Category Archives: finds

Out with the new and in with the old …

I’m climbing out of my blog free bubble to send my new year greetings!

There is no particular reason for my quietness of late, but it’s been nice to take a break and just sew …

And find things …

Glass buttons from a vintage stall at Gloucester Green Market in Oxford.

photo 5Something that has been on my wish list for many moons, a beautiful, warm, Welsh wool coat complete with the original tickets found in the unworn pockets (from that auction site). To say the family are bored with my frequent “but just look at it!”  exclamations is an understatement … But just look at it!

photo 1photo 4photo 3And a little ‘doing up’ project for the New Year. Jimmy and I found this in a bin on our way home from work one night …

photo 6And for Christmas I got what every woman needs …

photoA bakerlite, pale green wool holder (and some ‘new’ Liberty lawn)!

I’m sure I’ll be back soon with some makes to show, but for now, happy sewing and a here’s to a healthy and very Happy New Year!





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Snippets of fabric …

Jeepers, how did that happen? I seem to have turned 45 and lost a whole month of sewing/ blogging time all at once, very strange …

photo 2Ignoring my latest (and hard to get used to) age, let’s move straight on to presents. What’s that you see above? Yes, a beautiful pair of Merchant and Mills, made in Sheffield, superduper, sheeny, shiny, spectacular scissors (thank you Jimmy). Yes, they are red! Also, a beautiful Liberty (Made in England), vintage silk hanky from my exceptionally well trained, eagle-eyed, charity shop enthusiast/ daughter, Lily.

Indulge me and look at those scissors again, only this time with another ‘Lily gift’, a piece of striped cotton …

photo 3Sadly she didn’t pay 60p, that would have been amazing but heyho, she made her mother very happy! (Gordon Thoday was a fabric shop in Oxford in the 1970s, where HMV stands today, it must have been huge! Imagine a huge fabric shop in Oxford … sigh!)

I also got a bundle of V&A fat quarters from my lovely friend and work buddy, Lauren …

photo 4These will be used in a very important little project I have coming up (more on that another time).

Lovely gifts aside but with finds in mind, I also stumbled (I know, I nearly passed out I was so excited!) upon a vintage fair whilst reluctantly shopping one sunny Saturday in Milton Keynes …

photo copy 2Large pieces of upholstery fabric, along with some linen and brushed cotton, enough to bring me out in a sweat (it’s a hormone thing, it happens when I see newborn babies too … actually any sort of babies, I’m not fussy) and some fat quarters from a different stall selling all things French.

photo copyI also found this tin of Dorcas pins which took me back to the 1970s (nice close up of my brushed cotton too), how exciting is that?!

Enough consumerism for one post, I shall go forth, dust off my sewing machine (it’s been too long) and snip things with my new scissors.

Go on then, just one more look at them …

photoSnip. Snip x







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Vintage delight …

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front lately, but I am sewing and I will blog about that soon. In the meantime, here’s a little vintage delight to show you …


My lovely mum gave this to me years ago. She found it in the late 1970s in a junk/ antique shop in the town I grew up in. I think the shop was called Lace Lynn and it was the source of many interesting and beautiful items in our house. Anyway, I know very little about this dress, except it didn’t cost much, it still has the original shop label attached and that I love it dearly (so much so that the fabric has always been my blog header). I think it’s probably early 1940s, but that’s just a guess.

IMG_3442The label says ‘Blacon’ and I’d be really interested to see if anyone knows anything about it because I can’t find anything much except that it was made in England (and that Blacon is a suburb in Chester!).


It’s crepe, it has a zip closure to the front with cord ties, elbow length sleeves and that amazing, angular collar.

IMG_3443This beauty does fit me but I’ve never worn it. It’s a bit of an unflattering length on me, falling on the calf. Unfortunately I didn’t inherit my mum’s slim legs, I can only imagine that mine were made in Wales, ‘Shapely’ as I like to think of them! I did consider shortening it once upon a time but actually in this case, I’m loathed to alter anything about it and think it should probably be kept in its original state.

IMG_3444The belt is missing, it always has been sadly, but it doesn’t matter to me. It really is a treasure and I’ve enjoyed having another look at it. I keep this in an old suitcase in a cupboard along with some other vintage lovelies. It made me think that there must be so many more hidden gems out there, do you have anything to show? Go on, pop them on your blog, I know I’m not the only nosey parker!





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Hot patterns and I’m running away …

Thank you for the comments on my latest fail, so nice to know that I’m not alone in these little upsets! I’ve not managed to get around to re-making it, in fact I’ve not done much sewing at all lately what with a mega busy time at work and then a state of utter exhaustion due to this unbearable unbelievable heat! I have found some gems that I’d like to show you though …


The artwork is just so lovely on these! The nightgown and robe is from 1968 and has never been cut, it’s very “Ooh Betty”!


Then, there’s this lovely skirt from 1974 with a shaped yoke (yum) or a front wrap style. Those snazzy ladies make me feel all giggly and girly (cripes I need a holiday!) and their legs are to die for (note to self, they are not real). I paid 80p for these, how I love a bargain!

