Thursday, 1 November 2012

We've had a Ball and been to Hollywood!

......Hollywood at the V & A, that is!
Last Sunday my daughter Tess, and I
spent the day at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

We drove up to the London Underground carpark at the O2 in Greenwich -
a bargain £3 for the day's parking - and caught the tube to South Kensington.

We planned our itinery before the visit, so knew just what we wanted to see.
Our first port of call was the Fashion gallery. 
Tess is doing AS textiles and needed some inspiration for her 
current assignment. She found plenty here amongst the exhibits from the 
early 18th century to the present.

As a seamstress myself I wondered at the intricacy of the sewing, 
all done by hand, until the invention of the sewing machine around 1850.

Within the Fashion gallery is the Ballgown exhibition -
we were lucky to visit this quite early in the day -
 it was quiet and we could view the beautiful gowns easily.

The gowns, by Couture designers from the 50's to the present,
were exquisite.
We saw this

and this
Hardie Amies

and these
Ossie Clarke

Alexander Mcqueen

 Catherine Walker for Princess Diana

and many more.
The gowns were loaned by the designers or by the owners/original wearers.
Tess couldn't get over the fact that 'Beyonce actually wore that' or
'I can remember seeing that'
The dresses were so close you could almost touch them, and I really wanted to - 
to feel the beautiful fabrics or to have a look to see how they were made.
There were too many eagle eyed guides around though!
(and rightly so, I suppose. Too many fingers touching the garments 
would certainly spoil them)
I think this was one of my favourites.
Designed by Cindy Beadman in the late seventies, 
it was exquisitely painted, appliqued and free machine embroidered silk,
the embroidery telling the story of Sleeping Beauty.
This was my ultimate favourite - designed by Elizabeth Emmanuel
and worn by Elizabeth Hurley in the Estee Lauder advertisement.
The silk was just so prettily printed with my favourite full blown roses.

After a lovely lunch and a chance to rest our feet we strolled on 
to the newest exhibition at the Museum -
Hollywood Costume

Three galleries full of over 100 costumes worn in film from
1920's to the present.

 Vivien Leigh's stunner from Gone With the Wind

The ultimate little black dress - 
Holly Golightly's (Audrey hepburn) 
Givenchy dress from Breakfast at Tiffany's

Scarlett O'Hara's velvet 'curtains' dress from 
Gone with the Wind

John Travolta's iconic white suit from Saturday Night Fever
(I couldn't believe how long his legs are!)

and of course - this dress - made famous by 
Marilyn Munroe in The Seven Year Itch.
(the waist of this dress was TINY!!)

Oh!...... there were so many more costumes, together with information on the designers,
how the costumes were designed and the films they were from.
Digital images of the actors and actresses talking about the costumes 
seemed uncannily realistic when viewed across the room and brilliant digital
displays took you through the design processes.

The costumes gave one the idea of  how tiny, slim, 
short or tall the actors and actresses were; 
there were a few surprises and notibly no fatties!!

Tess and I were fascinated and would have gone around again, 
were it not so busy and hot. 
Still,we soaked up what we could and thoroughly enjoyed our day.
A cup of coffee and piece of cake, then a stroll around the lovely V&A shop
before winding our way back to the car and home!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Make a Christmas Stocking

Use my very simple tutorial to make your Christmas stockings this year. It is available to download for free!

Just click on the menu, then click download or share for the tutorial to open in a new tab.
You can then use the tutorial from there or download it to your computer to print out at your leisure.

 Let me know how you get on, I'd love to see the results.
Good Luck x

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Make overs! Number 1.

Well, it has been a long while since I have written a post
but have found a little time out of my busy life to put fingers to the keyboard!

There has been a few makeovers in my home over the last 18 months.
Firstly I made a very difficult and emotional, but life changing, decision, which has left me responsible
for looking after the children (mid to late teens so can look after themselves mostly),
and for living in and maintaining the family home and finances. 
But I'm now out of the deep rut I felt well and truly in and feel much happier and more 
positive as a result........

I lost nearly two stone in weight by going to Slimming World and felt great about that.
(though note to self - it will keep creeping back on if I don't go to meetings!!)

I moved my workroom from the garden workshop
to a spare room in the house that needed a massive make over.

 from this........................................................................ this
It's now a pretty light filled space where I make all my soft furnishing commissions 
and craft fair items for Pretty Goods.
I spend a lot of time in here working since having to increase my means of income.

And then there was the shower room.....
It hadn't been changed or decorated in almost twenty years and was in dire need
of a major make over!

