A vintage patchwork pattern

Manx Log Cabin was a popular quilt pattern in the Victorian era, along with the traditional hexagon pattern (variations include Grandmother’s Flower Garden) and the ‘Crazy Patchwork’; which uses all the scraps of fabric regardless of shape or design. The Victorians wasted nothing. The log cabin is an interesting pattern; the stitches hidden by folding the strips of fabric.

The pattern itself traditionally represents a log cabin; a red square in the middle symbolizing a fire with different sides (diagonally) representing the light and dark sides of the cabin. Different strips of fabric are layered; reversed (fabric side down) and sewn across one side before being folded over to reveal the right side of the fabric. Stitches are hidden, creating a very neat and interesting sewing pattern.

The Log Cabin quilt was preferred by members of the lower class of Victorian England for two practical reasons. The first is that the pattern is quick to construct; when getting into the hang of the pattern and sewing it can become really speedy. The second is the layered effect the pattern takes on –it becomes an insulator, helping to battle the surroundings due to a lack of central heating and in some extreme, but highly likely, situations of homelessness.

Log Cabin strips were often torn by hand and measured by own judgement or using measures of the hand – for example the width of the fabric strips were measured using the length of a finger to ensure equal sizing throughout the pattern.

Regardless of the practical purpose of quilt making, Log Cabin patchworks can be incredibly beautiful.

I’ve chosen to use the basis of the Log Cabin pattern to create a cushion cover. Due to spending a lot of my time making Log Cabin squares in a replica Victorian Drapers Shop (so realistic even down to replica light conditions!) and therefore hand stitching I’ve opted to use a sewing machine for this quick project! I’ve had quite a lot of people asking me how it works as I stitch, so I’m using this post as an attempt to explain online.

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Since I’ve gone crazy by buying the whole set of the new Beatrix Potter fabric, I’m going to make a bunny log cabin piece.

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What you need are:

  • One large piece of backing fabric, cut into a square. The bigger the square the more layers of the log cabin can fit.
  • Different fabrics. You can have two contrasting pieces used throughout, or a range of different pieces. Traditionally there are two ‘dark’ fabrics to contrast with two

    _MG_5618‘light’. I’ve decided to use pastel colours, two blue bunny fabrics to contrast with the pale pinks. Between each ‘bunny’ layer I’ve continued with the pastel theme; green accompanying the blue and yellow alongside the pink. This will help to break up the ‘busy fabrics.’ The central square is a peach shade to add definition to layered effect.

  • A needle or thread (if doing it by hand) or a sewing machine!

What you do is…

  1. Cut the strips into different lengths; the first four lengths of your chosen pattern should be a tiny bit longer than the central square to make sure there is no gaps. The following strips should also be a tiny bit longer than the growing layered

3. Take the first strip and place it on its reversed side. I want the bunnies to be facing the right way up, so make sure you position the fabric to be your preferred way when folded over. I’m working with the pink fabric first, on the top panel. Line the top edge of the fabric with the top edge of the central square. Pin in place and sew around half a centimetre in across that edge. When sewn, fold the fabric over and pin to keep the fabric flat (and the correct way up).

4. Take the second strip of fabric and place it on the right side of the central square, again matching the edges and partially layering the first strip. Pin again and repeat the sewing and folding.

5. Repeat on the remaining two sides of the square using the alternative fabrics.

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6. Once the first round of the pattern is complete, you can continue to layer the strips, positioning each new strip correctly over the previous fabric so it overlaps evenly. The central square is only a reference point in the first round as each layer builds on the previous folds, showing the pattern as it grows.

 

thumbnail_The Vintage Sewer

 

Find and shop some of my vintage inspired sewing here!: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheVintageSewerShop

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Customizing vintage outfits with Dinky Craft Brooches

I came across Dinky Craft one day, during my various daily scrolls of Twitter. I’m always attracted Dinky Craftto small craft businesses on any social media platform, and I was drawn in by the wonderful an
d innocent logo. On further investigation I thought to myself: what a hidden gem this account is!

Dinky Craft specializes in brooches and other accessories, inspired by the love of retro. The brooches are beautiful wooden designs, finished so elegantly. One thing which Dinky Craft explains so well is that there is no such thing as too much glitter!

Independent businesses take pride in all aspects of their products, even down to the packaging. For Dinky Craft, the aesthetics of the beautiful and ‘shimmering’ red packaging really went above and beyond the confines of normal packaging, suggesting a higher quality of treatment for customers.

Needless to say I was very impressed by this personal touch. This, with the addition of fast shipping made me a very happy customer.

