Archive for category Interesting Vintage Finds
I am off to the U.K. on Monday to visit my parents, my eldest and last, but not least, (well it probably is least but you know what I mean), the Knit and Stitch Exhibition at Alexandra Palace.
I have finished my Colette Zinnia skirt but I am not altogether happy with the pleats and, because I’ve made it in plaid, some might say it looks like I have wrapped a picnic blanket round myself so you can understand my reluctance to model it. However, when I come back, I’ll style it up properly and inflict some photos on you.
In the meantime, and before I go and hunt down my passport, bag small enough to go in the cabin but big enough to hold a week’s worth of knickers and other necessities, Rescue Remedy Drops (I don’t like flying) and the 1kg stollen cake that I’m taking over for my Dad who is poorly, I thought I’d do a bit of shameless self promotion in the form of photos of some of the vintage goodies currently in my shop because a) I like them, b) I need the free publicity and c) I’m the boss of my blog
I love making plain objects look more exciting with the camera. I think I take my best photographs when I’m doing product photography – maybe its something to do with the possible financial reward!
Another fanciful one.
All these French treasures, and more, can be found in my vintage shop, La Manche, which is the main (non breathing) competition for my attention apart from my workroom where I occupy myself with things of the creative kind.
Speaking of which, do you remember the lovely French magazines I showed you recently? Well, bearing in mind Mlle. Tialys the elder’s new found interest in dressmaking, I found the perfect one to frame and hang in my workroom to remind me of the defining moment when my passion for sewing and craft in general finally seemed to have rubbed off on to one of my daughters.
I will see you when I get back from my spending frenzy at the Knit & Stitch Expo with, hopefully, some tales to tell.
You will be pleased to know I have not found any stray dogs in the last couple of weeks – although my neighbour found a lost (and very thin!) hunting dog this morning which, of course, everybody denies all knowledge of. I hate the hunting season – and yes, it has already started again – because, as well as not being particularly enamoured of hunting with dogs for sport, I can’t bear to see the dogs who are often treated abysmally and sometimes get left roaming about for days in danger of being in an accident (or causing one) or loitering around with the bell round their collars ringing through the night and keeping us all awake whilst driving our own dogs mad. Rant over – no more shaggy dog stories – this was supposed to be a ‘girly’ post.
My latest vintage passion is these gorgeous old French fashion magazines, Le Petit Echo de la Mode, which were produced from 1879 until 1983. I have started amassing some as and when I come across them but my favourites are the ones from the 1920s and 30s. Having said that, I love the 1940s ones too which came in a smaller format because of the paper shortage during the war years.
Look at those gorgeous coats – and those waists! – and I love the Eiffel Tower in the background. I do put these in my shop from time to time but I am going to frame up a couple of the smaller ones and some of the Art Deco period ones for my own home. They fit so conveniently into the Ikea Ribba frames and the black version complements the header really well. I might go with some sort of theme when choosing which issues to frame such as those featuring dogs – why aren’t you surprised?
I have now finished the little fabric tote bag from the French craft magazine I showed you a few weeks ago and I am quite pleased with it. I made the matching coin purse too which is a fat and squidgy shape and looks as if it is full of money but isn’t, unfortunately. I will be making some more of these – I have had requests – but I think I will add an interior pocket next time otherwise there could be lots of fruitless rummaging going on when looking for mobile phones or car keys.My sewing buddy has put me to shame and finished her ‘handbag quilt’ before me. I love all those cottage chic florals and muted colours and I have put it in my shop. I am still quilting mine, which has a completely different feel as it is mostly in black, grey and cream, and will hopefully get it finished once Mlle T. the elder has gone back to Uni and stopped hogging my workroom and no longer needs my (surreptitious) overseeing on her sewing projects.
