Tag Archives: textiles

Boro, Darning and me

 

 

 

 

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I found all these mending threads in a charity shop. I don’t know how old they are, but maybe 40 or 50 years old. Possibly older. They’re in good condition: you’d think they were made yesterday.

Do you like to mend things? Do you gaze in awe at Boro textiles?

I mend from time to time, but I’m always admiring photos of Boro textiles. Maybe I haven’t paid too much attention to darning but I think it’s probably similar. What do you think? Anyway, I decided to see if I could combine practicality and looks with a bit of mending. I love these socks – they’re great in long boots. I think they’re known as shooting socks – maybe meant to go with Plus Fours? Not sure.

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The look of Boro?

I don’t know where I got these mending threads but they’re very pretty. Maybe I thought they were embroidery threads. They have the motto of “Ukanboil” on the label. Don’t think I’ll be boiling my socks any time soon. The label also says that they are for mending underwear…

My Pinterest board is full of beautifully mended Boro textiles and there are a few darned pieces too – like this beauty. I’ve classed it as Boro on Pinterest.

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This image was originally from long-john.nl . I love the visible mending.

My attempt at mending with the sock threads. Although the after photo makes the sock look nubbly it’s actually quite comfortable to wear.

And just today I saw this post showing a beautifully mended blanket. Please go and take a look.

Do you love Boro textiles? Do you enjoy mending?

I’d love to hear from you.

Enjoy your week.

Norma x

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21 Comments

Filed under boro, Clothes, mending, recycling, sewing, textiles, Thrift

Using Pinterest 

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My Throw in Progress (with basting stitches!)

If you were to take a look at my Pinterest boards (via the sidebar on my blog or here). You might be surprised at what you see, especially if you’ve known me for a while. I don’t think they’re much like what I’ve been making.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, so I’ll call this an aim for 2018 and beyond. I’m going to try to bring my sewing and crafting in line with the dreaming I’m recording on Pinterest.  So what about this throw?

I’m a member of a quilt group called Welsh Heritage Quilters and every two years we hold an exhibition at the Minerva Arts Centre in Llanidloes. You can show any quilted item you’ve finished since the last exhibition or which is in progress, but there are also categories to encourage us to push ourselves.  I decided to make something for the “Welsh” category. I’ve been learning a lot about traditional Welsh quilts at the Quilt Association and wanted to have a go.

My starting point

Frame quilts are very traditional so that was what I decided to make.  I bought many of the fabrics to make a throw as a wedding gift, but lost my nerve and left them languishing untouched in the drawer. The colours seemed just right for a traditional quilt.

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Close up of Quilting in Progress

Welsh quilting patterns are very distinctive and I set about trying to copy some, but then…

I decided not to try to make a clone but something based on all the boro and kantha quilts I’ve Pinned.  I’m using variegated Sulky thread to stitch what are traditional Welsh patterns, but in a way that seems to me more like boro or kantha. Don’t know if I’ve succeeded but it’s very satisfying. I’m really enjoying the quilting process.

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The back in progress

I’m not too concerned about my stitches as I’m hoping the patterns, when finished, will draw the eye away from individual stitches.

I’ve had difficulties. The only marker I could see was yellow chalk (seen on the photos) and that rubbed off, so I marked, worked outlines and marked again. It’s not fully marked yet and none of the hearts or circles are yet fully quilted – some infill is called for.

The wadding is cotton flannel that’s been sitting in my sewing cupboard for years on end. It’s not easy to hand quilt but I’m getting used to it. Many traditional Welsh quilts would have contained carded wool and were quilted very closely to keep the wadding in place during laundry.

So, I’ve started using my Pins to influence my quilts, but I’ve got clothes boards you really wouldn’t believe if you saw them and a shoe board brimming with shoe making ideas. But those are for other times, other posts.

Do you use Pinterest? How do you use it? I’d love to know so do join the conversation. And if you put a link to your boards in the comments I’ll take a look.

Enjoy your week.

Norma x

 

 

 

 

 

17 Comments

Filed under patchwork, Pinterest, quilts, sewalongs, textiles, traditional quilts

Bag Fest 

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This is a tweedy (with a bit of hemp) bag made from a pattern by Michaela Smith called “Night Owl”. The pattern’s for a cushion but I like bags more. It holds lots & is good for travelling.