Then I saw this on that auction site …

IMG_3190and yes, I bought it. It’s a 1970s St Michael dress in seersucker cotton with a lined bodice and I love it! It’s an insy bit big in the bust but sticking to the brand, I bought an M&S multiway bra that has (ahem) “enhanced” things and it’s not too bad now.


A couple of little darts in the back have stopped the unsightly gaping (this size 36 WILL fit my size 34) and apart from that, it’s perfect.

IMG_3189OK, that’s it from me for now. I’m about to run away to the cooler climate otherwise known as Wales. We will have no telly, no internet and no mobile signal, just a pile of books, some cards and did I mention the hot tub?! Shall I take my sewing machine? It’s hugely tempting …



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Sewing is good for you …

You know how when you feel a bit rubbish, a brisk walk, jog round the block or jump about with your favourite Davina dvd can make you feel 100 times better? Well, Friday evening after a busy week at work with a mood of anxious exhaustion washing over me I did none of the above … but I did get out my sewing machine.

One hour is all it took and not only did I make myself feel better but I made my stressed out girl smile too with a new skirt …

IMG_2998The fabric is a bit of old curtain from the charity shop and dodging round the faded edges, I had just enough.

IMG_3001I looked at her favourite Topshop skirt (£40 and nothing to it!) for an idea of size and shape and then cut two slightly a-line rectangles. I overlocked the edges, added side pockets and stitched together. I gently gathered the skirt and added a waistband which I then threaded the elastic through. I quick machine hem and a secret wish that I was seventeen and little enough to fit it and voila! So simple!

She is delighted and even emerged from the pit of mind maps and tattered text books to get some fresh air with me yesterday. Just like me, it seems she too is a pocket girl …




Filed under finds, makes

Sorry if I stared at you in London …

Wow, what a wonder of organisational skills and an amazing gathering of sewing sensations! The meet-up on Saturday at London’s V&A and trip to Goldhawk Road was a feat to be reckoned with and Rachel did a wonderful job of making the whole show a sensation.


I took two photos all day (and not very good ones) which was very silly as I talked so much it wasn’t until I got home that I realised I didn’t even get one of Lizzie who had flown miles and miles to meet everyone and is as lovely and bright in real life as she is on her blog. This being my first meet-up, I did a lot of staring at women in awe of their outfits and also with that weird sensation of recognising someone from their blog but not really knowing them if you know what I mean (confusing).


From meeting Roisin for the first time at the tube and laughing at the fact she said “Is that a Simplicity 2444?” (that’s the first time anyone has ever said that to me) to hugging Lizzie goodbye after the infamous swap, the day was full of laughs and sweet natured chit chat from beginning to end. I learnt things too, that there is such a thing as continental knitting, that you an make a sensational dress from boiled wool and that Jane and I are the same age (we thought as much)!

Oh I knew there was something else, I bought some very predictable but exciting pieces …


And showed my weakness for a freebie by acquiring these in the swap. I know the navy huge piece in the background came from Stevie (thank you heaps again!) but where the other bits came from I have no idea but thank you anyway!


What an amazingly lovely bunch of women I met (and stared at). I’m really hoping there will be a list somewhere of who came because I am absolutely rubbish at remembering names, blogs and all that important stuff, so please if we chatted or I just stared at you, do comment so I can say hello!

Thank you again to Rachel, I had a lovely, inspiring, enjoyable day! x



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Fabric finds on Friday …

My charity shop shopping history goes back a long way …

1st September 1984

… Almost school, still done no homework. Today last minute decision, we went to town. Market – nothing. Spastics Society – bought a white blouse with lace collar and a lovely top with 3/4 sleeves from Chelsea Girl originally! It’s silk and acrylic. Then went to Oxfam and got a grey shirt (Miss Selfridge, an expensive shop) and a school bag. Great day out! Off to wash my hair, why is it always so greasy? …

So, greasy hair aside (that is mostly no longer an issue, thankfully), you can see I have always loved charity shop shopping. I don’t remember the bag but the clothes were gems and I can still feel the thrill of finding them. I don’t get that feeling so often these days, there are plenty of shops but they are full to the brim of cheap supermarket clothes and I often feel disappointed that the treasures are few and far between and the prices (dare I say it?) are a bit high.

Until …


There is a new charity shop warehouse in town and I cannot contain myself. It sells all the things that the charity shop tried and failed to sell. I find this astounding because look at those fabrics! Barkcloth, cotton and the white pieces are pure cotton sheets, still with the labels and tied in ribbon!


This barkcloth is making my heart skip a beat and there’s at least 4 metres of it! I know!


Then there’s this …


A double duvet which I’m happy to report has washed very well and is waiting in the wings for a project (or bed). Then there was this…


I’m still grinning with the thrill of my finds, I think I have about 12 metres of fabric here (not including the sheets)! How much did you say? Well, ALL clothing a pound a piece, all linen, a pound a piece. I spent £7 and you can’t get much better than that! Jimmy is mortified and is putting in plans to get me banned.