Speaking of which – how proud am I that, as only her 3rd ever project, she made this lovely dress from the Simplicity 1803 pattern. I even forgive her for the fact that I bought the pattern for myself (although was going to do View C with short sleeves and this is View B) and had even bought this same fabric. I will still make it but I have some dusty pink linen mix fabric with cream polka dots and will use the white patterned fabric for something else. She did all the shaping, facings, gathering and zip insertion by herself so I am definitely going to get a sewing machine delivered to the U.K. as soon as she goes back as her belated birthday present because I really think she will continue sewing now she has a few successful projects under her belt. This is a lovely pattern – it has a beautiful scooped back – but I do recommend you make a muslin first as the bodice is very fitted and, to be honest, the sizes on the pattern envelope don’t make too much sense. We just made a muslin for the bodice, without facings or anything and it was time well spent as it came up much smaller than we wanted it. I have seen versions where other people have pleated the skirt a little rather than gathering it, especially if the fabric is a little thick but this one was gathered, as per the pattern, and I think it works well even with this slightly heavy cotton.
Another two weeks of the summer holidays left so I am making the most of her being here and not moaning about my projects going very slowly or my vintage shop being neglected because, once she returns to Uni, I’ll probably have my workroom to myself until December and I’ll be able to do what I want but it won’t be as much fun!
p.s. I do have another Mlle Tialys – and I’m not deliberately leaving her out in my blog posts – but she has as much interest in sewing as I have in Manga or Screamo bands so, until her tastes change or, in a more unlikely scenario, mine do, she will not be found in my workroom unless it is to bring me a cup of tea.
I know I said I had the dressmaking bug again but I confess I got distracted by another pastime last week. My neighbour is doing up her house and bought some chalk paint and it inspired me to do a bit of painting, distressing and general messing about of my own.
I blame it on the fact that I am a Gemini. which if you believe in such things, means you are interested in lots of different things and are easily bored or distracted. It also means I am coming up for yet another birthday which despite me always saying ‘it’s better than the alternative’ , is still slightly depressing
No chalk paint involved here but I was experimenting with transferring graphics and I printed this onto some 100% French linen. I was using TAP (or transfer artist paper) which was recommended on The Graphics Fairy blog (thanks to her for some of these graphics) but I think, because of the darkish colour of the linen, the transfer edges didn’t go completely transparent so I stitched around the outline to make it look as if it were meant to be there all along. Then I made a cushion out of it – as you do.
Flushed with success, I put a graphic on one of my vintage French tea towels. I can’t decide whether to do some of these to put in my handmade shop or whether people prefer them plain as they are in my vintage shop. I think maybe I’ll just do a couple and see how they go.
I paid 50 cents for this block of wood with a hole drilled through it in the local charity shop – believe me, you are not as surprised as the bloke who works there who probably thought I’d picked it up off the floor somewhere – just for the purpose of testing the claim that you can use the paper to transfer onto wood. The wood is very rough so the image looks distressed which is sort of the look I was going for.
Then I tried it on a plain bread board which had a much smoother grain and I did it over a layer of chalk paint and then distressed it. Again, some of the transfer didn’t come off completely but it is supposed to look aged so it worked for this project.
I wanted to try out paint and graphics on a piece of furniture so I picked up this little table for 4 euros in the same charity shop and set to work to transform it. I think it had been cobbled together from parts because the central twisted stem was quite lovely smooth wood whereas the base and top were not such good quality and rougher. The good thing about the Annie Sloan chalk paint is the fact that you don’t have to do any preparation before using the paint – apart from making sure the item is clean and free of loose bits – which is music to my ears as the preparation is the boring and hard bit. I wondered if it really were true and had my doubts about the smooth wood as there would be no ‘key’ for the paint to hold on to.
I put a graphic in the centre – well, I say centre but I was actually about 2cm too much to the right. So, a lesson learnt for next time. I didn’t use transfer paper on this but another method where you cover your paper or cardstock with a layer of ‘school’ glue which is washable, print your image onto it then put a layer of modge podge (I used Decopatch glue as I am in France) on the wood and press the image down. After leaving it to dry overnight, you wet the paper and then start to peel or rub it off and voila! I think this is a good method for anything where it doesn’t matter if the item has a distressed look but I’m not sure I would trust it (or me) enough to do it this way on anything more formal where you want a crisp, sharp image.
