Thursday, 27 June 2013

Zips Galore!

Hello Everyone, how are you all doing?  I hope this post finds you all fit, well and happy.  I have been trying to push forward with my sewing skills, although my crochet and knitting beckons from the corner of the room, making me feel very guilty about not giving them my full attention.  I am not sure if you remember the old wooden chest of drawers which I bought quite a while ago in a vintage fair.  This was one almost the same as mine but this is in better condition than mine was.
My lovely husband has tried his best to smarten it up for me but the wood was rather poor quality and didn't improve with sanding down.  He did have a go at painting it but this was a disaster so came up with the idea of covering it with fablon.  I had thought of covering it with fabric but again, this didn't seem to behave itself on the wood.  We think the chest itself is probably from the 1940s when wood was in short supply because of the war.

What do you think of it Folks?  I had many glamorous designs in my head about how it would all turn out but my poor husband was literally tearing his hair out trying to get the box into some sort of reasonable condition.  I think at times he was ready to throw it in the bin whilst I was out at work but knew that I would only go and rescue it again. 
I think he made a good job out of it really taking into consideration the poor state it was in when I bought it and the wood he was working with.  I am thinking of lining the drawers with some fabric but have put in some fancy little papers which are given free in the craft magazines for now until I decide.  Any ideas lovely Readers, I am thinking of using it for embroidery threads as they will lie quite flat in it and I could arrange them in colours so could quickly find what I was looking for.   I do wonder what it had been used for and as I have seen quite of few of these since and they are all of the same design and quality, I think they may have been used in shops, maybe drapery stores.  Do you have one similar?  Would love to hear from you all lovely Readers.
 Now, getting back to my work.  I have a couple of pieces which I must finish off over the coming weekend including my crochet cushion and a felted bag which are gifts for two lovely ladies.  I also have to start working on the fingerless gloves which are hopefully going to form part of my 'Christmas Collection' - makes me sound like one of those grand designers such as Stella McCartney when in actual fact these are the Christmas gifts I am planning to make for my friends.  Would love to hear what you are all planning.  I do struggle each year looking for something new and exciting - over the past years I have knitted tea cosies, cushions, bags and made festive shopping bags from Christmas tea towels!  What is going to be in your Christmas Collection - I am excited to find out.
After my struggles with the dreaded zip last week I decided that I had to meet the enemy face on and practise more.  Whilst on my lunch break I had walked through the market and found a small embroidered tray cloth which was in really good condition for 10p.

I thought the embroidery was quite pretty and for 10p it was an absolute bargain taking into account the good condition it was in, it looked really new so probably had been put away for years in a drawer or cupboard.
After thinking about what I could do with it I came up with the idea of making a small bag with a zip...........I lined it with a tea towel which had been lying in the kitchen drawer, never having been used.  I must admit I love using tea towels as they are quite sturdy and usually bright and cheerful.  As you can see I decided to try and keep the pretty lace edging of the tray cloth outside to give it more impact.  I realised though as I was sewing it up that the zip I had was on the small size but I was so keen to have a go at it I just kept going.
I must admit that I have a 'thing' for tea towels - sorry Readers I do have many obsessions!  I have quite a few stashed away as I am always drawn to them in the shops, especially the really pretty ones, it seems such a shame to use them for drying dishes.  This one had a vintage feel to it and I thought would be a good contrast to the plain outer fabric.
This is the finished piece and although it looks quite nice I did make some mistakes.  Firstly I underestimated the length needed for the zip and only used a smallish one when a longer one would have been much more suitable.
One side of the zip fitted in really well and I was so pleased how neat it looked.  Feeling rather smug with myself I carried out and what happened Folks - the second side wasn't as neat, although the photographs I took don't really show it properly.  I learned a valuable lessons here - don't rush things, just check and treble check every time before sewing.

