Friday, 20 May 2016

May blooms, vintage finds and painted furniture

Snippets of May so far.....

walks - bluebells in Kent

charity shop find - vintage bone china tea set

charity shop find -vintage pyrex

charity shop find -vintage basket

apple blossom in Kent

tulips in my garden

out and about - tulips at Pashley Manor, Ticehurst, Kent

black swan and views of Pashley Manor and gardens

charity shop find - vintage triple mirror from charity shop for £6!

This find really pleased me as I've been keeping a look out for a reasonably priced vintage mirror for a while now to go with my vintage dressing table. This was salvaged from a friends back garden a few years ago where it was waiting to be taken to the dump. Apart from the top which had warped in the rain, the rest was in good condition and my kind husband replaced the top, then I painted it and gave it some new handles.

The vintage stool came from a junk shop for under £10. The vintage lamp with original silk shade was a couple of pounds from a charity shop.

It was my Birthday earlier this month,  and my daughter gave me a beautiful bouquet of pink and green flowers which are still hanging in there even though the roses are now past their best.

My lovely friend Jane gave me this stunning Calla lily which I have manage to keep alive so far...I don't have the best of reputations for keeping indoor plants alive although I am much better at growing seeds for flowers and veggies - the greenhouse is thriving at the moment, full of seedlings waiting to be potted on and out, and there is a lot of work to be done, and being done, in the vegetable garden. The runner bean and climbing bean plants are climbing all over the place and must be put in this weekend!

I've been busy painting this last week or so....I picked up a few nice pieces from the charity warehouse a while back that I've only just had time to paint.

I've used Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue Chalk Paint for all the pieces and its a gorgeous colour. As usual, I've lightly distressed the larger pieces after painting them, then used clear wax to finish. 

I love the rich sheen the Annie Sloan Clear Wax gives after a good buff once its been left for a good few hours to dry. I usually leave it overnight or a good half day to be sure.

First I transformed a lovely tapestry fire screen that was looking dated with a tatty brown wood frame.


and after.

Then the lovely shaped table above was transformed ( the top was marked despite it looking good from the photo) .......

a tatty picture frame with a beautiful silk painting was smartened up 


and a vintage mirror updated.

Thankyou all for visiting me here and for your comments on my last post. I really appreciate your comments, its lovely to hear from you!

Have a great weekend wherever you are and whatever the weather!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Dresses for Free!

This past week I've had a change from cushions and cross stitch and made a few dresses and tunic tops from what I had in my sewing room.

First up was using a lovely dark floral dress weight cotton that I bought from the flea market a couple of years ago, and I decided to make a simple tunic from an old Prima pattern. 

I can't say it was a particularly happy experience, as after I'd traced off the pattern and cut out the pieces I found to my horror that right down the centre front (where else!) there were a few tiny moth holes! 

Ahh!!!! Horrors!!!!!

After rushing back into my sewing room and frantically checking lots of my fabric stash (all on open shelves! ) I realised I had probably bought the fabric like that - it was only a few pence and I wouldn't have checked it properly at the time. Thankfully I didn't find any other pieces of fabric with holes, and I do keep plenty of lavender bags stuffed amongst my stash, but it struck fear into me and made me seriously think again about re-housing my stash behind doors and not open shelves where I can see it.

I decided to go ahead and make up the tunic anyway after all the faff of tracing off and cutting out the pattern pieces, and once I'd made it up I added a few extra tucks, darts and pleats in strategic places to cover the holes. 

I'm not sure its totally successful as the tunic has lost its loose fit look with all the moth-hole-covering shaping, and I still have to hem it as by this stage I had seriously lost interest in the darn thing, but I may revisit it as I don't like to be defeated and I do like the fabric!

It didn't seem a very good start to getting back into dressmaking after a break of 15 years or so!

Next up I made a tunic type dress with patch pockets from a dress pattern bought a couple of years ago which I adapted for length then raided another pattern for the pockets. Again I used an old fabric picked up second hand for a song, and checked it closely for any sign of moth before cutting into it!

This cotton/linen look grey/blue fabric made up really well and I know it'll be a favourite top as its really comfy to wear.

Next up I found an old favourite dress pattern from the eighties when I used to make lots of my own clothes. I had this dress in a few different fabrics and it was a great casual summer dress. 

I decided to have a bit of fun with the fabrics, and unpicked an old skirt for the lower front and back, then used a combination of old and new fabrics from my stash for the bodice, including a gorgeous Rose and Hubble floral for the two front sides of the top.