These bags are made from this quilt.

Landscape quilt

It had been languishing in my sewing cupboard for months, so I washed it and made the bags. The fabrics are silks & silk lookalikes.

The binding on the quilt mostly couldn’t be saved but I had some bits of the original left so I cut some more. The original is leftover from making this skirt – still worn after all these years, but now as calf length rather than full length.

I made the original quilt following a holiday on Skye – it represents the view I could see when eating my breakfast.

I’m intending to take these patchwork bags along to Quillies in Rhayader to see if they can be sold alongside my fabric pots.

 

My favourite tote bag – and believe me I love tote bags… This is a furnishing fabric remnant that I just couldn’t resist.

Gratuitous dog photos!

 

And this is my jeans bag. Linda asked me to show it ages ago & I just didn’t manage to blog. Sorry!

So you can see I’ve been busy despite my blogging silence. Looking forward to catching up with you all.

Happy New Year

Norma x

10 Comments

Filed under jeans, patchwork, recycling, textiles, upcycling

I made my shoes!

New espadrilles from scrap fabric and bought soles.

I used a pattern from Mollie Makes magazine. They’re a first attempt and don’t fit as well as I’d like so I’m going to alter the pattern and make another pair.

This photo shows the lining – a piece from my old kitchen curtains. 

I’d really like to make more shoes and this seemed a good way to start. 

The soles are made by Prym and I bought them online. And a word of warning – the pattern doesn’t have seam allowances and so far as I can tell, doesn’t say so.

Thanks for dropping by. 

Norma x 

16 Comments

Filed under fashion, scraps, sewing, shoemaking, shoes

Another 1934 skirt

 

 

This one is Irish linen – navy pinstripe.

How is it different to the others?

It has a zip in the side. The lavender one has press studs and the wool one has wooden buttons.The lavender skirt doesn’t have a back pleat.

The zip was a lucky charity shop find and dates from the 1960s (still in its original packaging). It works fine, but I rubbed the teeth with a pencil point to ensure smooth running.

I sewed this one on my modern Pfaff and finished the seams with a machine zigzag stitch. I did insert the zip by hand (because I am rubbish at zips) and hemmed the bottom by hand too. I sewed the lavender skirt on my 1930s Singer and finished all seams by hand overcasting. I sewed the wool skirt 100% by hand.

I think I might have made a mess of this skirt if I hadn’t made the other two very slowly beforehand. I have had plenty of practice with the pleats now.

I’ve been very encouraged by the support of EmilyAnn in Brooklyn who’s sewing 1930s along with me. Take a look at her marvellous recreation of a 1930s dress. Wonderful sewing and technical details.

Which is my favourite?

I love the wool skirt so much but I did need a slightly lighter version for warmer weather.

What next?

I’ve been trying to work out what I need in my wardrobe and I think a dress and jacket for a summer wedding need to be high priority. I’m also planning a garden dyed skirt (or maybe wide trousers) and a top but whilst I might make them now, the actual dyeing will probably take all summer.

I’m planning plenty of posts about garden dyeing for this year, so look out for that if you’re interested.

Thanks for dropping by,

Norma x

 

 

 

18 Comments

Filed under 1930s, 1930s sewalong, Clothes, dressmaking, fashion, sewalongs, textiles

Wearing the Landscape

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OneYearOneOutfit – the final outfit reveal.

Top: Lots more detail here.

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Before dyeing

Made of Irish linen, garment dyed by me with docks, onion skins and a pattern made by hammering English Marigolds into the fabric. I kept the top in the dark after each dyeing session to help set the dye.

Bias cut, sewn by hand. Pattern: Merchant & Mills Curlew.

Skirt: Lots more detail here.

Welsh wool, spun in Wales and woven at the National Wool Museum. No dyes, these are natural sheep colours.

Pattern: 1934 from Home Journal magazine. Extra pleat inserted by me.

Scarf: All welsh wool. The cream and the grey are natural sheep colours. The golds are onion dyed by me.

