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.
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.
A peter pan collar gives a dress or top just that little extra cuteness and what’s better than a detachable one that you can just pop on a piece of clothing you’ve already got. Plus it is super easy to make. I’ll show you how. Continue reading
From this blog you have probably gathered I love a good floral fabric, whilst fabric shopping I have to be careful not to buy yet another flower print to make sure my wardrobe doesn’t end up looking like a wild flower garden. From all these fabrics I naturally have ended up with a stash of floral scraps. Last year I started using these scraps for a couple of machine embroidery projects. I now got 4 of them and decided to stitch them together in a quilt. Quilting wise I’m not really one to follow a set pattern or anything, rather look what shape scraps I’ve got lying about and what looks nice. So I ended up with this square.
Have only made the front so far, need to buy some quilt batting and a nice (possibly more plain) fabric for the back.
And you might have noticed a familiar fabric, the scraps from my meringue skirt were just enough for the borders.
Dear me it’s really been too long since I last posted something. Though that doesn’t mean I’ve been sitting still without crafting. As the weather seemed to have skipped winter I’ve already started on my summer wardrobe.
For christmas I received the ‘Colette sewing handbook’, I would recommend it to anyone starting dressmaking. It is loaded with instructions, tips and tricks on dressmaking, from reading a pattern, altering to techniques and 5 lovely patterns to put what you’ve learned into practice. I started at the very beginning with the first item: the meringue skirt. Now I’m usually one for wide layered skirts and this one was a lot more figure hugging. Continue reading
Bunting made of old book pages.
No I haven’t disappeared or abandoned you blog, but been very busy studying for uni. Though that doesn’t mean I didn’t have the time to craft at all. Especially when I’ve been studying hard my fingers start to ache to make something.
I do absolutely love christmas, the joyful atmosphere, presents, (handmade) decorations, christmas songs and carol singing in church. Last year in my student house I made my decorations fully out of pages from old books and I continued making some this year. I love recycling and the colours of the yellowed paper with the black letters and red decorations.
Here a selection of christmassy things I’ve made while procrastinating from studying:
Cute deer brooch.
With a blog that has postcards in its name, I do on occasion need to talk about postcards. On ebay I bought a pile of old, used postcards. In general the written side was more interesting than the image. Folded double with plain pages I turned them in little notebooks. Ideal for in your pocket or handbag to write shopping lists or inspirational ideas.