Friday, 18 April 2014

Reflections on a sunny day

Hello Everyone I hope you are all well and happy.  It is a beautiful sunny day here on Good Friday and I am busy marking dissertations ready for submission at the university.  However, I wanted to have some time off to say hello to you all and send you Easter wishes.  I hope wherever you are in our precious world that you are safe, secure and enjoying life.  I had to go to Liverpool yesterday on some business and on my way home to catch the train I stopped off at a charity shop after I spied a couple of little gems in the window.

This book is a little darling which I couldn't resist.  It is only a small book and is such an interesting read as the author is talking about trying to get people interested in embroidery and craft again. 

As you can see from below it was printed in 1950 and I cannot see any over reprints of it.  What is interesting though is that the UK had only just come out of WW2 and things were still pretty awful in our country with regards to resources.  The country was bankrupt and we had a huge loan to pay off to the USA for the aircraft/ships and supplies which had kept the country going during the war years.  The loan was huge and if I remember rightly we have not long paid it back to the US.  Throughout the war years we had very little and obviously the make do and mend campaign was absolutely massive.  Talking to my Mum about the late 1940s/early 1950s she said that there was still little to be  had and everyone was just fed up as it seemed that coming out of the war we were actually a lot worse off.  The resurgence of the make do and mend philosophy nowadays seems to hark back to the 'good old days' when we pulled together as a nation but as Mum said, just after the war the whole country was really fed up with it all, they wanted to move forward and have nice clothes and houses.  I think that the author of this book is trying to get the point across about not losing the skills that were around in 1950 and I wonder, if she were around now, what would she think of our efforts now - hopefully she would be pleased.

The first page has the most beautiful photograph of a sampler which P.M.Warner, the authoress had made herself.  I have had a look for Thruxton and it is a lovely little village in Hampshire, I wonder if any of  you know it?  Her stitching is lovely, do you like it?

There are very few instructions in the book but one of my favourite projects is the one below.  I don't know why but I am always drawn to houses and domesticity in sewing projects, particularly applique - I wish I could have done something like this on Rob's tea cosy.  I really want to have a got at this, although as I said, the instructions are minimal, not like today's variety of self help guides.

Below is a little apron, very like the one I started when I was 11 years of age which was never finished as the nuns said I was incapable of sewing anything tidily - by the end of the year it was just like a duster.  I don't think I ever got beyond the hem.

The author talks about a baby quilt but again very little guidance, below are the instructions!

I took this clip out to show you all as I thought it was interesting.  In my mind I had always assumed that women of that era were better equipped with the skills needed for craft but obviously she didn't agree and I would be interested to hear your views on this.  Perhaps you Mums or Grandmas would have something to say about her comments.

Now, sitting alongside the book was another one but this was from 1970 and again there appeared to be a resurgence of sewing/craft for young people.  Some of you may even remember this being in your homes if you have older sisters or aunts.

I thought it was a lovely idea of the author to put in the names of all the children who were involved in the projects, I wonder where they all are now?

This little cutie looks sweet in her new bonnet.

And her matching skirt and headscarf, not sure that my little Peeps would wear this though, maybe for fancy dress?

Nothing much changes though does it as you can see from the instructions for the patchwork

And now to bring you up to date.  My lovely hubby has been sorting out his shirts as he has so many and now he is retired he doesn't wear the formal ones every day as he used to.  I have had this book for ages and when I was sorting my new lovely cabinet out I found it again and was flicking through it.  I do love the idea of making things out of something old or refashioning something - hence my love for tea towels I suppose. 

I love this idea of making things out of shirts, I know that a lot of people are using shirts to make up patchwork quilts and so on.  For some reason I have a deep urge to have a go at making this apron - heaven knows why as I have loads of them but I thought it might be something satisfying to make as a Christmas gift.  I suppose my interest has come from looking at a number of blogs who are encouraging everyone to try and stop buying and use what we already have.  I know that a lot of you are interested in this and I am certainly thinking about it myself as I have so many materials/yarn. 
However each shirt I picked up he liked and didn't want me to cut it up so we have reached stalemate!  It may have to be a trip to the charity shop to pick up a couple of them which defeats the object don't you think?

The finished one in the book is just delightful so I will keep urging him to reconsider my request for two striped shirts...........

