Make do and mend

As you may have guessed I love history 🙂 most periods fascinate me but obviously I have my particular passions such as medieval and Tudor. One area that I have been very much interested in over the last few years is World War Two, partly inspired by reading but also as we have gone multiperiod events over the years I have loved visiting the camps of these re-enactors.

Some years ago I started re-purposing material in different ways, making pouches out of old jeans, quilting and patchwork and started to think more about that whole area of reusing things. I have also acquired lots of lovely textiles from the 40s and 50s through my charity shop finds.

So when Ellie said that Clumber were having a WW2 weekend this summer to pay homage to Clumber’s involvement with the making of a trench digging machine I really wanted to be involved somehow. I loved being a WW1 Land girl last summer so I have volunteered to put on a little display of the Make do and Mend campaign.

Make do and mend

For those of you who are not aware this was a government campaign linked to the introduction of rationing, specifically when clothing coupons were introduced and people were encouraged to use textiles they already had in creative ways.

I am basing my character on the lovely Nella Last who I mentioned in my last post. Nella wrote diaries for the Mass Observation Archive all throughout the war and beyond so we have a really detailed account of her life and she often mentions textile work. I loved both the books of her diaries and the film so have decided that I will portray a WI woman who is giving information and advice of the sort that Nella would have encountered. These pictures below show Nella with her son and husband, I love the embroidered top she is wearing in the picture with her son.

Nella Last and son

 

nellaandwilllast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have got some wonderful reproductions of the advice leaflets, featuring Mrs Sew and Sew, I intend to separate these from their books for my table top display.

Mrs Sew and Sew

Make do and mend books 1

I have also been doing some research on fashion for me. I need to create an outfit suitable for a middle aged WI woman, a sensible flat shoed but still interested in fashion enough to want to wear nice things kind of person who is passionate about sewing and wants to pass on her skills.I have found this site, Vintage Dancer, very helpful. I have even found someone who made a dress out of tablecloths like my jacket!

Most of this will involve charity shop repurposing as I am good at that and using men’s garments to make women’s clothes was a great source of fabric so I am on the look out for suitable starting items. I also need a hat as I think my lady would have been a great hat wearer. Plus I love hats 🙂

The event takes place in early June but we are going to an event a bit beforehand as well as visitors so need to have something sorted by mid May.So that will keep me out of mischief considering I am away for three weeks over Easter and only get back at the end of April. Thankfully WW2 things are a lot easier to make than medieval!

I have done very little crafting since I last posted, I have been so busy with a very hectic but lovely  week at work where we took the students out to do some activities and had a conference so there have been a lot of early bedtimes for me. I have managed another Barbie dress this Sunday and am still knitting. I will attempt some more finishing this weekend but I am working this Saturday again so time is limited.

I hope you are having a lovely week so far, time seems to really be flying this year, can’t believe we are only 3 weeks away from the end of term and the little matter of a large amount of doctorate needing to be submitted 😮

Take care whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

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Getting creative with crochet

I had a very lovely crafting time with Ellie last weekend. When we were at the Whitby Steampunk event we did a lovely free workshop with Abigail from Curiously Contrary and each made a brooch using a textile hardener medium called Powertex.

Whitby 4

Ellie and I bought a starter kit and we had our first go at this new craft.You can make some beautiful things with it, I love this bronze lace bowl in this video.

Powertex 3

The medium needs to be painted onto textiles, it is PVA glue based and is quite sticky so we were advised to pour it onto a paper plate and use fingers or a brush to work it into the textile.

Powertex crafting 5

As you know I have a lovely collection of vintage crochet and as Abigail had used some of this to decorate the items she had on her stall at Whitby we decided to use those as our starting point. Ellie wanted to decorate some notebooks that she had bought and I wanted to make a new Steampunk hat for an event later in the year.

Powertex crafting 1

Powertex crafting 2

Powertex crafting 4

Once you have soaked your textile it takes about an hour to dry, you can speed this up with a hairdryer and then you can paint it.It is very therapeutic to do and we had a great time.

Powertex crafting 6

You can use powder pigments mixed with varnish or acrylic paints.We painted the pieces the following day when they had fully hardened. Here they are at the drying stage.

Powertex crafting 8

Powertex crafting 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can then use metallic highlights either in acrylic or powders to add sparkle to your design. Ellie completed two notebooks and a scrapbook, it is amazing how they go from being a dull brown which is the Powertex colour we had to looking so fantastic and colourful.

Powertex 1

 

Powertex 2

 

I am planning to add a little fabric tea cup to the lovely silver doily that will be on top of my hat for an, ‘everything stops for tea’, hat. The little crochet flowers will be around the side of the hat and I have ordered some more flower crowns from Ebay which I will take apart to give me some lovely blooms for the hat as well.

