Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tied & knotted ...

Here's the pictures for the tied set of overalls - they were twisted & knotted then held together with some string to keep the knots in position as well as adding some further patterns.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dyed overalls ...

I'm now dying some overalls: several months ago, my decorators overalls (bought back in the 1980s complete with rubber buttons) finally started to look VERY TIRED & worn out! The rubber buttons finally "flew off" & the cuffs have become rather frayed. So I decided to treat myself to some new ones. I hunted everywhere (& on-line) with no luck. Then somebody suggested a local decorating shop (an independent not a superstore) & there they were - but not called 'overalls'. COVERALLS ... white, 100% cotton, with long sleeves, elastic across the back & plenty of pockets. No rubber buttons though! ...... but I treated myself to 2 pairs.

After getting them home, I've given them a pre-boil wash & decided to dye them using a random/tie technique. One pair of the overalls has been tied & knotted ... the other pair went in plain - now just have to wait for result!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Moses Basket update ...

Do you remember the Moses Basket (September 2009 CLICK HERE to remind you ) ? well I've got it again .. not to make covers but just for temporary storage! Whilst it's here, I'll also be using it as a 'teaching aid' - but this time to show in greater detail some of the techniques I used previously. I'll be starting with making a pattern & show how simple it can be ... watch this space over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pandora's Pillowcases ...

The self-inflicted exercise below has made me once again ponder the thought:
" How many fabrics made today will still be around in over 75 years
... especially if first boiled up in a saucepan & then thrown around in a washing machine !! "

Back in February I mentioned my 'lace cleaning' project ... so to refresh your memory:

Anyway since then (& with the trigger thumb problem), I'd not been able to finish & at the weekend, decided to have another go with the large box of scrap laces etc. I 'boiled' up a solution of the 'magic liquid' & cleaned 2 saucepan loads of scraps. I then proceeded to stage 2 ... a boil wash in the machine.

I gathered together all the pieces (above) including those done previously (but that hadn't had a final wash), put them all into several pillowcases & into a 90 degree boil wash they went. None of the bits were 100% white (more off-white) - several were very greyed - many were yellowed & all looked 'sad & tired'. As most pieces were only smallish lengths, I didn't bother to check any for wear or tear ... putting them in pillowcases would stop any machine blockages of looses bits! & in any event, they were, after all, only scraps.

The machine completed its wash cycle & I decided to leave everything to dry intact within the pillowcase (mainly because its quite difficult to prise apart any laces twisted together whilst washing). I hung them all in an airing cupboard for appx 24 hours & on Monday, although each parcel was still damp (but not wet), I filled my steam iron filled & then came the best bit ... OPENING EACH PANDORA'S PILLOWCASE!

And guess what ... every piece of lace or fabric (except 1 which had partially disintegrated & lost its stitches) had washed up like new. Opening each bundle 'parcel' was a surprise & delight. Each scrap piece that was pulled out & went under the iron was a pleasure to watch & witness its transformation ... from a crumpled mess into a piece of history brought to life. Every sample bit was brilliant white & one in particular that I'd almost thrown away, as I pressed it the term 'flowerings' sprung to mind.

After drying then pressing, they were sorted into their relevant types - here they are now:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Unusual sewing attachment ...

For many years I've been trying to find reference about an item I found amongst some sewing bits & pieces I bought (above left). A general concensus amongst family & friends was that it was something from the garden shed that had found its way into a sewing box I'd bought! For me, it reminded me of a sewing gadget I had ... known as a 'Singercraft Guide' (above left) & used for rug making. I kept it amongst my things & thought that one day 'all would be revealed'. It was ... yesterday on the Internet whilst 'trawling' I found my reference I'd hoped would appear: it's a Hemstitching Fork sewing attachment/accessory. If you'd like to know more about it have a look here:
... it's also a great blog for anyone with an interest in old Singer machines or who has their old sewing attachments.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sweet Wrappers Lady ...

Whilst finding out more about my tray, I came across this site for more info: BUTTERFLY WINGS

Reading this and looking at the tray, I was reminded of the early 20c. sweet wrapper pictures I have. Possibly, they were imitations of these 'butterfly arts' memorabilia as they could easily be copied using metallic sweet wrappers together with the same 'painting on glass' technique.

This one (left) is a favourite of mine from appx. 1930 & typical of the period. I'm hoping to get some more images later as my camera almost had a flat battery!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Butterfly Tray !

I've finally taken a photo of something that's always remained special to me & has been in my head for many years - since I was very young in fact. I remember initially seeing it in a relatives' house a long time ago and on occasional child visits, always found it fascinating. Growing up, I never saw it again and forgot about it. Until recently ... when after a relative died, it was given to me and it was just as I remembered!!

Now, looking retrospectively over my work, I've suddenly realised that it actually had an enormous impact on how I design ... my use of colour ... the imagery I like ... my interests. I believe the item to be a holiday memento from Brazil that shows Rio de Janeiro's Sugar Loaf Mountain and is a tray (at least 60 years old) - a label on the reverse states that it is an original hand painting and uses authentic butterfly wings from the area.

The tray (above) is solid mahogany with two handles and an inlaid wood marquetry border surrounding an inner recessed glass section. It measures appx. 52cm x 33cm / 20.5” x 13" with the main ‘picture’ section (38cm x 28.5cm / 15” x 11.25”) under glass. It depicts an evening scene in Rio de Janeiro at Sugarloaf Mountain - skillfully captured using reverse painting predominantly in black and gold with sea and sky (blue, green and white) irridescence from the butterfly wing background. The tray’s reverse is also of solid wood and is screwed onto the main body underneath. A small label states: “We guarantee that this article is handpainted and that the wings used are from genuine South American butterflies.”
I've now found out more about it:

It's an early/mid-20th Century hardwood wood tea tray with central landscape scene of (mainly) water and palm trees and titled 'Brasil'. Originally (& possibly purchased as a holiday memento from South America), these trays (plus other items) were often made specially for the tourist market using Morpho butterflies (left). Found in the South American rain forests, the butterflies are captured by natives & the iridescent wings then displayed under glass. Using a technique called reverse painting, a tint is painted directly onto the back of a piece of glass that is then placed over a butterfly wing background.

The notable mountain shown is a granite peak at the mouth of Guanabara Bay – it is said to resemble the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar! On a peninsula sticking out into the Atlantic Ocean, Sugarloaf Mountain rises 396 metres (1,299 ft) above the harbour and 2 cable car lines (the earliest built in 1912) take passengers to the mountain peaks. These 2 lines together with a cable car are clearly visible in the landscape scene on this tray.