Doing our bit for the war effort

We had a brilliant time at Clumber. Sadly the weather was not kind to us on Friday or Saturday, resulting in a very damp day of set up and for those who were in the field displays and Ellie and her team, a very wet first day and not many public visiting.

We were fine in the Parsonage and so were very busy on Saturday. Luckily Sunday was lovely and sunny and there were lots of people there enjoying the displays and the music entertainment.Due to the nice weather we expected to be less busy on Sunday but had visitors all day.

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We very much enjoyed playing our new re-enactment roles of Margaret and Ann from the WI. It was very lovely to be able to sit and drink tea and chat to people in the beautiful surroundings of the Parsonage.

The really lovely thing about the event as Kerry said was that unlike medieval where we are giving people lots of information people were sharing their stories with us, their memories of rationing and the sewing and mending that their mums and grannies did and sometimes some very moving stories of their families during the war.

It was so interesting to hear all about their stories and to meet lots of different people. I didn’t get chance to see any of the events in the field during the day as we were quite far away from that part but we had a really nice chat to lots of the re-enactors on Saturday night at the beer tent and made a new friend who was doing a food rationing display.

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Dawn (Mrs Mac) had a brilliant display and it was amazing to see how little food the actual weekly ration was, especially the bacon!

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I love bacon and easily eat four times that in a week.We also loved the cardboard wedding cake which lifted off to reveal a small sponge underneath.

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We had two tables, one for clothes rationing and one for the Make and Mend leaflets and there were some very good reactions to my ‘what will you spend your twenty coupons on?’ activity with a list of what things cost in coupons such as a raincoat for 9 coupons and underwear 2 coupons each.

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I also had lots of my vintage textiles displayed and the transformed shirt as well as the knitting patterns. We were lucky to find some lovely vintage cups to have tea out of!

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I am very glad that I took the crochet lace and pegs which were a last minute idea as I had lots of leaflets and they made a great display on the fireplace. I have also made a new set of marigold flowers for my hat which you can see at the front on the table.

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Here I am demonstrating the use of the darning mushroom.The visitors were all very complimentary about the jacket and no-one thought it was made out of tablecloths. I am very inspired to make something else now, maybe a summer blouse.

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I do have some other pictures of the event which I will share with you later, I am going to be away for the next three weeks, in Spain and at a conference so I will see you all when I return. I am really looking forward to some sun and to lots and lots of sleep! It has been a very busy few weeks but everything has been done now so when I come back things will be much quieter.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

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Make do and Mend – cute flowers and vintage finds!

I have been having a lovely time this week working on my hat and some more felt flowers. I am now slightly obsessed as these are so easy to make so I have made enough for the hat and for a corsage and am now making some extra ones for my display. One of the things that I bought in the original charity shop bargain haul was a very boring burgundy felt hat so I am planning some beautiful marigold style flowers for that one.

I have treated myself to some new felt which I know is not strictly in the Make do and Mend spirit but I still have quiet books on my to do list for sometime so I will use some of it for that as well.

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I found lots of inspiration for the flowers on Pinterest and also came across this brilliant site with free templates for personal use, thank you Paper and Peony for your generosity with these! I used template P-01 for the pink flowers below and P-03 and P-05 in layers for the hat flowers.

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The corsage flowers are two layers of felt stitched with perle thread with a pearl bead added and then backed with leaves from the templates and a stem I cut myself and stitched with perle. I have seen wired versions as well that use florist’s wire.

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I have added a little brooch pin from stash, I think these came from Ebay or Etsy and I bought them a while ago when I was making flower brooches out of fabric.

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The hat is modelled on an advert for one that I found on Pinterest.

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I have no idea if it is actually a 40s design but since it is for a hat and felt flowers to make yourself it does fit with the spirit of Make do and Mend. I actually bought the hat from Amazon here  and removed the feathers and sewed the flowers on with perle. I liked this hat as it is not made from the more modern simamay but from stiffened fabric.

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The flowers are made from three layers of felt petals and then the centre is just a short piece of felt snipped on one side and rolled up and stitched in place. It does not show up very well in the photos but there are different colours used in the pink and darker purple ones.

