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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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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Making my own corset: Part Two

Hi all!

My last update was a sort of cliffhanger, I sort of just left my first corset making post in a million different pieces pinned, sewn and duplicated.

I currently have seven pieces in both the green silk material and the black stiffening fabric; one bigger front piece (A) and 6 panels (B, C and D all duplicated).

Unlike the side panels, the silk and the black of the front piece are not sewn together yet.

Ignoring the silk piece for the minute, the black piece needs marking w14111661_10210367100716947_186155584_nhere the boning will sit.

I referred back to the paper pattern roughly to note where the positions of the boning lies. I then pinned, either in a straight or curved line as the pattern shows. This allows room for the boning to slide in before securing and sewing it.

Before I took the nylon boning, I pieced the front silk piece to the opposite side of the black and pinned separately around the sides and bottom. The top will be left unsewn as the boning will need to be put in and clipped at the correct length before being sewn in on either side.

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Boning complete

Taking the front piece of nylon I threaded the nylon boning through the sections, cutting the nylon at the top and
readjusting the pins on either side. I then took the plunge and started sewing down the pinned lines, securing the boning into the front.

Next I sewed both pieces together, about ½ cm in – preferably in a thread a similar shade to the green to make the stitches unnoticeable. (It doesn’t matter about bright green on the black – no one sees it!) Meanwhile, I needed to paper pattern again to make lining pieces of every single piece. The lining material I have is a similar shade to the silk which will sit on the other side of the black stiffener, sandwiching it between the front and lining.

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The lining when sewn together

 

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Lining and corset front

 

 

 

 

 

After working out the jigsaw of what piece fits where I matched the lining by sewing together the newly formed green and black piece.

And….it fits!

The next part is about binding and eyelets…

 

Making my own corset: Part One

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It’s finally happened everyone: I’ve turned my attention to making a corset.

From researching the history of corsets for my museum work, stumbling upon (and buying, obviously) a beautiful gold satin one from a vintage ‘barn’ and receiving access to a free pattern online – it was inevitable.

The free pattern is courtesy of corsettraining.net, which gives you a detailed digital booklet and online pattern of the most basic corset – perfect for beginners! The pattern stretches across two sheets of paper, with the different sizes colour coded withi14139411_10210367104957053_1650529098_on the shapes.

I’ve opted to make a size 14 as it’s very difficult to gage what kind of sizing is measured. However, because corsets are made in what seems like a hundred different pieces it’s relatively easy to add or take panels away if the sizing is a little wrong.

Obviously before starting I needed to get the materials, meaning I would be in the fabric shop for at least an hour just gawping and contemplating every single colour and style.

Eventually I went with my all-time favourite colour, a jade-green silk finish. What I didn’t exactly realise was the amount of layers on this particular corset, not only needing this beautiful outer fabric but a stiffening middle layer and a lining for the inside – oh and bias binding to make all the edges look pretty and neat. (Note, bias binding was made at home using a metre of polycotton, cut on the bias!) For all the fabric I got ½ metre each! 14101603_10210367102716997_576247134_n

For this corset I wanted all the fabric (minus the stiffening layer) to be the same colour so I chose the same jade shade for all. Unfortunately the name of the black stiffening fabric has fallen straight out of my head, so when it reappears in my head I will update you all!**

And for the boning? Not whale bone or steel boning unfortunately…but nylon boning – a very excellent and comfy alternative. I got a couple of metres of this, rolled up and secured with a lot of sellotape (it doesn’t unravel – it pings, everywhere.)

After doing the material shopping it was time to focus on the pattern! After printing the pattern it was time to go back to school (sort of) and do some cutting and ‘sticking’ (pinning).

The pattern is great, clearly labelling each pattern piece A B C and D. Starting with the black stiffening layer, part of the edge was folded and piece A was pinned on the fold. The other pieces were pinned elsewhere and not on the fold.

Before cutting it is recommended to leave a seam allowance of around 1cm so I had room to manoeuvre or rectify a probable future mistake, haha. Instead of cutting directly on the lining I roughly cut 1cm away all the way round the piece.

All the pieces, minus A which was cut on the fold on fabric were cut out twice. Piece A is the front of the corset, when unfolded it becomes the centre.

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After I felt comfortable with my millions of pieces, it was time for the next stage: Unpinning the paper templates and pinning the black shapes onto the silk finish. You do not need a seam allowance this time, as it is included in the black shape already! (You can happily reuse the paper templates if you want, just remember to use the seam allowance again!) This stage is exactly the same, however the two fabrics are completely different to work with. The stiffening layer was a little bit of a challenge to cut due to its sturdy nature. In contrast the silk is extremely slippy, something that I will have to take into account if I make any future garment!

The final stage for part one is my favourite part. It’s time to thread up the sewing machine! Each black shape is sewn together with it’s green counterpart, and hallelujah the first two layers are beginning to form! I sewed around 1/2 cm in, trying my hardest to be equal!

That was enough for one day. I need to recharge myself!!

DIY Vintage: HAT

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Photocredit: 101 ways to stitch, craft, create vintage

As you all probably know by now, I love craft projects. I have countless books, magazines and pinned pages online with different vintage style crafts and items. On reading one of my hardcopy books I came across a beautiful hair fascinator, encrusted with colourful ribbons. Inspiration alert.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a hair fascinator hanging around – but I do have a plain royal blue hat; half a skull cap style, half beret. I’ve ‘accessorized’ this hat before – adding feathers or brooches depending on what st20160821_115453yle of outfit I go for. I like removal items so I’m not stuck with a certain style.

I’ve never used ribbons on this hat, so I decided to give it a go! Also, my wonderful foam hat ‘model’, Angelica, has made an appearance.

 

What I used:

  • One hat.
  • A selection of ribbons, lace and fabric (Try to get different widths and styles, to layer and contrast!)
  • A pair of scissors
  • Pins (Safety pins also work – if you want to make your hat a fixed design, pin and then superglue!)

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  1. Take the larger piece of fabric and cut three circle like shapes. There’s no need to worry if the circles aren20160821_121305’t perfect – they’re going to be moulded into flowers! I just love how the colours compliment each other, a jadey green teamed which a royal blue.

 

 

  1. To get the circles into flowers, the middle needs to be ‘pinched.’ The fabric here is quite slippy, so I secured it temporally with a pin. The sides are then pinched together, making a flower outline. Take the pin out, and then position the flower wherever you want on the hat. I chose to pin on the top front. I made two more flowers, one at the bottom and then one for later to position when
    the other items are on.

 

  1. I mentioned I love the colours teamed together. I still do. But why not add another? I cut up the thin purple ribbon, making them into small bows. Using another pin, I attached the centre of the bow into the middle of both flowers.

 

  1. I liked the way the bows looked, so I created a bigger bow out of the pretty while lace ribbon. It came out asymmetrical which matches the asymmetry with the hat! Again, I pinned it between the two flowers.

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  1. The last flower was then added above the bow, holding a more rose shape rather than the two ‘pansy’ style flowers. Conclusion: A very modern, yet vintage style hat. So unique.

 

Great thing about this hat: no two can be the same! You can remove, add or move all the décor about!

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