This is a little sleeve board I found whilst on one of my foraging trips. I love the ornate wooden base. I might actually leave the original linen on the top but make a loose cover and use it in my workroom. Don’t worry, I’m not going to chalk paint it even though there are quite a few things around the house I do have my eye on.
And just to show I haven’t completely abandoned my sewing machine, I was in my workroom the other day and suddenly had the urge to make a nightdress – it just came to me. I drew round one of my old nighties and made a new one. This is the toile really but I might be able to wear it. I have learnt that I need to use a ‘drapier’ cotton or cut it on the bias next time but, apart from that, I was quite pleased.
On a final note which, as so often in my blog, has nothing to do with the rest of the post, my 3 new chickens, Milly, Molly and Isis(!), have started to lay, bless ’em. I hadn’t even bothered checking the nesting boxes yet as I thought they were still a bit young but, when I did, there they were.
Of course, they didn’t lay them directly into my Nigella Lawson style beaded bowl – they are not that obliging – but I thought it made a better picture than the inside of a nesting box. See how thoughtful I am.
Have a good week!
The deluge continues and I have taken a break from gathering my animals together in pairs to put pen to paper as they used to say in the old days.
Our purchase of some new hens last week turned out to be very timely as when I went to check for eggs in the original chicken hut the other day I was confronted with the sight of a very dead chicken. Dark Sun is no more. I don’t know what happened but it is the first time one of our hens has had a ‘natural’ death, a couple of others meeting an untimely and undignified end at the hands (paws) of a new pup. The cockerel, Darth (don’t ask), who hatched at the same time is bereft at the loss of his sister but still makes an awful lot of noise and I suspect the neighbours are sorry that it was she who went first.
Anyway to cheer myself up and to celebrate my vintage shop’s 1000th sale (well, the next one will be the 1000th), I have put the whole shop on sale for the very first time just for the weekend so if you fancy having a virtual browse around a French flea market without getting wet, come and have a look.
Have a great weekend – I hope you are having better weather than we are. I’m off to light the fire – it’s only the 31st May in the south of France after all.
I am very disappointed with the weather up to now this year. It is the middle of May and yet the sun seems reluctant to show its face and we keep having rain and the occasional hailstorm. I haven’t even taken the winter tyres off my car yet. The first few vide greniers (aka boot sale/yard sale) have been rained off or, because there has been the threat of rain, nobody has bothered to turn up. Although I did manage to find this fetching Madamoiselle yesterday morning. I must say, she gave the dog a nasty turn.
Thank goodness then, that I have got back into my dressmaking mode as it has whiled away a few wet and windy hours. I was rather taken with the New Look 6873 skirt I made but obviously had to hand it over to Mlle Tialys the Younger as it is a little on the short side for a woman of my life experience, not to mention it is covered in grinning death’s heads. Still, it’s an easy pattern and I like the style so I plundered my fabric stash to see what I could find. I’m one of those people that has to do something IMMEDIATELY when I make my mind up and it was a sunday so I couldn’t go shopping (no, not in France!). Anyway, I found some Kaffe Fasset fabric I had bought at one time but there wasn’t quite enough so I made the pocket linings and yoke facings with plain chocolate brown material and, because I didn’t have enough fabric to hem it at a decent length, I used bias ribbon to hem it. Can you bear it? I’ve only just got back into dressmaking and am already doing tricksy things like that . Here it is hanging on a hanger as it was too cold today to model it with bare legs and it would look hideous with tights.
My next project – which I have already cut out – is from a French magazine. Impressed aren’t you? Well, I will take it slowly and, if I get stuck, take it to my mini sewing bee on Thursday so my friend can help me translate the more complicated bits.