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I am still working on the slippers ( as I got sidetracked by flowers!) but I wanted to show you the vintage finds that I have been gathering. I do have my mother’s ration book to use in the display, she was born in 1941, but also I managed to win these on Ebay which cover three years of clothing coupons which were owned by a man from Stockton. I wonder if most of the books that are left are from men who did not spend their coupons!

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I have also got this wonderful set of vintage dressing up dolls. I wanted to find something that I could use to let children decide what to spend their coupons on and found this set on Ebay. I wasn’t sure if I was going to carry on bidding for them but told Ellie about them and she won them for me as a present! There are lots of dolls and outfits so they are going to make a marvellous addition to the display.

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I have also bought some vintage knitting patterns, these are so lovely and I am very tempted to do some actual jumper knitting as I love the styles that were available. I love the cheerful expression on the glove pattern lady’s face and she does have the most fantastic hat.

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I love the pram set, especially the little leggings with feet. I knitted a lot when I was pregnant with Ellie and I still have the little woollen suit that I knitted to bring her home from hospital. I used to love knitting baby bootees as they were so quick and cute.

I have been drooling over the work of a brilliant knitter who I found on my travels, 1940s Style for You. She no longer actually blogs but has a Facebook page and still sells vintage clothing but has some wonderful stuff on her blog and I have been learning a lot as there are posts covering four years of knitting and vintage clothing.

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1940s jumper patterns feature a lot of lacy designs as this takes less wool. Wool cost 2 coupons per ball so the less you could get away with the better when you only had only around 20 coupons for 6 months. I will do a full post on all of the lovely stuff I have found out later on about rationing and tell you more about the Stitching for Victory book as well.

Today’s plans are for a bit more doctorate work then spending the afternoon in the craft room finishing the slippers and sorting out all my things for the event. I leave Thursday afternoon as I am helping with set up on Friday and my wonderful best friend Kerry is coming to get me so we will have chance to have a catch up as well.

I am so excited about the event, there has been some publicity about the replica of the trench digging tank that they have made and it looks absolutely fantastic. I am so proud of Ellie and her team. I am also very, very pleased to tell you that Jake, my son, has got a teaching job in Japan. I am not sure where he will be going yet but that will be sometime in August. I have been a very proud Mum this week 🙂

I hope you have a lovely time whatever you are doing and I will attempt to post some pictures from the event before I leave for Spain a few days later. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Making do – the shirt transformation

I am well underway with all my lovely Make Do and Mend things for my display. I have not only been making things but also acquiring some really interesting things from Ebay. One of the lovely things about this period is that I can actually afford the real artifacts from the period, unlike medieval where they are all in museums or long gone.

I have so much to show you that I am splitting it up into several posts. This one is about one of the charity shop bargain shirts that I got for £1 that I have given a makeover. It did take me a little longer than the one hour they give them on the Sewing Bee but I really enjoyed the process and am very happy with the results.

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I won’t actually wear this one as it is a little short for my taste but will do the same again with other finds as I loved the experimentation. I kept the collar as it was in the end but altered the buttons for some that had a more vintage feel, took in the sleeves and shortened them, added bust darts and shortened it, using the spare material for a cute frill.

I was going to use this piece of embroidered doily for a pocket and so I removed the pocket (thankfully very carefully), and cut it out of the doily but it did not look right so I just used some of the flower motifs for the pocket and collar. I also added some vintage lace to the sleeves.

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I was inspired by advice in the books that I had bought previously on Make do and Mend such as the one below on making new clothes out of worn ones.

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I have just finished reading the wonderful Stitching for Victory book as well which has lots of similar adverts for patterns and detail about all of the sewing during the war.This pattern uses very much the same idea as above and could be bought for 1 shilling from the Girl’s Own Paper.

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They also had an advert for a pattern for lingerie, if you were lucky enough to get your hands on some parachute silk or old clothing that was suitable.

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Stitching for Victory is such an amazing book that I will have to do a whole post about it, one of the best books I have ever read about stitching history, so much wonderful detail. It is currently available on Amazon for less than £3 so it is a real bargain as well. One of the very lovely things is that there are lots of quotes from the stitchers of the period, so often the makers’ voices get lost in museum exhibits and the history records so it is wonderful to have the words and pictures from all those wonderful people.

