Objects old, vintage, hand made or upcyled, and old techniques with a modern twist

Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

A Little Embroidery

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!

silk-thread-embroidery

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Monday Mood Board: Vintage Embroidery

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.

Vintage Embroidery and Upcycling

VINTAGE-EMBROIDERED-FLOWERS

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).

VINTAGE-TABLECLOTH

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).

VINTAGE-EMBROIDERED-TABLECLOTH

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!  BLUE-EMBROIDERY

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!

EMBROIDERED-FLOWERS BUTTERFLY-EMBROIDERY

Bright Colours and Sunshine

VINTAGE-HABERDASHERY

Some colourful vintage sewing bits and pieces on this sunny bank holiday weekend…

HAND-DYED-LACE

…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!

VINTAGE-SEWING

VINTAGE-THREADS

Easy DIY Project: Making Mittens from Socks

GLOVES-FROM-SOCKS

After accidentally slightly shrinking some wool socks in the wash, I thought I’d give them a new life as a pair of fingerless mittens.

This easy upcycling project would also work using the sleeves from a wool jumper.STRIPY-SOCKS

All you need is a pair of wool socks (or a pair of jumper sleeves), a needle and thread, and a pair of scissors.

First cut your socks to the desired size- you will be using the leg section, not the foot section.

UPCYCLING-SOCKS

I thought I’d take advantage of the length of these socks, and make cosy mittens with a long wrist/arm section- they can be worn long, or bunched up at the wrist. The original cuff of the socks will form the cuff of the mittens.

Next, using your hand as a template, cut a small horizontal slit where you would like the thumb hole to be.

FINGERLESS-MITTEN-DIY

Now try the mitten on, and enlarge the thumb slit if necessary. Decide how long you want the hand section to be and trim accordingly, allowing approximately 1cm extra to turn under for the hem. Take the mitten off, and sew the turned-under hem in place.

STRIPY-MITTENS

At this stage you could just hem the thumb hole using a blanket stitch, but I chose to add a thumb section using a piece cut from the foot of the socks. I sewed a small tube that comfortably fit my thumb, and then attached the tube to the mitten.

HANDMADE MITTENS

Now the mittens are ready to be worn… probably ensuring the swift arrival of warm spring weather!

FINGERLESS-MITTENS

MITTENS-MADE-FROM-SOCKS

Monday Mood Board: Lovely Fabrics!

DSC_2504

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.

DSC_2503

Handmade Crochet Hooks DIY

handmade-crochet-hooks

With Christmas approaching, this is a great handmade present for a lover of crochet: a set of hand-carved crochet hooks, in a handmade case. Of course, if time is short, you could always just make the case, and fill it with a set of bought crochet hooks.

decorated-crochet-hooks

To make the crochet hooks I used:

Freshly-cut twigs from an apple tree (of a slightly larger diameter than I wanted the finished hooks to be)

A sharp pen knife

Clear varnish

A paintbrush

Acrylic paint

A hacksaw

Sandpaper

hand-carved-crochet-hooks

The crochet hooks were made by first cutting the twigs to length using a hacksaw. Next, a penknife was used to remove the bark from the twigs. The hook was carved using first a hacksaw, and then a penknife, and was refined using rough sandpaper.

In this project I embraced the slightly rustic look, as without using a lathe it would be incredibly difficult to carve beautifully straight crochet hooks (especially for a novice wood-carver like me!). I made sure that I got a lovely smooth finish to the wood, but showcased the slightly wonky shape of the twigs- this does have the added bonus of showing that the crochet hooks were handmade!

crochet-hooks-DIY

The hooks were made smooth using sandpaper, and I also cut a decorative groove around the handle to mark the edge of the painted area.

It is much easier to make the crochet hooks using green (freshly cut) twigs, but after carving they need to be left to thoroughly dry out before painting, as they will shrink slightly when drying.

I chose to paint a cheerful polka dot pattern on the handles, and once the paint was dry I coated the painted area with clear varnish (as the acrylic paint on it’s own wasn’t as shiny a finish as I wanted).

crochet-hook-case

I used a knitting and crochet gauge to find out the sizes of the hooks, and then used metal number stamps to impress the size just below the painted area on each hook (you could instead paint or write the size on to each hook).

I was surprised how easy I found it to make these hooks, it just took careful selection of appropriate twigs, and some patience (particularly when waiting for the wood to dry out after carving, which took 3-4 days). The wood I used was from an apple tree in my parents’ garden, which added a bit of meaning to the gift as I made the crochet hooks for my mum.

handmade-crochet-hook-case

The case was made to fit this set of handmade crochet hooks, and I chose to sew it by hand. The case is fastened simply using a loop of elastic that hooks over a decorative button. The basic design of this case could easily be adapted to store other craft tools, such as pens, paintbrushes or knitting needles etc.

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