These are a few of my favourite things…

Part two of my post showing you some of the  materials that I regularly use and that just make me smile  – as seen through the eyes (and camera lens) of Carole Fitzgerald of Lazy Sunday catering.

I mentioned my love of garment pieces in part one of this blog. I’m currently working with a collection of vintage baby garments and shoes for my ‘Not Just Blue’ series. There is something beautifully poignant about these tiny little garments. I wonder about who wore them and what they went on to become. I think about the mother carefully dressing her baby – there are so many hidden stories before I have even started stitching.

A funny thing about this photo below. While we were setting up the shot Carole asked me if I had an old newspaper that could be used as a background and I proudly produced a September 16th, 1937 edition of  ‘The Evening News’ that I had literally come across in my stash the day before (I’d totally forgotten that I had it). Carole then spent a few minutes flicking through the pages – just looking for a headline or something that stood out to her for the photo. Imagine our sheer delight when she came across this article ‘These Lonely Mothers’ by Irene Stiles – it couldn’t have been more perfect. I do love it when synchronicity lends a hand.

You can read more about ‘Not Just Blue’ – my ongoing series of work exploring mother’s personal experiences of postnatal depression.

baby dress and kid leather shoes
Vintage baby dress & kid leather shoes

As well as these baby dresses I’m also continuously on the look out for garment pieces such as sleeves, cuffs or bodices. Again children’s garments can be a real source of beautifully shaped pieces.

Bodice piece
The cut of a simple bodice piece

This leads us neatly on to buttons. I think every stitcher has fond memories of playing with their mum’s or gran’s button box. I clearly remember my mum’s tin of buttons and could happily spend hours playing with the contents. Maybe that’s why so many of us have a fondness for buttons. My favourites now are linen laundry buttons – as always the tattier the better!

Linen laundry buttons
Linen laundry buttons & beautiful handmade Dorset buttons to the right

Another favourite is vintage mother of pearl buttons especially tiny ones from children’s or even doll’s clothes.

mother of pearl buttons
Tiny mother of pearl buttons

More and more I find myself using vintage threads whenever I can – there’s something about wooden cotton reels or a card of darning thread that is just enormously pleasing. Some of my favourites are vintage hosiery darning threads. They often come in sets of beautiful subtle colours and of course super fine to work with – gorgeous for detail work. I also love using vintage silks threads and sewing threads from my collection of Dewhursts Sylko wooden cotton reels. Favourite colour? It has to be  Turkey Red – I’m going to be devastated when my last reel runs out.

Box of threads for mending stockings
I love how there is only ever one or two spools missing – we only ever wear one or two colours of stockings or tights don’t we?

And finally I can’t possibly list a few of my favourite things without mentioning old quilt fragments. The hours of work that were poured into these beautiful but oh so very functional of items.

Vintage Quilts
Worn and tattered 1930s feedsack quilt pieces

Again I find myself drawn to the tattiest of pieces – faded colours and shredded fabrics. These beauties are very tattered pieces of American feed sack quilts from the 1930s. Find out more about feedback quilts at ‘Quilt History’.

Don’t just look at the front of the quilt piece – I often use the backing fabrics. These ones are made from a gorgeous muslin fabric marked by the lines of quilting stitches that I have unpicked in places. Number one rule of textiles – forget about there being a front and a back. Instead think in terms of ‘side A’ and ‘side B’ and use either or both!

Vintage quilts and yoyos
Beautiful hand stitched ‘yo-yos’ or Suffolk Puffs.

Find out how I have recently been using some quilt fragments in my series ‘Somethings’.

These truly are just a few of favourite things – I’m sure I’ll share more at a later date! A huge thank-you to Carole Fitzgerald for such delicious images – it’s such a joy to work with someone who gets as excited as I do over a pile of tattered fabrics!

 

 

 

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