Powertex 4

Powertex 5

Powertex 6

Powertex 7

I found some inspiration for my tea cup on Pinterest, these lovely hats have been made by Play Things who did have an Etsy shop but is not trading at the moment. I love the creativity of these little hats and intend to use some tea motif fabric that I have had in my stash for a long time for the cup and saucer.

tea cup hat 2jpg

tea cup hat

I have had a productive couple of weeks in other areas as well, I went on a wonderful writing retreat with work and finished another 15,000 words of my doctorate and have knitted two Barbie jumpers, not yet sewn together but that is one of my tasks for tomorrow along with finishing off a knitted Barbie coat.

I hope that you have had a good couple of weeks, we have had beautiful weather here as well up until today so things have been very lovely. Hopefully next week I will be able to show you some of the completed Barbie garments.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

I’m a Barbie girl ….

Do you remember that very irritating song some years ago that started with this? I recall the lines about it being fantastic and plastic and it did remind me at the time of my own fun playing with Barbies as a child.

I loved making clothes and houses for Barbie when Ellie was little. I made an entire apartment out of cardboard boxes, including all of the furniture and we loved doing that together, visiting the DIY shop for large samples of wallpaper and using old carpet and fabric scraps.

I have decided to make some Barbie clothes as presents for the younger cousins this year as all of them have the dolls and enjoy playing with them but don’t have an extensive wardrobe. I am hoping I might be able to do a little bit of knitting for them as well, I have not knitted for ages but think my wrist would stand some small items.

I have bought myself a model for fitting purposes, she came from the local charity shop.I thought I might be able to make a pattern from the jeans she is wearing.

barbie model 1barbie model 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do have a knitting pattern book from ages ago and have been looking up some new resources which I thought I would share with you. You can see that the owner of my doll also had the same knitting book, the ski jumper is identical and look at those fab 1990s disco outfits. I am sure I had some jumpers that were very similar at the time!

barbie knitting pattern book 1

barbie knitting pattern book 2

barbie knitting pattern book 3

barbie knitting pattern book 4barbie knitting pattern book 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was also looking at Barbie sets on Ebay and was so tempted.They had the original Country Camper on Ebay which I remember getting for Christmas one year and was thrilled, that obviously sewed the seeds for my love of camping and camper vans.

barbie country camper

There is a newer version as well which is fantastic, look at all the options you have here, and a pool!

barbie new camper 1

barbie new camper 2

This Sprucecrafts site has got links to ten other sites with patterns or tutorials for clothes.My favourite link out of all of them is this one Craftiness is not optional, not just for the wonderful blog name but also for all of the beautiful and very simple and adaptable ideas there are here.Pictures below are from the blog.

barbie dressbarbie skirt 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have also found a pattern for a little knitted shrug from this site.

barbie shrug

I am really looking forward to making some cute skirts and dresses with some of my Liberty fabric and my collection of lace, crochet and vintage embroidery. I was lucky enough to get these three new tray cloths on my charity shop trip as well and Barbie clothes will be great for using up the tiny scraps.

vintage traycloths jan all

 

I am planning to make more of the Liberty edged vintage log cabin blocks as below with these as well as eventually I would like enough to make a quilt.

vintage-log-cabin-block-11

I think it would look really cute to try and make some skirts for the dolls with the embroidery on the bottom using the tray cloth designs. If I can make it work for a whole jacket I should be able to do it for some Barbie skirts!

vintage traycloths jan 4

 

Progress on the Steampunk Vampire hunter outfit is going well, I finished embellishing the hat and umbrella some weeks ago and have bought some new lace gloves and the black skirt in the same design as the red and purple ones.

I am really looking forward to Whitby next weekend, not only is it a chance to spend time with Ellie. Kerry and James but I can’t wait to see all the lovely outfits that everyone is wearing there.

I was very pleased, after fruitless hours of searching on Ebay for bottles and printable labels, to find this gorgeous perfume bottle that I am going to use as a holy water bottle. It was in a local shop for the bargain sum of £2 🙂 Isn’t it beautiful? I am going to hang it from my belt.

steampunk whitby holy water bottle 1

steampunk whitby holy water bottle 2

I will take lots of photos for you and be back soon with those. Meanwhile have a lovely week ahead and thanks for visiting.

A tablecloth, some curtains and another mad hatter

My lovely daughter Ellie is actually named Ellen Scarlett Rose, the middle of these names being after one of my fictional heroines, Scarlett O’Hara. So it was very apt that Ellie’s outfit for this steampunk event was indeed made out of a pair of curtains.

If you have never seen Gone with the Wind you may not have seen the part where, short of fabric after the war, Scarlett makes a dress out of some green velvet curtains, inspiring seamstresses and steampunks everywhere. Photos below from Google.

Scarlett O'Hara dress 2

 

 

Scarlett O'Hara dress 1

Ellie also made the whole outfit in a couple of days which is very impressive, re-purposing a charity shop wedding dress, a piece of lace and an old net curtain as well as lots of flowers from various sources.

