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Thoughts On: Fabric Nostalgia

When I was growing up, I had no idea that the textiles that surrounded me would have the kind of impact that they did.  My childhood home was full of pattern and in the nineties Laura Ashley ruled the roost. In fact, the fabrics of the 1990 collection were so evocative that when I rediscovered the old catalogue in a charity shop, I just had to buy it. Here it is, all swags and tails, festoons and frills.

Laura Ashley Catalogue Cover

I had the prettiest pink bedroom, and I loved it. Mum let me pick out the materials I liked best and put it all together in a handmade bedroom scheme.

Laura Ashley

My gran also had some interesting textiles, there was an amazing bright orange eiderdown, with a swirly print on one side and a plain on the other. I remember being off sick from school with scarlet fever and sitting beneath it eating a bowl of ice cream. In my head it was silky soft- I bet it was something synthetic though, I never knew what happened to it in the intervening years but my memory of it is still so strong.

If you’ve ever watched a British film or drama set in the fifties or sixties you will have probably seen a candy striped sheet, especially prevalent in a working class home. Every time I see one I feel a nostalgia for a time when I didn’t even exist. The sheets lived in the airing cupboard of my first childhood residence, a hangover from the past, and became the preferred floor coverings for D.I.Y days. Whenever I recall them, they are well loved and paint splattered but still standing the test of time. Following one  fortuitous visit to a local charity shop, I am now the proud owner of a double candy striped sheet, plus another found by my mum with a matching pillow case. I imagine these little pieces of history had been sat in someone else’s airing cupboard until such time came for them to be passed on.

sheets

Most recently this floral green beauty turned up in an instagram sale and it instantly stirred up warm but vague memories. I can’t remember if this once lived at home with my folks or at Gran’s but I do remember that the duvet version had a small green fern pattern on the back.

As I’m in the midst of getting ready to welcome my own small person into the world, I wonder whether the textiles I’m so fond of will have an impact on their childhood memories . I wonder if my love for the novelty prints from Cath Kidston, the scraps of vintage prints I collect, or the midcentury colourways of Orla Kiely will influence their future design choices. One thing I do know is, that I’ll not be using them as dust sheets – just incase they become tomorrow’s treasures.

 


Something for a Sunday: Handmade Christmas Cards

Crafting for Christmas can be a rather eventful pursuit, filling your Sunday afternoon with glitter and glue sticks, scrabbling about to locate your address book and contemplating the price of stamps these days.

There is something lovely about making and receiving a handmade card, and if you don’t have chance to make your own, there are a wealth of options available from wonderful independent shops and designer-makers. I am a particular fan those from Oh Squirrel and Curious Pip.

Leafing through my old craft books, I found this tutorial. I really like the way there is no carefully styled image of what the finished product should look like. Also the suggestion to write the message in nail polish must have ended in a smudged mess for many a maker. The book cover is of course pure joy too, published in 1964 by Abbey Library London. So have a read, and why not give it a whirl?

 

 


Tutorial: Our Josephine Sews… An ever so useful Bag Holder Set


Something for a Sunday: Apple Rings


Something for a Sunday: How to Draw Tulips


The Sewists: Exclusive Project

Working on The Sewists was an absolute joy, and you may have noticed that the first project in the book, a heritage pin cushion, is by yours truly. I really like writing tutorials, and plan to do lots more – so when I was asked to contribute an exclusive project for Laurence King, I was pleased to share the Tote Pal project. It’s a bag for your bag; a little something to stop all your bits and bobs jumping out of your tote as you gad about town.  Head over to Laurence King and click on associated material to get your free download.


The Sewists: Love Sewing Asks…

I can never resist a peek at the craft mag section when I pop into a newsagent, with so many folks giving sewing a go, especially in the colder months, it’s good to see what’s out there and what people are being inspired by.

Love Sewing is a  lovely new magazine, and I’ve been so pleased to see The Sewists appearing in a couple of issues. It’s packed with sewing ideas, including lots of dressmaking tips and full size patterns to help your stitching get off to a flying start.

This month, in issue 6 you can read all about my relationship with sewing and of course The Sewists. Why not give the magazine a whirl?


Something for a Sunday: An Apple Drink

Extract taken from Things to Make and Do, The Whole Year Through. An Heirloom Book.


Lovely Old Books: Things to Make and Do the Whole Year Through, 1955.

I can never resist picking up old craft books when I’m out and about seeking vintage treasure. Often you don’t get any information on the author and in some cases not even the year of publication, which I always like to know. However a child’s scrawl on the ‘This Book Belongs To’ page is simply delightful.

This book is particularly jolly, I would have been overjoyed to have 365 suggestions for things to do when I was a youngster. Some of the ideas are a little bit antiquated but overall lots of the little projects would be suitable for kids and grown ups alike to try now.

The inside cover illustrations are pleasing too, very mid century in style.

I’ll be sharing more from this book in my regular Something for a Sunday posts, why not give the ideas a whirl?

 

 


Something for a Sunday: Spin A Coin

Extract taken from Things to Make and Do, The Whole Year Through. An Heirloom Book.


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