The scarf replaces the waistcoat I knitted which I hate: it makes me look much bigger than I like. It will make a gorgeous cushion cover and I’ll work on that over the next few months.

Boots: Made by Celtic & Co in Cornwall from British sheepskins which are mainly a waste product these days. They were a Christmas present from my husband.

Is it wearable? Yes! I have worn the skirt and top together and felt happy with it. I put these boots with it to make it a British Isles outfit and prefer my black leather boots to make an outfit.

The top is a great match with my black trousers so will get worn that way too. I love the skirt and it goes well with a couple of other tops (and the black leather boots rather than these). The scarf is lovely and warm so is sure to get lots of wear over the winter.

What did I learn about British Isles textile products? There are no natural fibre threads spun in the British Isles so far as I can tell. All my threads had to be pulled from the fabrics so handsewing was the only option.

Plenty of handmade wooden buttons are available and they are so beautiful.

 

There is lots of Welsh knitting wool available – hand and machine spun. I’ve loved using it and will definitely use it again. It looks and feels beautiful. My knitting skills do not do it justice (and that’s not false modesty).

How will I take it forward?

Making clothes from completely local products is time consuming and can be quite expensive.

A lot of work goes into bringing up sheep, spinning yarn, weaving yarn, dyeing , knitting and handsewing. If all my clothes had to be made this way, I would have very few. It makes me understand why Elizabethans left each decent garment to a favoured person in their will. They were valuable and valued.

My life won’t allow me to have every item made this way but I plan to use elements in the future.

Lots of garden and other natural dyeing planned. I loved doing it. I’m growing woad to try to get local blue dye. The plant was eaten by caterpillars so I’ll have to try again.

I will visit WonderWool Wales again and buy more Welsh wool fabric. For a jacket, perhaps.

I am a terrible knitter but definitely improving because of all the practice I got doing this project. I’d like to use some of the cream or grey wool to make a sweater for next winter.  Or the one after!

I bought a 10 metre roll of undyed linen so I think another Curlew top or dress but dyed a different colour. Made by machine next time with purchased threads.

I really like Merchant & Mills patterns so I’ll probably make more of theirs in 2017. (I made an “unblogged” summer top from one of their patterns too).

Why wearing the landscape? That’s how I felt about #oneyearoneoutfit when I was working on my clothes. I wanted to take it further and see what else I could do with natural colours and fibres. It occurred to me that maybe wearing nature’s current products rather than those that have been buried under the earth for centuries might be a more sympathetic look for me.

I’d love to hear your comments on that.

Happy Stitching!

Norma x

 

 

 

 

 

32 Comments

Filed under #1year1outfit, 1930s, Clothes, dressmaking, dyeing, fashion, Knitting, sewalongs, sewing, textiles

Victorian Style Petticoat for a 1930s Skirt

It proved impossible to find a secondhand silk dress to line this oneyearoneoutfit 1930s skirt. It’s made of Welsh wool tweed and needs something underneath to complete it. If I could’ve sourced some very lightweight undyed Irish linen it would have made a great lining. It was not to be.

Instead, I decided I’d have to make a petticoat to work with it. I was inspired by the lovely cotton lace I was given and some white cotton lawn from my stash made it possible.

The top of the petticoat uses one width of the 115cm wide fabric and the bottom frill is 150cm wide. It was the only way to get a long swishy petticoat out of 1.5m of fabric.

Unlike the Victorian petticoat it resembles, it has elastic at the waist. It has French seams, a rolled hem and I’ve satin stitched the lace to the petticoat. All techniques used in the 1930s but I did them all by machine.

I couldn’t resist some handsewing so there’s white cross stitching in cotton perle on the gathered seam.

I’ve used cotton threads throughout so that I can dye the petticoat in the future if I want to. Interestingly, the very fine cotton thread I used for all the sewing behaved well even when stitching the elastic in. It needed to be upright on the sewing machine spindle because it was straight wound onto the bobbin.

It doesn’t count towards oneyearoneoutfit because it isn’t local fabric or thread and I’ve no idea where the elastic comes from, but it does make the skirt wearable. A wool skirt with no lining teamed with a too short petticoat would never get worn, but this combination made me feel fabulous when I wore it. And that’s what we’re all looking for from our clothes, isn’t it?