Hopefully one of my granddaughters will like the bag for their hairbands or little trinkets and it will find a good home somewhere.  Years ago this would  have been used as a handkerchief holder but we don't tend to use hankies any more, although I still do love them.  Are any of you out there lovers of old hankies, I know I am, particularly the Royal celebration ones and the ones from abroad.  I'd love to hear what you particularly like.
Onwards and upwards I thought.  Do you know lovely Readers that writing a blog has really concentrated my mind on being much more diligent with my creative work.  My blog is constantly on my mind and I know that I need to work and make things so that I can write to you all.  This is such a pleasure and I am finding friends from all over the world which is an absolute delight.  The power of blogging is huge which I hadn't realised until now and the potential to make new friends is incredible.  Craft people are so talented, friendly and generous in giving their time and expertise and sharing it with others.  Thank you lovely bloggers you have taught me so much already.
Many years ago I bought a Clothkits pack from a vintage shop for around 50p, yes, 50p.  In the 1970s when my boys were small I always wanted to buy something from them to make but they tended to sell doll and dress kits so I didn't ever purchase anything from them.  When I found this little dress in the vintage shop I took it home, had a look at it and then put it away and forgot about it.  I decided this week that it was time to bring it out and make something with it.
Here is the front with the patch pocket.  I must admit lovely Readers that I loathe the colour, green and me do not go together at all.  I am always drawn to the reds, pinks and baby blues.  I would be interested to know what you think of the colour - I call it apple green, not sure really.
This is the back section which is cut into two and I also used some of the white lining material which I had left over from the dress I made a few weeks ago.  There should have been lining with it but it wasn't in the bag so was obviously used for something else.  I wasn't sure how it would work but I followed the instructions to the letter and also watched the Youtube clip about making up a Clothkits dress a couple of times.  This was so helpful as I am a very visual learner and have to see something demonstrated or photographs to help me understand more.
Below is part of the back section with the placket sewn in - it is strange as the fabric looks more beige than green, must have been the flash on the camera. 

The bag also contained buttons and at first I decided to leave these off and just use buttons with press studs - that is my usual trick with buttonholes as I have never ever attempted them.   However, knowing you were all watching me I decided that I had to bite the bullet and have a go.  I looked up how to do it in one of my sewing books and also had a look on Youtube before starting.  I measured a line down the placket to make sure that they were all straight and the first one was a big success.
However, after that it was downhill all the way Folks!  The second buttonhole was way off beam so I have had to unpick this very carefully in readiness for having another go.  I must admit that I was making up this dress after a full day at work and trying out the buttonholes very late into the night so, as always, I was pretty tired.
Little note to myself - try to do things like this at a reasonable time............does anyone else do silly things like this or is it just me?  Would love to hear your stories.
Well Folks have to leave it there and leave you in suspense like a Hitchcock movie - will it ever be finished, will she crack the buttonholes.........I have a ton of marking to do but need to return to the dress very soon before I lose heart.  However, for a first attempt it was ok - I want to completely finish the dress for you to all see which hopefully won't be long.
Well lovely Readers I have loved having you here and spending time with you, you are all such delights, time moves on so fast.  I will speak to you all very soon but please leave some comments if you are able as I do love to hear what you have to say.
Have a wonderful day tomorrow and I hope the sun shines on you all day and you have lots of merriment and joy.  Take care of yourselves and see you all soon.  Lots of love, Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxx 


  1. Gosh, you are clever! love, Tina xx

  2. Hi Dorothy,

    You and hubby have been busy. I've not really thought about Christmas too much yet. It's definitely time though. Less than 6 months!

    I must confess to listening to instrumental Christmas music this week.


    Harvest Lane Cottage

  3. Hello lovely Dorothy. You and hubby did such a lovely job with those drawers, they look great. They will make such a lovely place to store all your cottons lined up by colour or you can fill it with your embroidery cotton as you mentioned. You have been a very busy lady! I am currently busy working on fingerless gloves for a present, but can't share this on my blog. Enjoy making yours. I absolutely love the little bag you made from the embroidery cloth and the teatowel, it works wonderfully. I love teatowels too, they have so much character and I have been working on my range that will go on sale for Christmas at my little Christmas stall, so I will share these with you closer to the time. I think the cloth kit is gorgeous and goodluck with it. Its funny as I really like the colour. I honestly think it is great to already be working on Christmas presents as one needs to be organised for these things. I have always made handmade presents for all my friends at Christmas and hope to the same this year, but I do have quite a lot of work on for my stall, so time will tell. I saw Sue today in John Lewis (hubby took me to have a little fabric splurge in the sale and she mentioned your blog!). Wishing you a very lovely and creative weekend Dorothy and it is a pleasure to visit here xoxo

  4. Loving the drawers, you can put the papers in the drawers with decopatch glue wihhc gives a glossy veneered finish and won't curl up with time. I can't believe you got that dress for 50p!!! Mine was £10 and I thought that was a bargain. I of course love green, can't get enough of it, so I love the colour. When I made it I got the placket on the outside instead of the inside because I put the buttonholes on the wrong side. Do unpick that second button hole, it will really be worth it because the rest looks great. Can't wait to see it finished. Jo x

  5. hi Dorothy,
    Love your wee Drawers. Your husband did a great job. The colour is great