blog post!  What was intended to be a short break has materialised into more of a protracted hibernation.

Originally my blog was for showcasing what I had for sale on my website with bits of my life intertwined with other vintagey things and the occasional recipe.  Now I want my blog to have more variety and I would like to feature fashion for the more mature lady as well as all the previous subjects.

So, for now, wishing you all a very Happy New Year and a wonderful 2015 to follow.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Bottom of the Ironing Basket

It's amazing what you find at the bottom of the ironing basket.  I am one of those women who never clears the basket.  I am not going to spend time ironing items that I may or may not ever use or wear again but that I'm not prepared to part with, so they may linger at the TBOTIB for a long while!  Goodness knows how long ago it was that my mother found this beautiful antique cloth/bed cover to sell on the website but I wanted to keep.  There it was lurking at the bottom all crumpled and forgotten but now hanging as a curtain in one of the bedrooms.

This room was my office until I bought this single bed which we didn't need but I just had to have, so it had to go in the smallest room which is now another spare room and my sewing room.  I also resurrected a ginger coloured wood (my pet hate) curtain pole which we had taken down, painted it with grey emulsion (Dulux worked perfectly well) and waxed it.  I have never used clips before but these are great for no sewing and I just folded over the top deep hem to create a 'ruffled' top.  Hey presto, a complete new window makeover all for the price of the clips.

(I also found a pair of white linen trousers I'd forgotten about but, sad to say, I must have been considerably lighter when they first went into the TBOTIB).

Have you ever found something you'd forgotten about in the ironing pile?