Remember how forlorn the little wicker bag looked a few posts back? So here we have it washed and brushed up, cleaner but still with that lovely aged patina. I found a way to attach a new leather strap (the old strap was beyond redemption) so no more turning upside down! I tacked the pretty lining with an elasticated pocket inside. Wielding a hammer in such a small space proved tricky, and I bent as many tacks as I used! It was a satisfying task, to make it lovely and useable once again. What do you think?
I've made a little boat out of cotton fabric-well that's what it looks like! It has an elasticated pocket one side and a little bit of wadding between the layers. I decided to use tacks to fix it into the bag rather than attempt to sew through the slats. It was fiddly trying to place the tacks and keep them upright and then hit them with the hammer (Not my forte!)
Just the lid to do now, plus solving the little problem of how to attach some loops for the new handle to clip on to. Please come back for Part Four!
I made hay while the sun shone during the warmer months. Once again I’m cosied up in the sewing room and can fill you in on what I‘ve been up to.
Here’s a fascinating cotton barkcloth that I was really pleased to acquire from an extensive vintage collection. The selvedge states that it is a ‘Sunlover ‘ fabric, but no other name apart from that and the seller’s label reports it to be from the fifties. The iconic design is typical of that decade with its sleek pottery lines and stylised plantlife reminiscent of Terence Conran’s design for Midwinter Potteries. It might be a Mary White textile design, but I don’t really know.
I’ve seen the same design against a bottle green and also with a black background with red and yellow, both of which work well. I love this design so much I have even framed a piece for the wall of my guest bedroom!
The remaining piece was to become a Bouquet (bucket) bag with an adjustable cross-body or shoulder strap. When I laid the fabric out on the cutting table, I found that there was some degree of foxing (little brown marks usually caused by moisture during storage) on some of the pattern. Mind you, it was 60+ years old, and had survived remarkably well! However, I couldn’t avoid it as I didn’t have enough fabric to play with. I had just enough for one side of the bag.
I contacted the seller on the slim off chance she had some more and she said she’d have to search through her stash. She finally came back to me offering a small piece that was just the right length for the other side of the bag, but a little narrow. I snapped it up, knowing I would be able to adjust the bag proportions a bit to compensate.
I already had a golden yellow and white fabric to accent and frame the design and some jolly gridded yellow cotton for the lining. Adding a yellow beaded zip pull and a navy leather strap completed the picture. Talking of the picture-you can just see my reflection in the window! Doh!
A bit of vintage chic with a name to conjure up warmer days, don’t you think?
And a real one-off!
It measures approximately 13 inches across the top and 12 inches tall, so a good sized bag for days out or as a work bag.
The leather strap can be adjusted from about 24 inches to 48 inches.
£60 with free postage in UK.
I can send anywhere tho’, so please contact me here for a postal quote to where you live!
The seat cover made a lovely cross body bag-I had thought it would go onto Etsy to be sold but needless to say I can't part with it-it's part of my family history!!
UPDATE: (30/12/18) And I've since discovered that a cousin in New Zealand also made cushions in this design, following a trip to the UK many years ago, when one of mum's sisters gave her the materials and pattern to make them! So even more of a family piece than I had realised!
Some cute little purses (or pouches depending on your part of the world!)
Kitsch poodles and limos -what's not to like?
Or trad William Morris Corncockle fabric-which do you prefer?
Don't forget I also make bespoke items to order if you have something particular in mind.
Go to the Bespoke Contact page and let me know...
Designed by mum as an upright chair seat cover this cross-stitch is very typical of the 1970's. When 70's colours went out of vogue the seat was re-covered, this was washed and placed aside in the linen cupboard, where I found it again recently. The colours and design now appeal to a new generation and Mum's quite happy for me to repurpose it, so I'm going to attempt to make it into the back and flap of a clutch bag.
I have a lovely golden dupion silk to make the front and lining, so we'll see how that works out!
