10 minute roller towel

I don't know about you but I'm in love with roller towels. Not only are they useful things but stylish too, plus they take me right back to my childhood since my parents always had one on the back of the utility door. Still do, for that matter.

I found a couple of perfect thickish cotton cheesecloth tablecloths in the charity shop for £2 each, and converted them into roller towels. It was a really quick and simple job, I just worked out the width and doubled the length I wanted, stitched the pieces together, neatened the joins by zigzagging the ends and double stitched down before finally hemming the sides.

Roller towels can easily set you back about a tenner a time so yes, I'm feeling quite pleased with myself today.

The rest of the clan have popped into town to do some shopping so I'm on borrowed time right now. I'm cleaning cupboards this afternoon whilst waiting in for deliveries .. that's exciting isn't it?


vintage lampshades

I bought this set of small clip-on vintage lampshades with the intention of recovering them long ago but, the usual story, they've been sitting in my sewing room collecting dust. Making lampshades has always seemed a little daunting to me but lampshades I needed, so finally I took the plunge.

To be honest, I didn't really know where to start. Neither my book, nor the internet were much help for this shape so I ended up dissecting one of the originals and putting the new ones together in much the same way. It actually turned out to be very straightforward and a lot of fun too.

The fabric is by Cath Kidston. I have to say I don't normally go for CK ever since she became so ubiquitous. I like things to be as unique as possible but this is probably my favourite of all her patterns and it's been discontinued for some time now. That makes it ok in my book I think and, in any case, I had some remnants left from a project long gone.

I also wanted to keep something from the vintage original so in this case I reattached a single length of the ribbon trim, the colour of which just so happens to be a perfect match for the new fabric.

I hope you're having a sunny Wednesday, it's a beautiful day here!


daisy chain

Did you have a good weekend? It's been quite cold and windy here recently and after being seduced by April's sunshine and warmth, the jumpers have made an appearance once more.

I've got a few little domestic sewing projects on the go at the moment for there are changes afoot in the h&r household and perhaps some news to come in the next few weeks or so. There are so many things I want to achieve and sadly so little time, Half Term is next week and they've only just gone back!

For the things I have in mind I'm determined to use what is already in the stash, which is why I finally cut into this one. Bennison's 'daisy chain'. Finding this was a major coup, it retails for an outrageous amount but the price I paid for my two small panels made me skip and dance all the way home as I'm sure you can well imagine.

In a way, it's probably just as well they are smaller pieces, I think that ensured I didn't hoard for forever and a day. So guess what, I've been making cushions again! I used my unbleached antique linen sheet for the back. This is serving me very well indeed as I bought it for next to nothing and am getting a whole lot of mileage for my money. Hmm, very satisfying all round.

Enjoy the week!


swish for victory

I was recently contacted by Girl's Guide, who are organising 'Swish for Victory', a clothes swap event in support of Women's Aid which is the national domestic violence charity that helps up to 250,000 women and children every year. It works to end violence against women and children, and supports over 500 domestic and sexual violence services across the country. However, recent cuts to these services mean that 60% of refuge services and 72% of outreach services face the prospect of no government funding this financial year.

This is such an important charity and I was thrilled to have been approached. Also only too happy to send something along to be auctioned on the night as part of their fundraising.

I made up this necklace, using girly pink and green vintage glass beads to match their lovely poster and also included vintage charms to represent the love and support that these families all need and deserve.

Swish for Victory is being held at The ACE Centre, Nelson, Lancashire on Thursday 26th May, so if you're in that area, it sounds like the place to be!


kcwc - the forty four dress

I've been amassing a little collection of vintage sewing patterns recently and this is the first one tackled so far. And seeing as I put my name down for a second kcwc, I thought I'd start with one for my girl.

What I find interesting is how sizing has changed over the decades. I think we all know that we ladies are now thicker waisted, longer waisted and probably a little taller than our mothers and grandmothers were but the surprise to me came when looking at girls' sizing, because that has barely changed at all. Throughout the 1940s, 50s and 60s, sizing on sewing patterns was consistently the same. Then in the 1970s (until the present day) the chest size went up by one inch and waist size half an inch, only the hips stayed the same.

One thing that thankfully has been laid to rest is the question of the 'chubbies'. Truly, on many a vintage sewing pattern (even up to the late 1980s) you will be advised whether it is suitable or not for chubby girls. How politically incorrect is that and doesn't it just show how times have moved on? I for one think we are now in an age where political correctness has gone bonkers but surely, buying a pattern for your daughter, with the knowledge that she was what the manufacturers termed a 'chubby' must have been a real smack in the face.