Steampunk event Ellie and Kerrie 1

Steampunk event Ellie 1

Steampunk event Ellie 5

Steampunk event Ellie 6

Steampunk event Ellie 2

Steampunk event Ellie 3

Steampunk event Ellie 4

The parasol was mine. I had bought it to go with my outfit but it looked so good with hers she kept it all day and I have loaned it to her for future outings. I did get it back for my photo shoot.

Steampunk event Alison and Ellie 1jpg

Steampunk event Alison 8

 

Steampunk event Alison 1

Steampunk event Alison 2

Steampunk event Alison 3

Steampunk event Alison 4

Steampunk event Alison 5

Steampunk event Alison 7

Kerry was wearing her gorgeous black coat, I love this and if she ever wants to get rid of it I am first in line!

Steampunk event Kerrie 1

Steampunk event Kerrie 2

I was very pleased with my ensemble and really touched that so may people who had seen it on the Seamstress Squadron Facebook page stopped to say hello and tell me how much they loved it. They are such lovely people and very inspiring.

I have another post for you with lots more outfits but just wanted to show you the wonderful dancers from The Belly Fusion Dance Collective who we saw perform twice. They all wore tea themed costumes with fantastic head dresses, I think my favourite one was the cake stand one below but they were all amazing.

Steampunk event Costume 31

I also bumped into another sewing enthusiast who had the most brilliant sewing themed hat and she very kindly stopped for lots of photos.As well as all the very creative use of tape measures she had fantastic walking stick made of cotton reels.

Steampunk sewing hat 5

It was all so lovely and inspiring and we also had a great re-enactment show, very wet on Sunday and my tent blew over so everything got very wet but my lovely friends helped out putting it back up and it was not damaged which was a relief.

We had a great day on Monday, doing our usual walk around the area and photo shoots and lots of tournaments and then my angel of a friend Kerry drove me all the way home as I was not walking well after so much time out in the damp.

I have a fairly quiet couple of weeks ahead before term starts again and then I am working every weekend until the end of Oct, just on Saturday but that is going to cut down the creative time somewhat.

I have a new outfit planned for Steampunks in Space at the end of November so I will at least get that cut out before term starts so I have it ready for sewing.

I will be back soon with more costume loveliness, meanwhile take care and thanks for visiting.

 

My vintage tablecloth Steampunk jacket

I first blogged about this jacket in September last year when I cut out the pieces. I was intending to make the jacket earlier in the year but life got in the way as usual and at least I have finished it with 3 days to go before the event and am not going to be hemming anything on the train!

Steampunk linen jacket finished 1

Steampunk linen jacket finished 2

Steampunk linen jacket finished 3

I am so pleased with how it turned out, it is quite different to the original pattern as shown in the photos below but that is deliberate.

Steampunk butterick-pattern-1

Steampunk butterick-pattern-2

 

The pattern is the Butterick B6305 Victorian Top and drape front skirt and despite it being categorised as very difficult it wasn’t and I would make it again and am possibly going to make a skirt as well in the future.

I ended up not lining it as I didn’t need to and also decided to keep it open rather than doing buttons or any fastening.

 

This is partly as I am very bad at buttonholes and didn’t want to spoil it and also as a fitted jacket does not really suit my shape so I am wearing it open over a blouse that I have.

Steampunk linen jacket finished 5

I also had a little bit of an issue with the sleeves as they were way too big, I cut them down and them they were too small so I had to insert a piece which curves round the sleeve for some reason. I am calling this a design feature 😉

Steampunk linen jacket finished 4

Steampunk linen jacket finished 8

I am so pleased with how it fits and the way that the embroidery shows on all of the pieces. This was three tablecloths originally, one became the front of the jacket, another the back and the sleeves and collar were cut from a third one.

Steampunk linen jacket finished 6

 

Steampunk linen jacket finished 7

Not bad for £12 worth of Ebay tablecloths and a £5 pattern. I actually like it so much that I might wear it outside Steampunk events, I think it would be great for festivals.

I will show you the hat I am wearing with it a later post.I am so pleased to be able to go to the event this year with something really unique and totally me. Last year’s outfit was very much adapted from charity shop finds and things I already had and although I liked it I wanted something more unusual.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Bordado – the art or pastime of embroidering cloth

Bordado, as we found out in Seville, is Spanish for embroidery. The Folk Museum had lots of really interesting artifacts all housed in the beautiful Moorish Pavillion.

Seville Bordado museum

The first section we looked at was devoted to materials and their transformation and there were lots of displays of all types of artisan workshops including gilding, woodwork, leather and bakery.

There were also some brilliant works in progress pieces, one of the most exciting things for me in museums is seeing the unfinished pieces so you can see how they have made the embroidery.