I currently own 3 Dinky Craft Brooches and plan to expand my collection. I have _mg_4758my eye on the teapot and the umbrella and the unicorn – oh okay, I want all of them.

In regards to the vintage feel, Dinky Craft brooches are so ‘modern’ and quirky, yet have a strong retro charm. They are somewhat magical, accessorizing a vintage with these outfits only adds to the vintage feel, without taking away authenticity. Additionally, they add instant glitz and glam to any outfit, also transforming a modern day style into a vintage inspired look.

Without further ado, here are my suggestions of how to style an amazing Dinky Craft brooch.

How about, a cocktail on a cocktail dress?

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This Martini brooch appears to be a big seller, and I can understand why!

Just look at how fabulous this silver and a little flash of green looks against the hot pink material, emphasizing the bold and clashing features found in other retro looks.

It is a perfect addition to this reproduction Lindy Bop vintage dress, alongside a chain of 1940s beads. Quirky, but undeniably vintage!

 

Found that perfect combination but missing the final piece of accessory?

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The colours of these clothes items are perfect together; the pale blue cardigan accenting the cornflour blues and pastel yellows in this 150s inspired day dress. However, I feel this outfit on its own is missing something – the sunflower brooch is the solution!

It’s almost as if this brooch was made for this outfit, reflecting the summer feel and layering the tones of yellow and blue.

 

 

 

Moving on from summer, how about transforming a plain black knit dress – essential as a winter warmer!

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This little gem of colour and shine gives this outfit a character. Not to mention it’s feline shape – perfect for a cat lover *crazy cat lady* like me!

It’s a spin on the classic, understated look – yet presents elements of both mystery and confidence.

Note that this particular brooch is available in a variety of colours, all equally as perfect alongside a black garment.

 

 

 

For those who want to use brooches differently, how about this attachment to a vintage style hat? Equally as mesmerizing. (And Ebony the cat approves too!)

It is so so important to support small businesses. From experience independent businesses have that extra bit of quality making a product so special and useable.

I absolutely adore my Dinky Craft Brooches and I am so excited to purchase more!

 

Etsy: dinkycraft.etsy.com

Twitter: @dinkycraft

 

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Last years resolutions, did the Vintage Beauty Spot make it?

Hello everyone and happy new year!
Now seems the perfect time to revisit the FIRST ever post featured on the Vintage Beauty Spot – 2016 New Year’s Resolutions.
After blogging on and off for a few years on different platforms I transferred my old posts over to WordPress. There are posts prior to this NY Resolution post – but this was the first post fresh for WordPress!
So let’s see if I was consistent with my resolutions…
1. The first resolution has to be….I NEED TO BLOG MORE. I used to blog everyday and ever since I decided to transfer over to WordPress I’ve done nothing! I might get into the swing of things by transferring old blog posts over, editing and looking back! Additionally I need to complete my Breakfast At Tiffanys Challenge. This will happen. I’ve got an orange coat. Game on.
Did I stick to this? Sort of. I definitely blog more, although I have drifted slightly recently due to studying. 
Also, I still need this photoshoot with that orange coat.
2. Stop procrastinating (ironic, as I am writing this while avoiding the thousands of essays I need to write. However it’s not January yet – I need to take advantage of my numbered procrastinating days)
I can gladly say I do not procrastinate anymore. Nope instead I run around like a headless chicken 24 hours a day.
3. This next one sounds a little geeky. I am determined to enter the Countryfile calendar. I miss photography and want to get back into it. Also I am a country girl. However the biggest reason for this is that I adore the cute hedgehog which is on the calendar this year. I want my own version of a happy hedgehog!
I didn’t complete this although I did think about it. I planned the perfect photo of the sunrise in one of the fields near my house. I was all up for it until I was informed sun rise was at a ridiculous time of day – basically in the middle of the night. Boo.
4. In keeping in theme of this blog, I also want to enter the Vintage Life Magazine photography of the month. Just to enter would be fun and it gives me an excuse to get all vintaged up! All of the entries are absolutely beautiful and it’s fun to get involved!
I did this! I entered a couple of times and it was soooo much fun!
5. I need to get more involved with extra curricular university things. I’m going to make an effort to go to the Swing Dance Society classes. And learn the Charlston.
Didn’t happen. 😦
6. And finally….the ‘showstopper.’…I spend too much money in high street shops, and have loads of clothes. If I don’t go in highstreet shops, I won’t buy as much. You see my point? ……..I’m going on a Topshop BAN. FOR. A. YEAR. No offence to you Topshop, you are beautiful but….money. This will probably be an ongoing future blog discussion, linking in with resolution number one…to blog more!!!
I am VERY proud to inform…..I COMPLETED THIS. No topshop for a year. I think I went in a few times to look at some of the styles – then went to Primark instead. Ooops.
I completed 3.5 resolutions, which I am incredibly happy with. I’ve never stuck to any resolutions before and I’ve outdone my goal of 2.
And my goals for 2017? To make the Vintage Beauty Spot bigger. (and do complete the 3 I didn’t manage)
What were your previous resolutions or what are your current ones? I’d love to find out 🙂