It's a tiny room - was part of the upstairs landing originally - about 7.5' x 3'
with a shower, loo and washbasin.
The old peachy coloured loo and pedestal washbasin was ripped out, 
together with the old shower door and 6" square white tiles.
The son-in-law of one of my sewing students did the hard graft, plumbing, tiling, flooring, 
panelling and fitting of the loo and basin.
I kept the old shower tray as there was nothing wrong with it, 
but the peach loo and washbasin just had to go!
I chose inexpensive, but stylish rectangular tiles-
 I do so like plain white tiles!
and a wood effect vinyl flooring to go over the ropey cork tiles.
(we just couldn't get them off the old floorboards!)
A smaller loo was installed. And some MDF bead and butt panelling, all from B&Q 
I bought a new bi-fold shower door, a shower with all the
 workings hidden behind the wall (the old one was an electric shower with a pathetic spray)
A heated towel rail was fitted - we had no heat in there before, 
and the whole room felt damp and kept going mouldy - now it is warm and cosy!
I had the unit made locally for the new washbasin, which is like a little butler sink.
The tap is a bit silly though -  sold as a pack with the basin, 
when it's turned on the water shoots over the side! So it has to be changed - bah!
We just have to remember to turn it on very gently in the meantime......
Once everything was fitted I was able to do my favourite bit -
the decorating. The walls had been replastered so 
were painted bright white, as was the ceiling, little shelf above the loo, 
and the window and door frames.
I painted the panelling, vanity unit and door in 
Mizzle by Farrow and Ball.
I put up a vintage etched mirror and made a pretty Roman blind from

The kids and I are thrilled with the results, 
(though my son wonders why I have to make very thing so girly!).

I have also redecorated the conservatory after the Fire nearly two years ago, 
but I'll show that in another post soon.

Next up for a make over is the front garden, hall, stairs and landing, spare bedroom,
my bedroom, dining room, sitting room.................................the list goes on!!!
I just need the time......and money........
Oh well, best get sewing now to earn it!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

My Pretty Goods stall at the Kitsch and Stitch Vintage and Makers' Fair

My lovely girl, Tessa, took hundreds of photos of our lastest Fair on her new Canon DSLR camera.
(a link to see these is at the end of this post).
The following are images of my stall.
I use vintage and recycled fabrics, embroidered linens and lace to make my items,
though some new, modern fabrics may creep in if I really like them!

Vintage linen and lace lavender hearts.

I use vintage fabric to line these little needle books.

Mini Bunting - support Team GB!

Tiny bunting on the front of a vintage linen cushion.....
 ......piped and backed in ticking.

Vintage embroidered linen and pretty vintage fabrics are made into useful scissor keepers. 

A selection of gadget cases - for iPads, Kindles, phones, knitting needles and glasses
all made in vintage or recycled fabrics

Tied lavender pillows

 more lavender hearts - in vintage and new fabrics.

A useful vintage linen, fabric and lace make-up bag.

vintage, and new, fabric bags.
Vintage Sanderson tote bag, with handmade leather handles.

Embroidered linen little girls' bags.

These are 'Granny made' baby beaney hats.
(knitted by my lovely mum)

A variety of make-up bags in modern linen prints, and lined in waterproof fabric.


Embroidered linen needle books.

Lots and lots more photos, showing displays from all the other stalls, can be found
on the Kitsch and Stitch Vintage and Makers' Fair

The next fair is on 
1st September 2012

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Monday, 30 April 2012

Learn to Sew, Show and Tell........

My 'Learn to Sew' students have been hard at it again......sewing, that is!

Last Spring term they made a plethora of fantastic items.

Nicole with her Union Jack cushion, machine appliquéd picture
and the owl cushion that she designed and made all by herself, at home.

New to the class, from January, is Misty, above.
Her first project was the frilled cushion cover at the front and
since then her sewing machine has been going flat out. 
She's made a fabulous selection of cushions and bags in class and at home.
I love the orange and white cushion below.

 Misty's friend and work colleague Corine, above, also joined the class last January.
She has been equally prolific, making cushions and bags.
They both have a good eye for lovely fabrics - maybe helped by the fact that 
they are employees of Laura Ashley ! 
The patchwork cushion is so pretty.

 Kate is really into making and embellishing clothes
for her and her girls.
Velvet skirts, appliquéd cord skirt and revamped jeans
are all now part of her growing wardrobe!
This was Kate's 5th term on the on-going course.

 Carol attended my Soft Furnishing courses for a year or so,
 but had to move to the evening class due to work commitments.
So she wasn't exactly 'learning to sew'!. She did, however welcome the 
opportunity to work on smaller items and learn some new techniques.
Carol has made a lovely assortment of bags using Lisa's patterns.
 The bag below is beautifully made from a lovely wool
herringbone tweed.

This was Harriet's second term in the classes and she's
showing a fab union Jack cushion, draught excluder and make-up bags.
Other items she has made - a door stop and other cushions - have been
given away as presents.

I have eight ladies attending the class this Summer term,
with four of them new to sewing. 
I wonder what lovely things they will produce?
Watch this space.......

If you are interested in joining the Learn to Sew class, 
or my Soft Furnishing class 
click here:
to make enquiries for 2012/2013 classes.