I like the panelled skirt and the neckline which is a little bit different. Also, as soon as I saw it I could imagine it in the Liberty of London Carline design, some of which I just happen to have in purple.
I have now received my pattern for the Elisalex Dress, which alone is a little work of art, and I have been contemplating fabric. It is supposed to be made in quite heavy weight fabric – even upholstery weight – in order to hold the shape of the tulip skirt which, I am assured, is flattering to all but I am not totally convinced and may reserve the right to draft the beautfiul, fitted top onto a different shaped skirt. Also, I don’t like exposed zips so I will have to adapt that. Whoaa! There I am again going all tricksy. Anyway, I haven’t quite gone ‘upholstery’ but I have gone ‘home décor’ and bought these fabrics with which to give the lovely Elisalex dress a go.
I actually bought the white patterned one – which is called ‘Marie Antoinette’ – for another pattern I bought – Simplicity Project Runway 1803 – so I might make the spotted one up in the Elisalex in a short sleeved version and, if I like it, I’ll use the ‘Marie Antoinette’ to make a sleeveless version. If I’m not keen I’ll go with the Project Runway dress.
Where, I hear you ask, am I going to wear all these pretty, feminine dresses and skirts when regular readers know that, not only do I live in a beautiful yet cultural backwater with very few opportunities to wear a posh frock, but I have the sort of lifestyle that mostly requires jeans in the winter and shorts in the summer. Well, once I have a small but versatile stock I am hoping to start making more things for my Madamoiselles. The Elder is very into fashion and would probably throw herself into choosing patterns and fabrics and might even have a go herself. Unfortunately, she is in the U.K. at university most of the time so, when she comes back for the summer, I will tie her down, take her measurements, ban her from eating the usual student’s diet of crisps, chocolate bars and vodka so that she stays the same and then I can make clothes for her ‘in absentia’ . Didn’t know I speak Latin too did you? The Younger (as we have seen) is more into black, red, skulls, wolves, etc., hasn’t got much interest in fashion and certainly not frocks, so she might prove a bit more difficult.
I haven’t been completely idle on the craft front and here is another cartonnage box I completed recently. No sewing involved – lots of glue and different thicknesses of card. I was making this at my friend’s house and, as the glue was still drying, left it there weighted down with some of her antique flat irons. Ooops! When I returned the following week, she was all upset because some rust had transferred itself onto the fabric. Ho hum. Another lesson learned. I still like it though.
On the quilting front, I bought a Moda Layer Cake in ‘Little Black Dress’ design and I am having a go at this ‘handbag’ quilt from the book by Pam and Nicky Lintott. I was drawn to it as it is a little bit different, fun to make and not too huge. I think, when it is all joined together, I might quilt it again simply using cotton perlé maybe around the handles and outline of the bag. What do you think about that idea and what sort of colour thread do you think? I cannot get the hang of free motion quilting and, after all the hard work of piecing, I would rather do something by hand not least because it is much easier to unpick if it goes wrong.
So that should keep me busy. However, bowing to pressure, I agreed to add to our little flock of chickens today as the chicken man was at the market. We only have 2 ageing hens left now (thanks for that Stan the dog) and a cockerel so I have had to start buying eggs again. Whaaaat? There is no comparison. Even if you buy the most organic, free range, pampered eggs in the shop, they cannot compare to your own chickens’ eggs. So we have another 3 now, some Light Sussex. Here is Mlle T the Younger with Isis (don’t ask). I wanted to call them Milly, Molly and Mandy but she had other ideas so I might just have to be content with Milly and Molly although it doesn’t have the same ring to it.
So, chicken wrangling – and everybody knows you need plenty of posh frocks for that.
