I made this little silk purse as a present, and it was a great small project to experiment with embroidering with silk threads on to silk cloth. The silk threads have a lovely lustre, making the colours glow, and thread slides so easily through the fabric. The finished piece is relatively delicate (I think that the pale silk fabric would mark quite easily), but was made as a decorative piece for someone who would appreciate the techniques and materials used.
I always seem to forget quite how time consuming embroidery is (if you want it to look neat and tidy!), but I enjoy the process as well as the finished piece. This was just a simple design, but I didn’t plan it out before I started sewing which made it slightly more complicated to complete than necessary!
I have seen some beautiful (and often very intricate) antique and vintage embroidered purses, an I can certainly appreciate the time and skill required to produce them- and am inspired to try to achieve that level of detail and neatness one day!
I haven’t made a friendship bracelet since I was at school, but decided to experiment with the method as I have plenty of embroidery thread in lovely colours.
As you can see, I experimented with a few different colour combinations and patterns. The free-form pattern below I made up as I went along, experimenting with changing direction.
I wanted to use the finished piece as something other than a bracelet, so decided to make a short length to use as a zipper pull on a jumper.
As I had cut longer strands of thread than I required for the pull, I left a gap and then knotted a second section below the first to use in another project.
I trimmed the ends and cut the top section free from the bottom section.
The top section became the zipper pull, with the loop used to thread it through the metal ring on the zipper.
This was a good way to use up some of the odds and ends of thread that I had in my stash: now I have to decide on projects for the other pieces that I made…:-)
If you fancy having a go for yourself (and didn’t learn how to make these as a child) then there are plenty of helpful guides and how-to videos to be found online.
Some more lovely vintage and antique embroideries, this time in neutral white and creams. I featured coloured embroideries a few weeks ago, but felt that these understated lovelies deserved their own post! Some are destined to be sold as they are, and some will be upcycled.
I recently went through the various vintage and antique hand-embroidered fabrics that I have, in the hunt for some material to make bunting for a friend’s wedding. Due to the hours of work that these pieces represent, I am loathe to cut them up, with the exception of any items that are damaged or spoilt by a permanent stain (I remove and bin the damaged area, and use the rest of the material in craft projects).
Depending on the size of the material, the embroidered fabrics can be used in a variety of projects: I really enjoy giving new life to something that someone else has put so much time and effort into, but is now ‘ruined’ for it’s original purpose (e.g. a tablecloth with a stain in the centre).
Using some fabrics that I already have (in this case by upcycling) also means that I am still managing to stick to my new year’s resolution to buy no new craft materials this year!
The few pieces that I have shown here are all undamaged items, and as I seem to have collected quite a few pieces in good condition, I have decided to sell a selection- after all, there are only so many tablecloths etc that one person can use!
I do love vintage haberdashery, both to admire the lovely packaging, and to use the (generally) good quality products. I also have a vintage leather suitcase full of hand-embroidered linens, which I have been saving to use in a future craft project (or several projects!).
In this unassuming glass jar live all of my precious silk threads. I have come by most of them when buying assortments of vintage sewing items at car boot sales and jumble sales, and some of the nicest are on lovely old wooden reels. I use these lustrous silk threads on particularly special projects, like an embroidery for a friend’s wedding present, or decorating a silk blouse or scarf.
I think that on the whole stitchers must be quite clean and tidy people, as I’ve very rarely had to throw any second-hand thread away due to discolouration (and I am fussy about quality and condition!). I don’t buy any haberdashery or sewing supplies that smell like they may have come from the house of a smoker, as I’ve found that the smell is impossible to get rid of (sadly the same applies to second hand books). Pieces of fabric, lace or ribbon can, or course be washed, but this isn’t possible with reels of thread, and isn’t worth the trouble with balls of yarn.
It is amazing how many good quality sewing and other craft supplies you can find very cheaply if you are prepared to have a rummage in a charity shop or at a summer fete!
Happy hunting xxx
I love the old pieces of vintage and antique hand embroidered linen that I have come across (…yes, some of them have ended up in my stash..!), and it is amazing to think about the huge amount of time some of the larger and more intricate items must have taken to make. I enjoy doing some embroidery myself, but generally don’t want to commit to a mammoth project: I also like using embroidery in less traditional projects.
I have a some lovely vintage rosettes that I have used in a few projects, and they seem a nice way to display a small piece of embroidery. Combining that with a friend who likes cocker spaniels, and voila, an idea for a handmade present!
The upcycled rosette was a quick and easy project: once the embroidery was finished, I removed the cardboard centre from the rosette, and cut a new one of the same size. I then wrapped the embroidery around the new cardboard centre, and glued the edges of the fabric to the back. Next I glued the embroidery-covered cardboard centre on to the front of the rosette. The final task was to attach a circle of decorative paper to the back of the rosette, and write on a message to the recipient.
P.S. I’m not spoiling any surprises by posting this project, as the friend has already received the gift!
I have been doing some experimenting with embroidery on paper, and have enjoyed mixing the two mediums of paper and textiles. Here are some of the experiments in my sketchbook, as you can see they aren’t all finished yet!
Today I have been looking through some of my vintage hand embroidered fabrics- they seem to multiply when I’m not looking! It is amazing how much work has gone into some hand embroidered antique and vintage fabrics, and it’s a shame that they get thrown away if they have a rip or stain. I use damaged pieces in new projects, and am able to cut them up guilt free as they were no longer usable in their original form, even if most of the fabric is undamaged.
It is nice to give a new life to something that was made with such care and skill, upcycling something slightly damaged to make it desirable again!
I put together a sewing kit as a present for a friend: she is a vintage enthusiast and a new convert to sewing, so I hope that she likes it! The lovely box is an upcycled vintage wooden cigar box, and the contents includes three lengths of handmade lace, some cute buttons and silk embroidery threads. One of the best things about putting together a kit like this is that you can select colours that you know the recipient likes- and it’s fun choosing what items to include!