In these pictures you can see the whitework paisley before the holes are cut and where padding stitches have been done first before satin stitch. There is also the lace being worked over a paper pattern.

I was really interested to see the tissue paper pinned round the working area on this last piece to keep it clean. That is something I haven’t done but is a great idea. The embroidery frames are beautifully made as well.

Seville Bordado 5 - paper

Then to my great excitement there was a whole gallery of embroidery and lace, one of the biggest collections that I have ever seen, so much wonderful work.

Seville Bordado - lace display

Much of it was a very similar type of work, sets of tray cloths or table cloths and napkins all unused and very similar in design.

Seville Bordado - napkin display

I wondered if they had been sample pieces for a book on embroidery or a series of magazines.I would guess they may be from the late 20s or 30s looking at the designs, there was no information about their origins though.

There was also very detailed whitework, some with cutwork lace.

I have never done any whitework though have some books on it and would love to. I don’t think I could ever make lace though I love looking at it.

One of my favourite pieces of whitework was this amazingly detailed unfinished tablecloth, you can just see the pencil outline of the rest of the design on the right.

Seville Bordado - whitework 3 - unfinished

Things like this always make me want to know the story of the maker, what happened, was it boredom and it became a WIP? Was there a tragedy and she never finished because of this?

There was also lots of amazing Spanish lace, whenever we go to the Easter Parades we admire the beautiful lace mantillas that the women wear with the high combs and these were stunning examples of mantillas and shawls.

When we at the recent fiesta in Alicante there were a group of people in costume with mantillas and lace aprons, it was too crowded and dark to get pictures then but these are a couple from Google from previous year’s fiestas to show you how beautiful they are. Spain has such a wonderful history of textile crafts and I love these traditional costumes.

Alicante costumes

Alicante costumes 2

I am still working on Jenny’s embroidery sampler at the moment and having fun practising stitches I have not done for a while like chain stitch. I still can’t master French Knots so may have to substitute seed beads.

I have a nice week ahead as I am working from home all work which means lots of early finishes and sewing time. We might even get some more BBQs in, only 7 to go to hit our target of 20. Hope you are also going to have a lovely week, take care and thanks for visiting.

The work / life balance is slowly being restored!

It has been such a busy term so far, I have been breaking my rule of not working weekends ever since I came back from Spain and January has flown by with very little me time. Happily we have a bit of a lull now at least for a couple of weeks then things get really busy again.

I am doing well with the next batch of dolls for the little girls in the family, I cut out three sets of pieces last Sunday afternoon and have already got a pile of completed legs. I am working on stitching the faces at the moment which will take some time.

Doll legs

I was working from home last week for a couple of days and having done a lot of marking over the weekend was able to finish early on Tues afternoon and get in the craft room for a little play and then finished it all up yesterday.

I was planning to make a cushion for my sister for Christmas but then we decided not to do presents for each other. I was very thankful about this due to my poorly arm but I still wanted to make her this one as I have seen so many cute versions on Pinterest.

She has a camper van, which is not a VW,  but we both love them so I made her this cushion for use in her van when she goes to festivals.

VW Cushion 1

I looked for a pattern but most seemed to be ready made or kits so ended up drawing my own. I drafted it out then traced over and cut out the pattern pieces. I put iron on bonding on the fabric before cutting out then assembled it before zig zagging round the applique.

VW Cushion 6

I am so pleased with it, it looks so cute. I bought some fab backing fabric as well. Yes I know I said I was not buying anything else but did not have anything suitable in stash that was large enough and it was only £2 for a fat quarter from Oh Sew Crafty on Ebay. They have lots of other colours as well, pictures from the shop’s site.

VW van fabric

 

VW van fabric 2

All the rest was from stash, Ellie very kindly gifted me a jelly roll so I used some of that for the windows and tyres and the white spot fabric backing is a piece she bought for the same quilt about 6 years ago and has never made so she thought I might make good use of it. I still have lots more lovely strips including beautiful flowery ones so will share those with Mum.

The yellow is some Dashwood from Simply Solids and the green flower and square design on the panels is some fab vintage fabric that someone must have given me as I don’t remember buying it. Buttons courtesy of my Mum for Christmas. The back is a simple envelope closure and I added poppers as well.

VW Cushion 7

I love it and I hope my sister will like it, then again if she doesn’t it will be a lovely new cushion for me! I have also found some very lovely caravan ideas, I think this would make a nice pouch.This is a free tutorial and pattern from Bev at Flamingo Toes. I would dearly love to own a vintage caravan, they are so lovely but not practical for me really.

Camper Embroidery

Hope that you have all had a nice week ahead . My Mum arrives on Thursday and we are off to Budapest on Saturday for a few days so I am really looking forward to that. I may just be taking a few pictures of lovely buildings! See you when I get back and thanks for visiting.