Have you seen Dawn Porters new tv show ‘This Old Thing’ yet? It’s an absolute must see for any vintage and upcycling clothing lover in which Dawn gives loads of tips and tricks to make your own brilliant personal wardrobe (and help convince any vintage-foob in your household to love the pre-loved).
In the very first episode they gave me a brilliant upcycling idea which I’ve successfully put to the test: dyeing a plain boring white dress into a vibrant blue piece. After the episode I walked into a local shop where they had fabric dye on offer, I’ve always wanted to try that so I took it as faith and bought a packet of blue dye.
Remember my 1950s / Call the Midwife dress I made last year out of white cotton, mainly to test the vintage pattern. Well I never got round to make a proper copy out of fancy fabric (partly because of the sheer amount of fabric involved, partly the work in it). But it being plain white it was a little too much ‘nurse’ for me to wear the dress out. The perfect piece to try some dying. Besides in Call the midwife the midwifes dresses are light blue so that would make it more like the show too.
I filled a bucket with hot water as instructed (always follow the instructions and test on a scrap piece first), added about half the packet (I didn’t want a dark indigo as on the packet) and dropped a piece of scrap fabric in the dye. Taking it out after 15 minutes (long before the instructed 45 minutes) the fabric was way too bright blue for my liking, so for the actual dress I diluted the mixture a lot more.
On the show they did a brilliant job dip dyeing so the bottom was a lot darker than the top of the dress. I tried to do the same, but at the same time didn’t want the dress to turn too dark by leaving it in the bucket too long, so in the end only when you lay the top and bottom next to each other you see a colour difference. Still, I love the light blue colour it turned into.
Funny enough, because of the dyeing the originally blue decorative stitches turned a bit greyish, which makes them still stand out from the fabric. And the buttons, well they look like they were made for this colour all along.
Week 2 of me sharing analogue photographs. This time an underwater palm tree. Well not really, it is a multiple exposure of a palm tree and the sea on top of each other, in Turkey on summer holidays. Would love to go back there to relax and do nothing but swimming in the sea.
I got an old fashioned roll of photo’s developed this week and whist some could go straight to the bin (I still occasionally forget to change the camera settings for dark or light), the pile of funny, arty and pretty pictures still grows with no particular audience to share them to. So from today I will pick one out of the pile and post it here on Fridays.
Today we’re starting with a multiple exposed photo from my analogue Diana mini camera of a collection of magnifying glasses, that I took at Camden Passage market in London.
On our holiday to York we also took a trip to the countryside. We took some of the bendy roads through the Peak district where the Tour de France was this week, to idyllic Bakewell. Naturally we tried bakewell pudding and tarts, but we really were there for a visit to Pemberly, or Chatsworth as this beloved Jane Austen estate is called.
Bakewell pudding from the bakewell pudding shop.
Seeing the grand estate appearing in the countryside made me feel like Elizabeth Bennet taking a look at Mr Darcy’s home with her aunt and uncle. Although apart from his bust there was no sight of Mr Darcy (yes the bust from the film is still on display).
And having recently enjoyed BBCs ‘Death Comes to Pemberly’, who doesn’t recognise this view from the very last scene of the series?
Scene from ‘Death comes to Pemberly’.
My own view of Pemberly, or Chatsworth.
Apart from Jane Austen’s world coming to life, Chatsworth really is a most impressive country estate. We spend about 6 hours in the house and gardens and I wouldn’t mind going again as I’m certain I’ll discover new bits.
The wallpaper from the guest bedroom.
The visit also creatively inspired me for a new cushion cover. The guest bedrooms had beautiful wallpaper of a banana tree and tropical birds inspired from the estates greenhouse, in a second hand shop near York I found a piece of upholstery fabric that looked very much alike for only £2! The shopping bag from the Chatsworth giftshop had an illustration of the house on it, which I transferred and machine embroidered onto a piece of creme fabric.
Detail of Chatsworth embroidered on the cushion.
I took out a corner of the floral fabric to put the embroidered house in, added mint green piping around the border and a piece of lace that I once got at a vintage market. Et voila a cushion to remind me of our trip through the countryside and dream of living in a grand estate like Chatsworth or Pemberly.