Now, finally, I have a request to you all.  Well two requests actually.  Firstly I am really keen to have a go at an easy (and I mean easy) but stylish tunic top for the summer.  I wear them a lot these days when I am away from work and it is so nice to be casual after the formality of my work clothes.  I found this pattern in an old sewing magazine from a few years ago and will have a look for the pattern but wanted to ask if any of you had seen anything similar yourselves.  The one below is perfect for me as I want longer sleeves and I like the neck - not one for showing everything off at my time of life!  I think this is really pretty so any advice gratefully received. 
I haven't heard of these patterns so will have to try and find it.  I only found the magazine this morning so I haven't had time to do any research.  Do you like it?

Now my second favour is that I think I did mention about my first blog birthday coming up in April and I really want to give out a couple of nice giveaways and would welcome your thoughts on your favourite giveways - anyone who offers some comments or ideas will be put forward for the blog prizes.  I know that it is quite a few weeks off yet but I need to start thinking about getting the giveways ready to show you all.  Have a big think and let me know.
My my lovelies there is something I wish I could do for you all - that would be to have a massive party where I could look entertain you with lovely food and chocolates, wonderful surroundings and lots of chatter about crafts and blogging.  That would be a dream come true to be able to see you all.  The photograph below if not from my house unfortunately but from Google images but this is how I would imagine it would be - you would all take away a huge Easter egg plus lots of other goodies.  I am not able to do this for you so I want to send you all the biggest thank you for being such wonderful people - having you all in my life has made such a difference.  I hope everyone has the best of times over the next few days.  

Sending everyone big hugs and loves.  Dorothy :-)xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


  1. Hello Dorothy!

    You always find such amazing things! I think that the authors assumed a much greater knowledge of sewing than we have currently. They don't even teach "Textiles" at my daughter's school now. I was lucky enough to win your first giveaway, and the parcel was delightful, because so much thought had gone into it. The little dog is hanging on my wardrobe door! Lesley x

  2. Lovely to see the book Dorothy published the year I was born! Have a lovely weekend.
    Hilary x

  3. Wow Dorothy I live that dress pattern and the tunic one too, I've never made a dress or a tunic only skirts but I'd love to gave a go, I bought a top pattern a few weeks ago, before I fell and injured my leg, and really want yo have a go at making that. I'm sure you will do well making your garments.
    I'm always amazed at the lovely things you find in the charity shops do you take ages looking? I never seem to find any gems but perhaps it's where I live as I'm sure that makes a difference.
    You ask about ideas for your blog giveaway well I'd love to get one of your bags I especially loved the one you made for your daughter in law recently
    Take care
    Hugs Jackie x

  4. I love the pictures in the little sewing book! The applique picture is very sweet. I've done a teeny bit of applique, but would like to try more of it. I have some very old sewing patterns and tried making an apron from one of them. I think the makers of patterns then assumed that everyone had the basic sewing skills and didn't go into a lot of detail. It was a very frustrating apron to make, and I didn't like the finished result so I cut it up for something else. I love the look of the apron from old striped shirts and I think your husband is being a silly and should give you a couple to use ;) Or maybe just sneak a couple away that you haven't seen him wear in a while! I really like the look of the tunic dress ... very 60s!! I'm not familiar with that name brand, but it looks like it would be a fairly easy thing to make. Have a great weekend Dorothy :) Wendy x

  5. Love the sewing book.
    Happy Easter, Dorothy x

  6. Hello my dear. You certainly have found some great things. I love looking for old books. I have a great knitting book from way back and the patterns are fab.
    Anything hand made is great for a Giveaway.

  7. You've certainly posted a most interesting pile of information here Dorothy - gosh you have been so busy with your posts I am way behind and can't seem to cover them all for they are so engrossing! These book revues are so good - it's so thought provoking hearing your ruminations on the various aspects of the contents!
    Giveaways suggestions? Gee, that is so difficult my dear, for you make such a variety of treasures that most anything would be suitable, but your lovely bags do keep coming to mind . . . . . Sending you much love, Joy xoxoxo

  8. Dear Dorothy I am just catching up and had to leave a commment on this lovely post! You were very clever to find that lovely Pictures and Patchwork book, it is fascnating to me! I love that style of embroidery and applique combined with patchwork. Thank you for sharing so many other interesting facts too :)
    Wishing you a happy week.
    Helen xox