There is a cabinet of lovely old lace fragments at my local museum, which always serves to remind me that it is good to tackle a more complicated craft project every now and then, and that it is amazing what craftsmen and women could make with their hands before machinery started to do it for us.
These pieces of handmade lace are so delicate and intricate, and must have taken an immense amount of time to complete: they certainly show the benefits of patience and dedication.
I have been playing around with the small loom I have previously used to make scarves and cowls, experimenting with different textures and techniques.
I decided to weave several small sample pieces (approximately 8 x 13 cm / 3.5 x 5 inches), experimenting with different patterns and ideas for each piece. The width of the loom allows for two sample squares to be woven at once (which was a little fiddly), or the piece can be woven using only half the width of the loom.
The individual tapestries are great quick projects, and a good way to use up any pieces of yarn left over from other makes. I plan to make a few more small tapestries, and then combine them in a project to be shown in a future post…
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!
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!
Some colourful vintage sewing bits and pieces on this sunny bank holiday weekend…
…I dyed the lengths of vintage handmade lace myself (see previous post here).
The sunshine is definitely inspiring the use of bright colours, so I have spent the afternoon in the garden making a brightly coloured tassel garland- photographs to follow soon!
Mmm… lovely patterned fabrics! These are a mixture of vintage and ‘new’ (not bought this year- I am still still sticking to my New Year’s Resolution!) printed cottons from my fabric drawer (ok, I’ll be honest with you: I actually have three ‘fabric drawers’…). I plan to use them in a project soon, I’m just trying to decide on the details.
Pompoms can make great decorations, but are ideal for topping presents too…
Big or small, and whether you buy them in a shop or make your own, pompoms can be used to add a bit of colour and fluffiness to any present! And if you make your own, then pompoms are an ideal stash-busting project: a way to use up lengths of yarn left over from knitting/crocheting projects. You could even upcycle yarn unraveled from an old scarf or jumper.
I’m off to add these beauties to a few more Christmas presents…
With Christmas fast approaching I am currently inspired by all things present-like, and came up with this idea for a craft-loving friend. The basket/wicker hamper was a second-hand/vintage bargain (only £2!), clean and in excellent condition. Using a stencil and black acrylic paint I added the recipient’s initials to the lid of the hamper.
I am filling the inside of the hamper with a variety of craft materials and haberdashery tailored to the recipient, and am really enjoying choosing things that I think she will like! This is definitely one of the quickest ideas for a handmade present (if you don’t count the time spent choosing the contents!), and it’s nice to give a personalised gift. The hamper can easily be adapted for non-craft lovers, simply by choosing different contents (e.g. baking paraphernalia, toys, food etc).
The hamper by itself is a nice craft storage idea, and a set of baskets of different sizes would look good on a studio shelf: beautiful as well as useful!
I have made a few decorative hair clips this year, and really like using feathers mixed with something sparkly. The ones shown here are rather dressy- the two mainly blue ones were made to wear to weddings. It isn’t very clear in these pictures but the clip with the peacock feather is backed by a fluffy white marabou feather, adding some width to the clip.
The brown, gold and black clip in the centre (in the picture above) is a more subtle design, and I made it to wear to work on bad hair days! It consists of a row of diamontes sewn onto a piece of black patent leather, with feathers glued to the back of the leather. To the back of this was then glued a second piece of leather, onto which had been sewn a metal hair clip.
Decorative hair clips are a definite stash-busting project, and they are so quick and easy to make. Vintage brooches or earrings can be up-cycled to provide a sparkly base for a decorative hair clip, and all sorts of haberdashery bits and pieces can be added. I plan on making a couple of clips to give away as Christmas presents…!