Have a lovely weekend.


Filed under finds, Friday fabrics

Somerset treasures …

My teens have been away in Spain, Grenada in fact, being ‘cultural and arty’ and having a wonderful time (from the photos on FB) with their school. How lucky are they?! We took a few days away ourselves and sauntered over to Bath for a little wander before heading further afield to a gorgeous little hideaway on the Somerset Levels.

Bath is a bit special to us because that’s where we ran away to get married. It was so secret that even I didn’t know I was getting married (I kid you not), no guests just the bride from the next wedding and her bridesmaid as our witnesses. In the one photo we have, we look like we are scared to death of what our parents are going to say and I actually have my mouth open! Our parents were relieved happy, so we needn’t have worried but that’s another story, suffice to say, Bath was a good place to go.

We went for lunch to Bea’s Vintage Tearooms on  A Girl in Winter’s recommendation (thank you!) and it was perfect, mis-matching cups and saucers are making a definite come back in my house!


I did happen to stumble upon Fashion Fabrics but was so overwhelmed by the amount of fabric on offer I had a mini panic attack and came out with nothing! Not to worry, the next day I found Sew Vintage in Wells. Oh my goodness, my heart missed a beat when I saw this gem of a shop. Jimmy made a special effort to look excited about the ticking that would possibly make some good kitchen curtains and took a deep breath when I squealed a bit having spotted the remnant basket …


I bought a good jersey remnant from the Mulberry factory in a delicious pink and some red cotton lace that I just couldn’t resist. Yes, that’s all. Crazy fool, I honestly wish I’d bought some of the other great things on offer AND there are workshops! Why don’t we live in Wells?!

On our way back home the next day we stopped off in Frome. Why did I not know about Frome? Why did no one tell me everything would be shut on a Sunday? Oh, the pain, honestly I stood at the windows of so many interesting shops selling all the things I love and the closest I could get was putting my sweaty palms on the glass whilst biting my bottom lip in frustration.


So many gorgeous vintage items of utter gorgeousness and one or two fabric and wool shops just to add the icing on the cake. I might have to go back soon.

In other news, I have made a dress … on an overlocker! I will post a blog about it very soon.


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A question of vintage …

I have found a wonderful, smallish, but exciting bit of Sanderson fabric in my lovely, local Oxfam …

They don’t make them like this any more …

It says it is a sample piece and is ‘foreign’. It has a number which I’ve googled to no avail, it would be nice to know the year, looks a bit 50s possibly 60s to me (or is that wishful thinking?).

What do you do with a vintage find like this? I’m very tempted to squeeze a top from this, but is that okay? Should I keep it intact and place it folded up, safe from the scissors temptation in a cupboard? Or think what the hell and make a unique item of clothing? It doesn’t seem a bad thing to do with the curtain I bought as (looking at it closely) it’s been used as a dust sheet and I think I’m saving it from further abuse, but this is a perfect sample … I’m inclined to think sod it and have a bit of fun, so why do I feel guilty?

Come to think of it, there’s a strong possibility that my primary school had curtains out of this very same fabric in the school hall. All that talk of sun resistance and wash proof colours is making perfect sense now. It’s looking very familiar. Do you think Kent County Council had the budget for Sanderson in the 70s? Oh, now I just smell fear, farts and plimsoles, not good, perhaps the drawer is the best place after all!

Hmm, I’ll have to think a little bit. In the meantime I’m making a skirt …

with some of the fabric from my mother-in-law, a vintage pattern and vintage notions. I’m going for view ‘b’ and hope to complete it this weekend!?

We shall see x



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I’m making something … honestly!

Ooh, it’s been too long, my sanity is certainly suffering with the lack of creativeness going on in my house. Pilates isn’t enough to take my worries away, I need to lose myself in a proper pretty project. I had yesterday off work and my little desk looked so sunny, that once I’d cleared breakfast away, put the muddy rugby boots out of sight, distributed clean clothes to the perimeter of the teens bedrooms and been and bought food (OK, and looked in the charity shops), I had about half an hour before they all came back in again, then piano lessons and oh, it goes on and on … Anyhow, I managed to get quite a bit of my new project underway. I will hopefully finish it in time for next Easter, you never know! We went to Chipping Norton for a mooch around last week and I spied this wonderful vintage curtain … I’m ridiculously pleased with it even though generally I’m not a beige person. It cost £3 and despite one faded edge it’s in pretty good condition. The last curtain I bought for a project disintegrated in the wash, this one has survived my 40 degrees rigorous test, so I reckon it will be ok. I’m thinking, in a mad sort of way that it might make a really nice skirt. I shall pop it on my ‘to do’ pile. Despite not getting very far with my own sewing, I am having a lovely time looking at everyone’s blogs and seeing that you are all getting on with yours. It really makes me happy to see so much going on and it’s lovely to feel a part of this community, so I know it’s all a bit twee of me (time of the month, so I’m allowed to be gushy) but thank you for the inspiration! x


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