Thanks for dropping by

Norma x

 

 

 

15 Comments

Filed under #1year1outfit, 1930s, Clothes, dressmaking, fashion, history, sewing, stashbusting, textiles

The Seamstress Tag

I’ve just read Emily Ann’s Seamstress Tag here and really enjoyed it, so I’m going to do one myself.

Here goes…

Who are you?

I’m  Norma and I live in beautiful Mid-Wales.

When / why did you start sewing?

I’ve always enjoyed sewing. My Mum was a dressmaker by trade and sewing was a part of life when I was growing up.

I was pretty awful at it though – my clothes were Mum-made rather than Me-made.

I started taking it seriously in my twenties and got obsessed in my thirties. The obsession continues – I love sewing.

Favourite / proudest make?

A “knock-off” Armani suit made from fabric fr0m the Jaeger factory – I bought it on Grantham Market (Lincolnshire). I needed something for a job interview. I got the job & wore the suit to death. I’m still proud of it even though it is long gone.

Disastrous Make?

Lots of those – I laugh when I think about my early attempts; I must have looked a sight. I always wore them to death though.

The worst one recently was probably my bra. I managed to put the cups on upside down. I haven’t tried again but I will one day…

Favourite place for fabric shopping?

Charity shops, vintage stalls, jumble sales, old clothes. I love a good rummage.

Most used pattern?

My own pattern free designs. And just recently, a pattern from a 1934 magazine I’ve made twice and I’ll be using again as a base pattern.

Most Dreaded Sewing Task?

Zips!

Favourite sewing task?

This is a hard one: it changes often. Anything involving handstitching is my current favourite.

Favourite sewing entertainment?

The radio. I like Radio 3 and Radio 4. For those of you outside the UK, Radio 3 specialises in classical music and Radio 4 has plays, current affairs, stories and so on.

Printed or PDF patterns?

I am trying to like PDF patterns but I find them very hard work.

What sewing machine do you use?

A Pfaff Select 1548 – it’s a mechanical rather than electronic machine and it’s been a pleasure to use since the day it arrived. My previous computerised machine went insane (yes, really!) and I decided to go mechanical. I’ve never regretted it.

And I’ve also got this

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It’s a 1930s machine and still sews perfectly.

Any other hobbies?

I’ve got two Labrador Retrievers so walking is a big thing, I run, and I keep hens. And I’ve started knitting.

I hope you’ll want to join in this tagging because I’d love to know more about you.

Thanks for dropping by,

Norma x

 

 

 

12 Comments

Filed under Clothes, dressmaking, sewing, Singer sewing machines

Velvet Fest

I’ve just finished five velvet “quilts”. There are the mini quilts above for fundraising for the Quilt Association.

This bag uses up more bits.

 

 

And the quilt is finished.

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I’ve used up more or less all the velvet scraps but there’s more now.

A friend rescued some very long blue velvet curtains which were destined for a skip, so now I’m contemplating a cloaky sort of coat. And the contemplation is all part of the fun…

Thanks for dropping by,

Norma x

 

 

19 Comments

Filed under bags, Clothes, patchwork, quilts, scraps, sewing, textiles, Thrift

Some Practical Sewing

This shirt was made by Monsoon – a good and well known label here in the UK. It’s a size too big for me (because it came from a charity shop) but I liked it and I’ve been wearing it to my yoga class. It didn’t really work for me – loose tops can be a bit revealing when you’re upside down!

Seemed a shame not to use such a pretty shirt so now I’ve lengthened it and it’s a much needed nightdress.

It’s been a practical week – some bootcut jeans made of lovely fabric are now straight enough to tuck into boots and then there’s a dress waiting to be a tunic and a boring skirt which needs some magic.

Do you like this sort of sewing? Or do you only make new things? My budget won’t allow for buying anymore fabric at the moment so I’ve started to look around to see what can be done with what I have. I feel better already.

Let me know what you think about reusing and mending – I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for dropping by.

Norma x

20 Comments

Filed under Clothes, fashion, jeans, mending, recycling, sewing, textiles, Thrift, upcycling