Vintage and Scientific Beauty: Hedy Lamarr

 

I’ve recently written an essay for my module, ‘Gender, Science and Knowledge’ and based my thesis about the traditional concept of ‘rationality’ and knowledge and how, (wrongly) it was associated as an exclusive male trait!

Basically it all stems from Ancient Greece, with Plato putting forward a division between the higher mind and lower body. This was then taken to be a metaphor between the superiority of men and inferiority of women. Basically, women were viewed to not be capable of knowledge or reason.  I know – ridiculous isn’t it!

The sad thing is that there is a significant absence of women in the scientific field…despite girls being proved to be better at science at educational level. (Instantly defeating tradition, woo)

It may be down to the stereotypical imagine of a scientist, you know, an older European male – such as Einstein. But this is so wrong – women are just as capable as making a significance difference, not just to science but to all aspects of the world!

In doing my research for this essay, I finally had the confidence to add a little bit of my own style to my essay – incorporating vintage! There is no better ‘Woman in Science’ to talk about other than: Hedy Lamarr.hedy-lamarr-398410_960_720

Born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, Hedy changed her named in honour of Barbara La Marr, the film star.

You may know Hedy as one of Hollywood’s leading ladies. She originally made her name in the very controversial and erotic 1933 film ‘Ecstasy’. (which was banned in America until 1940)

Until she changed to her Hollywood name, she was actually referred to as the ‘Ecstacy Lady.’ She acted through the Golden Age of film – up until the 1950s, appearing in 25 feature length films.

Additionally you may know her as ‘the World’s most beautiful woman’ – which is understandable. However, her physical beauty and her erotic film appearance seems to be what she is predominately known for – which reinstates the traditional concept of women being associated as lower and as the body. It may be noted that Hedy was not enthused about this label, famously quoting “Any girl can be glamorous. All she has to do is stand still and look stupid.”

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You may or may not know that Hedy was also an amazing inventor! During the war, and alongside her acting career, Hedy was heavily – yet secretly – involved with the war effort.

In 1942 she worked alongside a friend, George Antheil, and used her scientific knowledge and inventor experience to create a specific signalling system: The Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum. This was to be used in the radios in torpedoes, apatentiming to interfere with the signals of the enemy.

Hedy appeared to detach her life as an actress with her life as inventor, signing the system in her own married name. Perhaps for legal reasons,  or perhaps to be taken more seriously. Maybe it was remove further stereotypes, such as the typical Hollywood
Actress…

Although created in 1942, the device wasn’t implemented until 1962, where it was used in naval ships in the Cold War.

The most amazing thing? Without Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil’s knowledge and reason – we probably wouldn’t have WiFi as we know it today? How cool is that?

So, not only are women more than their physical beauty but the technology we use all day everyday and surrounded by constantly – was technically created by a woman.

Tradition is overturned and we should all strive to do what inspires us, ignoring stereotype. That may not be just one thing but various outlets – such as Hedy’s acting and her inventing!

Mathematical Beauty – Is the Golden Ratio really the key to beauty?

 

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Maths and beauty? Are the two really linked?

In a sense, yes.

The term ‘Golden Ratio’ was not used until the 1800s, but the mathematical
ratio, arguably, dates back to Ancient Greece.

It’s all to do with proportions. My limited knowledge of maths would be fibonacci-1601158__340.pngpoor at attempting to explain the real formulation, but a specific proportion also known as 1.618 is deemed to be ‘aesthetically pleasing.’ Rumour has it the proportions are embedded within the Parthenon, and the ratio has been proved to be within
nature – a spiral arrangement of leaves and ‘perfect flowers’.

Developments have extended the Golden Ratio to human faces, claiming to deem some human faces more pleasing than others. Historical examples which fit with the Golden ratio include the bust of Nefertiti and slightly later example of Audrey Hepburn – who ironically stated “I never thought I’d land in pictures with a face like mine.”
So what does this mean? That something is beautiful just because of it complies with the golden ratio? I mean, maths is either right or wrong…..

