Friday, 28 January 2011

Still sewing…

I am still in the grip of sewing mania and it's all I want to do right now. Here are a couple of new bags and a purse, the blue one is made from the last scraps of ties (the thin bits) left over from my mega-project tie pouffe.

The floral bag sold as soon as I posted it amongst some new photos on Facebook. The power of the Communication Revolution, eh?

The cat doorstop and the mice brooches were made from a Sarah Young teatowel (

Thursday, 20 January 2011


Given my very large collections of vintage clothing and tin robots, I do try not to get into collecting things only for the sake of it – I just don't have space to store much more stuff and I do like to use everything I own.

However, I have had a passing interest in mid-century ceramics for some time, but I do resist buying them… usually.

I particularly like the 1960s designs for Swedish manufacturer Rorstrand by Marianne Westman, especially the "My Garden" pattern (featuring fish, not gardens for some strange reason), which is rarely seen.

Recently I came across this 1950s ceramic cat vase, in perfect condition, and bought it intending to sell it on. After a very short time it had charmed its way into my affections and I decided to keep it.

Stamped on the base only with an unhelpful "Foreign", some research led me on a wild goose chase through Italian and Swedish ceramics and eventually to its unmistakeable origins: Schmider, a West German ceramics manufacturer, in the Tigris pattern designed by Anneliese Beckh.

I enjoyed this little research trip and I discovered some lovely things along the way. I can see how this could so very easily become a new collecting fad, but I am going to try hard to resist it. At least vintage clothes don't need dusting!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

More makery

Last week a graphic design job I'd been working on for weeks and weeks finally went to the printers and I could not wait to get sewing again.

I had been dying to get on with a project involving making a large piece of soft furnishing from ties (see pictures below). I don't normally stop on any type of project until it's finished but I've already run out of ties so, in the meantime, it's back to bags again.

The bag on the left took far longer to make than it should have: errant thread from the first hour's sewing found its way into the guts of the machine and caused no end of problems. I was quite sick of it by the time I finished except for that lovely silk scarf lining (second photo). By contrast, the bag on the right and the little purse were run up in the blink of an eye.

I still have a huge bag of scraps and leftover fabrics to work my way through so no doubt there'll be more to come over the next few days. Beats working any day!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Why make one when you could make two?

When I was kid my mother used to make most of my clothes. As she always bought too much fabric (just to be on the safe side, eh?) she never made just one thing, and I think I've absorbed that habit.

The yellow cushion was made with leftovers and still I managed to eke it out to make a little bag. I bough this 1970s print skirt at the fleamarket and with the fabric I cut off when I shortened it, I was able to make a belt and use a buckle I've been saving for years.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Inspirational fashion illustration

Saw two great fashion illustration exhibitions in London today. The first was Rene Gruau, long championed by David Downton, at Somerset House and the second was Drawing Fashion at the Design museum, worth the freezing cold walk from Tower Bridge.

Mats Gustavson was the highlight for me, you can see a selection of his work here:

And I'd like to know which of you is willing to shell out £45 for the wonderful Rene Gruau coffee table book for me? Haven't I been very, very good indeed (and it's such a long wait until next Christmas)?