I sort of knew that violets have a strong scent because there’s those sweeties – parma violets is it? – and also some incredibly strong (and cheap) perfume which I vaguely remember they used to sell in our dear departed Woolworths when I was a tot but I don’t think I had ever encountered the smell ‘in the wild’ as it were. We have tons in our garden and they have been bursting out all over for the past week but I still don’t recall smelling them. Then, yesterday, I went to my friend’s house, parked the car, opened the gate to her garden and I was met by a wonderful waft. It was a hot day (for March) and maybe it was very still but the air was definitely full of scented violets.
Talking of going round to Sandra’s, who is my sewing friend, sometimes when we are trying to think of a project to do next, we mess around with little bits of fabric and some tried and tested patterns and this little owl was the result of that session. I remembered that I had some vintage(ish) folding scissors at home so I left sewing his bottom on until I got home and attached the scissors by a black ribbon, stuck in a decorative pin et voila!
I like that, in french, one of the words for ‘owl’ is ‘chouette’ which also means ‘nice’ or ‘cool’.
I also asked her to help me with my fumbling crochet attempts. I am trying to make individual roses to make a blanket but, at this rate, I’ll be lucky to end up with a coaster – although that won’t be any good as the surface is raised and the cup would keep falling over, but you get my drift. I don’t know what goes on with this crochet business. It’s supposed to be easier than knitting and I’m good at knitting. I am having trouble recognising what is a stitch, what is a loop, what is the first loop of the first round and the 3rd loop of the last round – Gaaah! Anyway, here are my attempts so far. Do you think it will matter if they are all slightly different sizes? Will it really matter when they are all joined together? Should I have used fiendishly expensive Rowan yarn when taking my first baby steps?
She looks a bit stressed doesn’t she? Not my favourite vintage mannequin but my antique ones have a pole where the sun don’t shine so I couldn’t get the knickers on any of them! I think these bloomers are cute for sleepwear and, once I’ve ironed out a few of my first timer mistakes, I am going to make some more. I am going to give these to Madamoiselle Tialys the Elder for wearing as sleepwear as, let’s face it, if you put those on under a frock you might as well be wearing a bustle! However, she did point out that her duvet cover is almost the exact same red and white polka dot pattern and she might disappear into the bed and nobody find her which as the mother of a daughter living away from home and getting up to lord knows what, doesn’t sound too unwelcome a scenario to me!
I’m always searching for vintage, quintessentially french fabric but don’t often find it so was pleased to find this the other day. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet but I’m sure I’ll think of something.
I’m still working on hand quilting the birthday quilt – only 2 weeks overdue – but did have to stop for a while as I am completely unable to function using a thimble and, as a result, vaccinated myself against something with the end of the quilting needle and had to give it a rest. It has now healed up so I will start again tomorrow. On the hand quilting front though, I did find this in a charity shop which doesn’t go with my décor, is too heavy to post so cannot be offered for sale, and is therefore totally useless to me but could not, under any circumstances, be left under a pile of polyester sheets, ignored and unloved when somebody, somewhere had gone to all the trouble of putting all those stitches in various patterns, no doubt vaccinating herself against things and using up all the plasters in the medicine cabinet, only to have it flung out with last season’s clothes in a bin bag. Don’t worry somebody, somewhere, I have rescued your hard work for posterity and will appreciate it more than the ungrateful wretches for whom it was made.
Look at all those stitches. How could you throw something like that out? I have told my daughters I will come back and haunt them if I ever see one of my quilts in a dog bed.
Have a great weekend and I hope you find lots of violets to smell. x
I think I told you, back in the mists of time that was 2012, I was having a dabble in a bit of dressmaking after a long time doing other things. Well, I bought a pattern (Simplicity 2648) and some vintage tweedy stuff (it smelt and I had to wash it twice!) and I enlisted the help of my friend Sandra who is always making clothes and, anyway, has an overlocker. I apologise for the photos but Madamoiselle Tialys the Elder is away at Uni and I had to model it myself and, as you can see, I am shy.