I made it shorter than the pattern so it can be worn as a knee length dress - just the type of dress I like to wear pottering around the garden in the summer, although I do need to add pockets I think.

Last but by no means least is my favourite make so far.

A few years ago when I was still fairly new to blogging I came across this brilliant book on someone elses blog. 

I ordered it and blogged about it here way back in 2011! 
At the time I was dead keen to make the skirt but never got round to it.

It's a great book, with patterns included for three simple basic patterns for a skirt, a dress/tunic and a jacket/coat, but then the creativeness of the author shows you many variations using those few basic patterns.

It is the tunic / dress that I made up using the above knee length so I can wear it as either a dress or a as a tunic top over skinny jeans.

I used a large remnant I bought at least 10 years ago from Laura Ashley, a pretty blue floral fine cotton with beautiful drape.

The pattern made up beautifully, it is definitely one I shall make again, and it fits beautifully.

One of the things I have found with these dress patterns is that the sizes on the back of the patterns appear to be very different from those for shop bought clothes - I am usually a 10 or 12 but the measurements given for those sizes on the pattern are much smaller than I am, and so with the first couple of patterns I made I tried to use the pattern which was associated with my measurements (a 14!) rather than the size I usually buy ( a 10 or 12). But they came up rather generous, so having said all that for the last two dresses, which were the best fit, I ignored the measurements and just made my usual size 12. I'm not sure whether this will always be the case though so please don't take my word for it and see what works best for you!

It's hard to see from the photos, but the bodice is gently gathered at the neck and under the bust, empire style, where it joins the flattering smooth fit of the skirt. The sleeves are elasticated on the shoulder so you can adjust for fit, and gathered onto a band and all is top stitched so it looks good.

In a week I've made four dress / tunics from stash fabrics /old clothes, using patterns I already had, so it feels like dresses for free!!!

It's been too bitterly cold here to be outside gardening, hence my current obsession with dressmaking! It's my Birthday next week and I am determined this year to ask hubby for an adjustable dress form so I can really get back into making my own clothes. It's a pain having to strip off all the time to try items on for fit, and getting pricked by pins, as I don't have the patience for measuring and adjusting pattern pieces first, nor for making up a muslin.

Has any one else been dressmaking recently? Any hints, tips, advice??? Any recommended patterns? 

I always use to love the ease of making and the excellent fit of Vogue patterns, and I regularly bought the quarterly magazine as well as lots of their patterns back in the late 80s and early 90s, but even the most basic of patterns seem to cost a fortune now hence my ad-libbing with what I already have for the moment!

Have a good week everyone, and enjoy the May Day bank holiday!

Friday, 22 April 2016

Friday Roundup

We've had the odd few hours of gorgeous weather this week here in Kent, but one minute it feels like summer and the next the chill winds and heavy rain remind you it's still a long way off!

But on this chilly and dull Spring day I have a ray of sunshine to share in the form of these pretty vintage china plates that I found in the charity shop a little while ago. 

A real taste of summer and summer holidays, with a nostalgic scene of sailing boats on a lake viewed from a pretty lakeside cottage. 

Looks the perfect place to unwind!

Manufactured by W.H. Grindley, Staffordshire, in the 1950s, the pattern is, not surprisingly, called "Holiday"!

Photographed with the vintage china are some pretty, springlike vintage fabric drawstring bags, made from a vintage French fabric by Marignan called Daffodils. 

The photo doesn't do the fabric justice as in reality it is a beautiful green with pure white daffodils (they look rather dull and grey in the photo!) and the cotton is very fine and smooth with a soft sheen.

Continuing the vintage vibe are a few cushions that I've made this week..... the one below is made from a vintage white linen cloth or sheet with a selection of vintage lace and crochet trims.

It's backed in an upcycled work shirt....I do love upcycling hubbies shirts, so satisfying to give them a new lease of life!

Not vintage, but with a vintage feel, are these classic blue and white ticking cushions now in The Loft Room and soon to be in my Etsy Shop.

The pretty pale floral centre panel is upcycled from a vintage pillowcase.

A selection of vintage and vintage style cushions available from The Loft Room, and some of these are also in my Etsy Shop.

In my space at The Loft Room at the moment are some vintage French ticking cushions, a vintage feedsack patchwork cushion with hand quilting, grainsack type cushion, and lots of other designs, some shown here.

Thankyou for taking the time to visit me here, its lovely to have you! 

Hope the weather brightens for the weekend in your part of the world, 
Happy Weekend everyone!