Sunday, 27 February 2011

A present for my man

I'm heading away up North to my homeland today for work. I'll be away for the next month and will be missing Mr Biddle like crazy. So I crafted him a little gift for him to use on his trips up to see me.

I'd bought the Kokka helicopter print linen ages ago, intending to make something for Mr B, but had never got round to it until now.

The wash bag was created using a great tutorial I found on the Flossie Teacakes Blog. It was really easy to follow with great tips to leave a professional looking finish - although it's worth taking it a little slowly at points to get the lining and zip right. I scaled up the dimensions to create a larger, more manly wash bag, which worked fine. And I didn't use any interfacing as my material was on the thick side and I wanted a more loose effect.

I'll definitely be making more of these in the future as gifts for friends. 

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Threads of Feeling

Since moving out of London at the end of last year, I haven't really missed much about the capital city apart from seeing friends. But I wish I was there to see the Threads of Feeling exhibition at the Foundling Museum.

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The Foundling Hospital was set up by philanthropist Thomas Coram in Brunswick Square, Bloomsbury, to take in abandoned children. Between 1741 and 1760, the process of giving up a child to the hospital was anonymous. However, just in case the family fortunes changed and the child was able to be reclaimed, around 4000 babies placed in the care of Coram's hospital were left with a small token or object which could be used as identification. Many of these tokens were small pieces of textiles, embroidery and ribbon, either provided by the mother or cut from the child's clothing. These tokens were then attached the the child's registration documents and stored away for centuries.

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The Coram archive of fabrics has become the best collection of everyday historical fabrics that exists today. It reveals what everyday people, particularly women, wore on a daily basis, as opposed to the rich fabrics of the aristocracy. It is also a moving social testament of the love and care with which mothers left their children in the hope that they would have a better life.

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The Threads of Feeling exhibition lasts until March 6th 2011 so unfortunately I won't get a chance to see it. But if you're Capital bound, pop along. It looks like a fascinating and poignant trip.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Marvellous Millie Moon

We really are becoming spoilt for choice down here in the South West when it comes to fab places to buy fabrics and haberdashery. Last week, I was extolling the virtues of the new Makery Emporium here in Bath, and this week I want to tell you all about the superb Millie Moon, a haberdashery boutique and sewing school in Frome (they also sell online).

The shop, which moved into bigger premises on St Catherine's Hill in order to accommodate a dedicated workshop area, is stuffed full of brightly coloured ribbons, fabrics, books and buttons. They have some really special fabrics on sale, many of which I'd only seen previously online.

On my most recent trip, I had my eye on these fantastic deck chair fabrics - I've never seen that on sale before. 

Whilst there, I picked up a pile of soft corduroy in pillar box red, powder blue and chocolate brown, which all came wrapped in spotty tissue paper. I think they'll make lovely baby dungarees.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Cushion Frenzy: Part Three

Here's the final chapter of my recent cushion creating mission.

I have been in love with this circus fabric from Cath Kidston for ages, and decided that this was the week to treat myself to a little half metre. I think it's a less obvious CK print than some of her other ones, and also unisex enough not to be too girly for Mr Biddle and the future baby boy.

I picked up some gorgeous rick rack and ribbon from Sew N Sew on Bath Market (a fab haberdashery) to break the pattern up, and backed the cushion in pale blue stripes picked up in Tenerife.

My final cushion was inspired by the antique lace coaster which belonged to Mr B's Great Grandmother. I sewed it onto more of the pale blue stripes and a panel of limited edition Liberty/V&A fabric which was a gift from my friend the Vintage Bride following a visit to the Quilts Exhibition.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Cushion Frenzy: Part Two

Here is the second instalment of cushions I've been creating this week.

I bought this tree print fabric a little while ago from Fabric Rehab, although I've seen it since in the wonderful Millie Moon in Frome. I felt the pattern needed breaking up a little so I sewed on two strips of antique lace from my Great Grandmother's sewing box, and a strip of matt cream ribbon.

This cushion was inspired by the pretty handkerchief which I bought for £2 in a vintage shop. In perfect condition, with the vibrant peach edge, the handkerchief was very delicate and see-through so I backed it onto calico before machine sewing it onto the mint striped fabric I picked up in Tenerife.

I used a plain peach backing to pick up the colours of the handkerchief.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Cushion Frenzy: Part One

This week I decided it was high time I used up some of the gorgeous fabrics I have stored in the basement and made some treats for the Biddle household. The homemade cushions we had on our sofa were looking a bit tired and faded - I suddenly realised we made them about four years ago so no wonder! So I've been in a cushion making frenzy ever since.

First up was an excuse to use the exquisite fabrics I bought from The Makery on Tuesday.

I backed the floral print in an old piece of olive green linen, and the Kokka Far Far Away print in cream calico.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Makery Emporium

Calling all you crafty South West ladies - something wonderfully exciting has happened to Bath. The Makery (a buzzing hub of craft & sewing classes) has just opened up The Makery Emporium on Northumberland Place and it's blooming gorgeous.

I was hugely impressed with the range of fabrics, ribbons and other sewing bits and bobbins on display - many of which I've not seen on sale anywhere else except the internet. Nothing beats the tactile satisfaction of getting your hands on material before deciding to buy and being able to see the colours in person. This shop is only a ten minute walk from our home so I think it might be a lethal addition to the shopping mecca that is Bath Spa. Eek.

The Makery stocks an excellent range of Kokka Japanese fabrics which I just adore. The material is of such high quality, and the illustrations & prints are subtle and delicate, even when fairy tale inspired.

I love the linen illustrated ribbon on sale - I've only ever seen this online to be imported from Japan via Etsy, so I'm delighted there's a stockist nearby.

These oilcloths are really unusual - I particularly like the floral ones backed in subtle spots which don't have the high sheen of most oilcloths. These could be great for the arrival of Baby Biddle to protect out vintage dining table.

So what did I purchase on my trip into The Makery Emporium? Two beautiful fabrics including a Kokka one called Far Far Away featuring illustrations of The Owl and the Pussycat ...

More linen illustrated ribbon ...

And a set of vintage maternity patterns ...

Monday, 14 February 2011

Love Hearts

I wish you much happiness and love in your life, no matter who is doing the loving ... be it your friends or family or a partner in crime.

These paper hearts were created from a vintage ordnance survey map of Newquay and Port Isaac. The map cost the grand sum of £2 and from it I cut enough shapes to make 15 stuffed hearts. The paper is thick enough that you can pop it through the sewing machine, and they are a great use of old buttons.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Vintage Crockery & Cutlery

We've been slowly sorting out my Nan's house since she sadly passed away last summer. To give credit where credit's due, this has mainly been my Mum's task, but whenever my sister and I have been up North, we've popped round to pick things up to add to the fabric of our homes.

Mum had discovered, hidden in the out house under layers of dust, the most incredible dinner set, which now has pride of place here in our Bath home.

We wonder whether this was my Nan's wedding set but Mum has no recollection of it ever being used. It must have had some use though as it is missing the odd piece. But we've already started using it - it had it's first Biddle outing for lunch last Sunday.

I adore the cream background adorned with delicate blue flowers. It is an exquisite set and I now really want to buy one of those wall mounted wooden shelf things to display it all on.

Also from Nan's, I collected these lovely plates decorated in teal and gold which were otherwise destined for a charity shop. They'll be great for when we have larger gatherings in the summer and need more crockery.

And finally, I found all this gorgeous cutlery lurking in drawers ... Dainty tea spoons and sugar tongues ...

... pretty cake forks ...

 ... ornate salad servers ...

... and the children's cutlery set I always used as a little girl, perfect for Baby Biddle.