I spotted it on Ebay and did the usual sneaky snipe with 7 seconds to go at the end of the auction and won it for £25. So at that price I was willing to have a go at customising it.
I wanted it navy blue, but paint suppliers had bright blues, smokey blues and green blues but no navy, unless I had it custom made for mega-bucks.
I took a chance and bought two 150ml pots of Annie Sloane chalk paint-one in Napolean Blue and the other in a graphite grey, hoping that would be enough paint for the job and that mixing the two would result in the desired colour. I also bought a pot of chalk paint wax as I wanted a shiny finish.
I gave the cupboard a good wash with sugar soap and washed off 50 or so years of dirt and furniture polish. I sanded the cross pieces as I wanted them to give a yellow/orange contrast to the blue.
Then came the paint mixing. I added a teaspoon of graphite to the blue and mixed vigourously! No perceivable difference, so I added another two teaspoons and stirred vigourously, but still bright blue! To cut a long story short, I continued in this vein. a couple at a time, and finally thought s*d it and tipped the whole lot in! A glorious dark blue emerged, navy but on the side of airforce blue. Gorgeous!
I applied it with a small sponge roller, because we'd had good results with our kitchen cabinets, using this method, but I didn't take into account that the kitchen needed a matt finish and I wanted a shiny one! Trying to work the clear wax into all those little orange peel bumps was a nightmare and as much as I applied the wax, waited 24 hours for it to dry and buffed with an electric buffer (x3) I couldn't get the desired effect. Wahh!
Back to square one-sand it all back (three coats of wax clogs up the sandpaper something rotten!) and try to get rid of the bumps with relative success and try repainting. And that means I've spent more money. Maybe buying a finished cabinet would have been a better idea?
Well I'm afraid I still couldn't get it right so I finished it off with some lovely retro fabric, designed by none other than Heather Moore of Skinny laminx fame!
And THEN-I put it back onto Ebay!! Hopefully someone will like the shabby chic look or will have more energy than me to do a proper job! Sigh!
UPDATE: SOLD! And looks fab on a parquet floor in someone's lounge! Would you believe it!
My dear mum, Willa likes to be busy all the time. And as for many of us who were born to post war mothers, I have been inspired by the 'make do and mend' generation and in mum's case, the 'don't sit idle' generation!
Over the years she has taught me to knit and crochet, to sew, to paint silk and constantly badgered me to have something on the go! What are you working on at the moment Ruth? is usually the question!
It was because she kept asking continually, when I was going through a difficult period in my life that had sapped my creativity, that I eventually took up bag making. It was a slow and reluctant process to begin with, but with friends and family responding well to my efforts I soon caught the bug and many years later I'm still at it!
Well that was a long winded introduction to preface that we have a little collaboration going on! At 88 mum might not be quite so able as she used to be but still wants to be busy. She sits and cross stitches binca (you know - the stuff they gave us at school to practice our stitches on?) However once every lamp and vase has a mat under it, there's only a certain number of cross stitch mats you can use! And Dad was beginning to raise his eyes skywards each time another was completed and yet another started!
So we tried folding them up and found they made rather funky retro style purses! Pictured below are the results of adding a lining, a zip or a flap fastening. Six went onto Etsy and we sold four within three days! Mum's really chuffed and inspired to make more, so keep an eye on Etsy - you may see something you like and I can promise you it won't be a mat!
A lovely vintage french cotton fabric I picked up from Etsy has made a super little clutch bag. I love those vintage shades of green and the abstract design. Another for the Secret Vintage Fair of course!
A cute cross body bag with leather strap made in genuine 1970's Grace Sullivan 'Desdemona' fabric designed for Moygashel. Available at the Secret Vintage World, The Minories, Colchester on 26th May. Tickets available HERE or pay on the day.
Hello, I'm Ruth Overton. My nickname as a child was 'Ruthie Toots' which is how the name