Friday, 27 July 2012

Patterns from the Past

Just a quick post today as I'm steaming along with making progress on my quilt. I've been having a dig around  to see what I could do for my next project and came across a few  vintage sewing patterns I picked up over the years. 

I really love vintage clothes  and think that using vintage patterns are a really great way to  get a authentic vintage look whilst giving the opportunity to have  unlimited choice in fabrics and colour. 

I especially love these night and lounge wear patterns, theirs something really luxurious about pretty well made lounge wear but truly vintage pieces are really hard to  come by.

After re-finding these at home I started having a bit of a window shop online  to see what's on offer to extend my own collection of patterns. These are some contenders that I am dying to purchase:
40s -McCall No.6561- Womens classic style button front dress with optional sleeves and collars.
available at 

Fifties Vintage Sewing Pattern
available at

available at*%20AND%20pants&ss=194*%20AND%20pants&n=9997

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

My Quilt in Progress

I thought that I would give you a bit of an update on  my progress on  my quilt.

I’m really enjoying making it and am learning a lot as  I go.  I’ve already got ideas on how I would make it differently if I was do it again and have already got some ideas for other patchwork projects in the future.

Here is a of picture of my progress so far . As you can see it is a bit of a mishmash of fabrics,  basically as this is my first attempt I’m taking the frugal approach and using remnants of fabrics from other projects and also some old clothes that I liked the pattern of. I'm keeping the structure very simple using a four square centre block and then a border of  two rectangles.

 This probably isn’t traditional or correct but  I just wanted to keep it as simple as possible to get  started. I think the biggest challenge coming up will be to work out how to piece it together to get some semblance of balance  with the colours so it looks  appealing.

During this  project I have been searching around for examples of more adventurous  patchwork quilts  and block ideas to inspire me for future projects . Here are some of my faves

Image from image originally sourced from courturier magazine.

image from

Image from quilt made by  Elizabeth Chapman dating from 1829. Photograph: V&A Images 

The thing that I love about all these quilts is the complexity of the different component shapes within the quilt block structure meaning that no matter how may different patterns or cours are used within them the overall rhythm and feel of the quilt comes from the intricate shapes used instead.
Well mine may not be anywhere near as beautiful or complicated but its a great starting point for further projects.

Let me know if you have any hints or tips about patchwork quilts  ( especially the actual quilting part as this is the bit i'm finding most daunting ) or if you have any project ideas you would like to share.

I'll keep you posted on how my quilt is going very soon.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

A Glimpse into the past

I was browsing the magazine shelves of W.H. Smiths a few weeks ago when I found this little gem calling to me.

 I should admit at this point  if  there is a magazine or a book with a hat on the front I will pick it up and delve inside just as I have a tendency when I see a  hat in a film I have to pause and inspect it and then slow down the credits at the end to see if they credit the milliner. 

Well on this occasion I  was rewarded by this idiosyncrasy, as inside was a delightful collection of cuttings from 1930's fashion pages.   

Titles like  "Hands up for Winter" showcasing the latest fashions in gloves, and "Hats that change your character" as well as  handy tips for beauty and the home give a wonderful insight into a bygone age. 

However, what made me actually made me take it home with me ( after paying  obviously ) was the beautiful photographs  showcases the style of the age. 

I have a real passion for  costume and historic dress and the 1920's and 30's hold some of my favourite styles, knowing that I would  come back  time and again to these images to draw inspiration told me that the £5.99 spent on this book would make it a sound investment for my future projects. 

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The cobwebs are blown off !!

Well I am   pleased to report that my first project the bolero I  mentioned  on my last post  has been completed.

I made it from the fabric of an old skirt I had as I love the colour and the lace. I have to admit it wasn’t as   easy as I thought it would be .

I had never sewn in a lining before ( shameful I know but it was a job I have always managed to avoid ) so  it did take a couple of attempts insert  and at one point I thought I had just twisted it into knots.  

 I now feel confident that I could  attempt a fully lined  jacket  so look out as this could be a new  project post  very soon.  

I have now moved on to my next project a  patchwork baby quilt. There are a couple of reasons for me tackling this. Firstly  having made the bolero I realised my sewing accuracy could do with sharpening up and what better to do it with than a project that has  literally hundreds of seams to sew. Secondly I thought that it would make a rather lovely gift  and as I have a lot of pretty  fabric pieces left over from college and other projects  it would be nice to see them in good use.

  I’ve just got started on this project by making the patterns for the squares and, selecting the fabrics  and hopefully will start  sewing it over the next few days

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Dusting off the sewing machine

My lovely vintage sewing machine has been gathering dust for far too long, In fact over the last  few months it’s primary role has been as a scarf rack!

sewing machine scarf rack
set up and raring to go

So after much trepidation it is time to blow off the cobwebs and get it stitching again.

I’ve got so many project ideas swimming around my head at the moment it can be a bit a bit daunting knowing where to start. Over the next few weeks I intend to post up all of my creative endeavours including the current collection of clothes that I am currently pattern cutting.

However to start me off and get me on my way I have decided to try this simple shrug featured in last month’s Making magazine

It seems fairly straight forward to construct (famous last words) and therefore hopefully should be a nice piece to get my teeth into.

   I will post up my pictures of me working on it and  the finished outcome when its done, let me know what you think  Wish me luck xxx