I was fairly pleased with how it turned out and I might even wear it in public. I think I will use the pattern again to make another for the spring in less wintry (and smelly) fabric. I used the rare occasion of allowing myself to be photographed to show you my gorgeous leather bag that I picked up in a flea market recently, intending to put it in my vintage shop. Even though I don’t have that much occasion these days to carry anything resembling an ‘officey’ type bag (made up word!), it is the perfect size for an iPad, a couple of documents, a book, a wallet and a phone which came in handy when I had to go to Toulouse for an appointment the other day so perhaps I will keep it for myself after all.
I have been pondering on new things to make for my handmade shop as, although I love those Bunny Bentos, they are a bit fiddly to make and I am getting bored with some of the other items as I’ve been making them for a few years now. I was lucky enough to find a range of lovely Liberty Tana Lawn locally and, although the price in euros is not particularly cheap, at least there were no shipping costs. I always feel a little guilty cutting up Liberty fabric too small so, this time, I’ve gone in the other direction and kept it in one big piece, backed it with soft, cosy stuff, ‘quilted’ it together in a minimalist fashion and made a lap quilt, throw, baby blanket, whatever. It’s a nice way to showcase the fabric I think and, of course, it feels lovely and buttery soft and silky on one side because of the tana lawn and cosy and cuddly on the other because of the towelling or flannel (I’m experimenting with both at the moment).
I’ve free motion quilted (new verb!) some bird shapes on the second blanket but I used an erasable marker to transfer the shape and, I must say, it is taking a remarkably long time to disappear so I am hoping it will go soon, or at least after I’ve washed it, because I am panicking just a bit.
I went through a phase recently of throwing those retro crochet blankets over arms of chairs and backs of sofas. I am ashamed to admit I bought them rather than made them myself as I don’t crochet much – although I am going to re-teach myself soon – and they seem to sell for ridiculously cheap amounts of money considering the work that goes into them. However, they are a magnet for cat hair and, as anybody with cats will know, those buggers are incredibly difficult to get rid of once they are in the weave. I can never understand why they sell dog and cat blankets made from polar fleece either – same thing happens and those hairs are there for life, even after being put through the washing machine. So, I started thinking lately that I might make a throw from good old cotton fabric and, rather than keep it upstairs away from all fur babies as I normally do, I will sacrifice it to my lounge and I am sure it will stand up much better to the occasional sleeping cat as, surely, the smoother cotton surface will be less attractive both to the hair and maybe even to the cat!
I was thinking of something simple but then this caught my eye on the Moda Bake Shop site and it would be a perfect match for my colour scheme and look brilliant over the back of my leather sofa (even though it’s described as a wall hanging) so, after foraging on Ebay U.S. for the exact same fabric, I will start collecting newspapers and embark upon a paper pieced, patriotic, luxury cat blanket.
I could have gone for different colours but this one suits me fine and I want to follow that tutorial to the letter and I feel that having the exact same fabric will make it somehow a little easier! Maybe I should get my Mum to send me a copy of the Daily Mail too so that I can follow it even more slavishly. This tutorial was put on the Moda site by Lynne at Lily’s Quilts and, when I popped over to have a look at her blog I found lots of things to slaver over and also interesting things to read so I’m a new follower.
And no, I haven’t finished Madamoiselle Tialys the Younger’s 18th birthday quilt yet but the fabric for the Union Jack is coming from the States so it will take a couple of weeks and, anyway I have 32 days, including today, to work on it – it’ll be a doddle!
By the way, on the vintage side of things, did I show you this wasp waisted beauty? She’s missing her stand but still a bit gorgeous.
I wondered whether she was original at first but, the wood underneath the base is very old and the découpage is a bit ‘off’ in some places which wouldn’t be there if it were a repro. However, I do believe somebody has varnished it at some stage, presumably to preserve it better which is why it has that shine in my photo. The date, as proclaimed just under the right armpit, is 1898. when they obviously didn’t eat anything or waists were sucked in to the size of my thigh with a corset.
I’ve been a bit ‘diverse’ in this post but haven’t written anything for such a long time that I got carried away.