Nope, definitely not! golden-beauty

The formulation may be always right, and tested continually on different objects but what is ‘aesthetically pleasing’ is surely dependent on your own tastes or other individual qualities within those objects.

A flower may be beautiful with full petals which coincidentally falls into the proportion of the ratio – but so is a wilting flower, a brightly coloured flower, a fake flower.

And the Parthenon may be spectacular, perhaps for its equal columns, but also for its historical context and the beauty and interest of its ruins. Or maybe it’s not aesthetically pleasing to you at all.

As for faces – surely you are drawn to particular features of a face rather than proportion? You may be drawn to someone’s beautiful eyes or their unique beautiful smile. Individual qualities may not even be part of their face, but something deeper – their warmth, compassion or general personality.

Beauty is not dependent upon maths.

What do you think? 🙂

Making my own corset…part three – it’s finished!

 

Hello everyone, I hope you are well!

Just a quick update while I procrastinate from my studies….I finished my corset!15228010_10211232163622979_753013006_n

Eyelet punctures = not easy. I had to call in assistance in the form of my mother, which then ended up with a hammer, knitting needle and some good old ‘waggling’ to get the metal pieces into the eyelet hole.

It was all worth it, especially when I threaded the red ribbon through each hole. It ended up being a therapeutic exercise despite the fact that there is certain way to thread corsets, which in the past I became very agitated with!

The ribbon is adjustable, making the corset adaptable to any colour scheme. I just love these colours for now, it’s very Christmassy!

The corset itself is extremely comfy – a lot is said for nylon boning, which is padded out between the three layers of the corset. Being susceptible to shoulder and back ache due to slouching, the corset ‘forces’ my back to be straight – however in a natural and comfortable way.

I loved this project so much that I want to expand my corset making. Next time perhaps making a longer bodied one? With frills and lace? Or maybe make a more modern style which takes into account the bust – a heart shaped one? Who knows, I’ll have a think!

Let me know your creative ideas! x

 

 

 

 

Crafty Sunday at Hobbycraft…

 

 

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Okay, so this post is stepping a little outside the vintage theme…yet I would argue it falls into the category of thrift and homemade – a big feature of vintage!

A couple of weeks back I went completely pom pom crazy and said hello to the Christmas spirit. The best part – I GOT TO GO TO HOBBYCRAFT.

Hobbycraft is easily one of my favourite shops in the whole wide world. You can find anything crafty in there. (My mother’s birthday and christmas presents are always covered by a Hobbycraft voucher and she never gets bored!)

In a way Hobbycraft is positively crafty – you go in with a few ideas in mind and come out with the whole shop….

An example of this is a few months ago when I think I went into Hobbycraft York with the intention of some crossstitch thread and ended up coming out the shop with a plywood M, a polystyrene heart, what seems like thousands of canvas bags, buttons and about 4 packs of sequins…

 Who really doesn’t need a bejeweled (I LOVE that word) initial? I had a fun few hours on this…

The wonderful event was organised by Hull Bloggers, where we were invited to Hobbycraft Hull to help make decorations for their Winter Wonderland display!  We were greeted by the most wonderful staff in the world who were absolutely fab in making us feel at home (they even brought us treats half way through our pompom marathon!!!)

There were three pom pom designs on offer, with the wonderful Jen showing us how to make them – which were a lot harder than they looked!

  • The first pompom was a giant layered tissue paper pom pom, created from a sort of Concertina like fold. It looked so effective with the different layers of coloured tissue paper.
  • The second type of pompom was a lovely little delicate design, which was created using a simple running stitch down the middle and the thread pulled – creating a gathered effect.
  • The last pompom took me straight backed to my childhood: wool pompoms! Do you remember, the cardboard rings and the wrapping of the wool which seemed to take forever? When I was younger I never really grasped how it worked – it always seemed like magic that a ball of fluff was then created!

Anyway, pompom making has gone up in the world – you can actually buy plastihb4c pom pom rings which makes the process so much quicker. Hobbycraft sells the rings in a pack of 4, different sized rings which can be used over and over again. I spent the whole time just doing the pompom rings, mixing different colours and styles of wools to make a various array of pompoms.

I got so obsessed I had to buy the rings and then go home and show my mother. And made more….

I am so excited to go back and visit the shop when the Christmas display is already. I’ll probably end up buying all the Christmassy wool….and the rest of the shop.

I absolutely loved being part of an event like this! Hobbycraft is such a welcoming place, it really was a fab weekend!

 

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