One of the other things that I am loving about this period is that I have so many techniques that I can use for my work. Medieval is wonderful but often I have not been able to do something as it does not fit the period whereas there are less restrictions with this so I am really enjoying that freedom, very much like Steampunk although it is lovely to do the research on the history as well and find authentic things for the period.

I wanted a banner for my table display and was trying to think of what I could do when I spotted an embroidery of ‘make do and mend’ on my craft room wall. It was one of Jenny of Elefantz’s designs that is waiting to be made up into something and it gave me the ideas to stitch the slogan onto something. I was looking for some vintage linen and came across this embroidered traycloth in my stash that made the perfect frame. I learnt to do chain stitch last year so embroidered the letters in the same colours as the original embroidery and am very pleased with it.

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I am making a demonstration pair of slippers from some felt and scraps of Liberty for hexagons so I will show you those next time and I have just started making some gorgeous felt flowers.

I have a new hat that I ordered from Ebay that needed a little something. I remember seeing some 1940s brooches years ago on Hen House’s blog and thinking they were really lovely and I have come across lots of inspiration such as this diagram in the Stitching for Victory book so I am on with that at the moment.

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I hope that you are all having a lovely creative time with whatever you are doing, take care and thanks for visiting.

The tablecloth jacket has a second outing!

When I made my jacket last year for the Asylum Steampunk event I didn’t really think about it being a Make do and Mend garment, I just wanted something original that showed my love of vintage textiles.

The more research I did about what people were doing because of rationing the more I realised that it was perfect as an example and so I was very pleased to be able to wear it to the Haworth 1940s event.

I got some very nice compliments about it as well which was lovely.I wore the same top as last year and shortened my black Steampunk skirt which worked very well. I will buy another replacement one for later Steampunk events but it looked very nice and I felt very elegant.

I didn’t get many good pictures of the outfit as I didn’t have my camera and it was very busy and so only have a few that we took in the cafe with Ellie’s phone, excuse the slightly fuzzy selfie 🙂

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I wore a snood and a flower head band and wore false eyelashes for the first time in my life, it took ages for Ellie to put them on for me so don’t think that will be a regular thing but I do like the 1940s look!

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Ellie looked very gorgeous in the dress she had made and the soldiers were very glad to see her.

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In wartime girls were told that, ‘beauty was your duty’, so there was a real focus on looking the part at all times despite the hardships.

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We also spotted a couple of vintage prams, this one with a very realistic baby in a knitted outfit.

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I would like to spend some time developing my 1940s outfits but at the moment I have so much else on and only one event, which is at Clumber in a few weeks.

It was lovely seeing the inspiration there, so many gorgeous elegant clothes and hairstyles, even if you were in uniform.And hats! I love hats and there were some wonderful ones on display.

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I love Haworth and it just looked amazing with all of the flags and the vintage cars.

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We particularly loved this jeep, complete with carrier pigeons ready to send an emergency message.

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There were lots of people in all sorts of outfits, with displays like this ARP station and a lovely market with lots of beautiful clothes and hats.

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There was always time to get on with a bit of knitting or crochet even though there was a war on and many empty hours in shelters and evenings by the radio were spent in useful work as these ladies were demonstrating.

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We had tea and cake in two of the lovely cafes, luckily there was lots of choice for gluten free and it was great to sit and watch people wander by. All the shops were involved with the windows taped against the blasts and vintage displays.

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A fantastic day out and I am really looking forward to the event in June. I am currently working on a pair of patchwork slippers for the display and then am thinking about some more possible makes, if I have time.

I am at home this weekend but do have to spend most of it marking and doing the doctorate. I might just be able to sneak into the craft room for a bit though:-)

I hope that you have a good Bank Holiday weekend if you are in the UK, we might even get good weather. Ellie is going to be launching the WW2 project at Clumber this weekend so hopefully I will be able to share some photos of that with you. Jake has just come back from a couple of days volunteering with her helping to paint the tank and has got very sunburnt!

Take care and thanks for visiting.