This dress is named after its age for the pattern was printed in 1967. An American pattern, it is Simplicity 7281 and perfectly suited to 'chubbies' as well you'll be relieved to hear. I imagine that's because it's a tent dress! I promised I'd be using the denim-like linen fairly soon after the wrap dress didn't I? I so love this fabric and because it's lightweight, it'll be perfect for the Model this season. Notice the change of name? No longer MLF, she's eight now, don't you know!!

My one previous owner saved me a lot of bother, since she had cut out and neatly pressed the pattern pieces so all I needed to do was prepare my fabric and lay the paper pieces out.

The dress itself was a joy to sew but I think I spent just as much time perfecting the hem as the rest of the garment. It was quite infuriating actually as, because the dress has a lot of fabric and a good curve at the bottom, it meant it was bunching up like crazy when I was preparing the hem. The pattern allowed for a mighty generous 3 1/4 inch turning which I was happy to go along with since I knew the dress was going to be quite roomy anyway and a good amount to turn down at a later stage would be sensible. However, that just looked silly and I only really noticed after I'd uploaded the first set of photos. Good old BurdaStyle helped hugely here and their method worked really well, although I had to sacrifice the wide hem!

Because the Model was declaring there to be 'rather a lot of blue' I used three pretty hot pink vintage buttons and top stitched the dress in a matching thread which I like but am thinking I should have used double or even triple embroidery thread and done it by hand for greater impact.

I would dearly love to have seen the previous owner's creation. The Sherlock in me knows from previous pinholes that she made a different version from me; she did long sleeves and a back belt. However, there is one thing we doubtless will never know - did she or did she not sew for a 'chubby'?!

Happy weekend x


sound of music blouse

Thank you for your good health messages, I think they may have worked because I feel a whole lot better now.

I don't know about you but The Sound of Music is one of my very favourite vintage films, I don't think I could ever tire of watching it. Which is just as well seeing as it's on the box nearly every Christmas!

So when I found a pair of light cotton 'drapes' in a charity shop I knew exactly what I had to do with them. Do you remember the scene where the Captain and Baroness drive past what turns out to be his children hanging out of the trees, laughing merrily. Then he later confronts Maria, with one of the girls' headscarves in his hand -

Captain von Trapp: Now, Fraulein. I want a truthful answer from you.

Maria: Yes, Captain?

Captain von Trapp: Is it possible - or could I have just imagined it - have my children by any chance been climbing trees today?

Maria: Yes, Captain.

Captain von Trapp: I see. And where, may I ask, did they get these... ummm...

Maria: Play clothes.

Captain von Trapp: Oh, is that what you call them?

Maria: I made them. From the drapes that used to hang in my bedroom.

Captain von Trapp: Drapes?

Maria: They still have plenty of wear left. The children have been everywhere in them.

Captain von Trapp: Do you mean to tell me that my children have been roaming about Salzburg dressed up in nothing but some old drapes?

Maria: Mmm-hmmm. And having a marvellous time!

Though perfectly sweet, the fabric isn't that special so I didn't want too laborious a project and when it came down to it, the majority of time was spent finding a pattern that would lend itself to the panels, since they were, indeed, very narrow. But perseverance paid off in the form of the Japanese book Stylish Girls' Clothes, where I found a simple but sweet little blouse (you can see another repurposed blouse which came from this same book if you like). The nicest thing about this top is the rows of stitching that run the length of the front, with a horizontal bar of fabric at the bottom of the opening. I used a small piece of Japanese ribbon I already had in the jar for that.

Now naturally I would have made the lederhosen to match, sorry I just didn't have the time!

I'll leave you with this lovely clip from the film - drapes and all!

Have a lovely week x


holiday's end

The children have gone back to school today but it occurs to me there are only two and a half weeks before we're off again for Whit Half Term. What a funny old month April was this year.

We had a wonderful break, the majority of it spent in Dorset (where these photos were taken), enjoying the most incredible weather. Day after day after day. I felt quite sad to shut the place up and leave it behind.

As expected the only crafting I got in for myself was a bit of knitting but, whereas I had hoped I might have got it finished, I am still only half way through. Not too many photos taken either, come to think of it, so just a few to stir up the lovely memories of many happy moments.

And annoyingly, since getting back to the 'smoke' my previously fresh-air cleansed body has rebelled big time and struck me down with the wretched flu. Day three at least means I'm sitting up in bed, catching up on said project (can't be a bad thing) and wishing you all a very happy week.

With luck I should be back in the sewing seat tomorrow, with an awful lot to catch up on. Including sparing a thought or two to what I shall be sewing for next week's Kids Clothing Challenge. Are you going to join in?