Winter Deer Apron

This all started ages ago, when I was hunting down a vintage apron image I had once seen, which inspired the pockets on my apple aprons.  I had saved the image somewhere on my laptop but couldn’t find it, so I was searching google images when this cute little pattern from 1958 popped up.

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I couldn’t resist it and bought it straight away from an Etsy seller.

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It was clear to me that I was interested in the apron shape, less so in the appliqued images (although I might have changed my mind on this one and plan to make a santa/cowboy version for next year!) and that I really, really wanted a deer on there and two trees.  I’m not sure how I came about that exact plan, but that is often the case, I get a finished image in my head and then become obsessed by trying to re-create it in real life.  I did do some sketches in my notebook (which I have forgotten to photograph, sorry) and hunted down photos of deer as possible inspiration.  I was quite happy with this shape, taken from a decal image found via google.

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I then got a bit obsessive about different ways to do the trees, this was last year and I sketched plenty, only to choose something totally different in the end.  When I was changing my notice board over to ‘winter’ images, this wrap pack (I think designed by Patrick Hruby), bought from Wrap (I see their winter magazine is out, might have to pop that into my basket after writing this post) came out of my box and was pinned onto the board.  The little red tree, on the left, totally inspired the trees on my apron.

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That and the excessive amount of green fabric scraps I own….green is a favourite colour around here!

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The trees were sewn on and my sample apron placed on my tailors dummy, at which stage I re-thought the deer shape.  I had (as per the earlier photo) done a plain fabric mock-up of the finished apron, this was partly to determine the size was correct, but also to play with pattern placement etc, it’s always interesting to me that no matter how much you plan, once you start working in the final fabrics, things quite often change or no longer look right.  I wanted something a bit more kitsch and stylised, so a more ‘Bambi’ looking fawn offered the solution.

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I then stalled for a bit whist I decided to go with the bow, or no bow; at this point I was also a bit disappointed in the clumsiness of the zig-zagged tree outline, compared to the more delicate applique of the fawn.  I’m trying, these days, to live with things that mildly annoy me, as I doubt other people notice.

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I also considered some gold snowflakes on the upper right of the apron, but after trying out various methods (bought gold appliqued snowflakes, printed ones and some samples done in free machine embroidery, in gold thread) I decided it was too fussy and no method looked neat enough, so I left them off.DSC_0036

Finally, the finished apron.  It is true to the original pattern shape, so has slight ‘wings’ on either side when worn, from the curve, this is partly down to the stiffness the pockets and binding add, both of which should soften down with wear and washing.

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I was absolutely sure that I wanted to use the barbers stripe bias binding shown in the original pattern and last year bought some on-line that never turned up 😦  In a way I’m glad, as I think that, too, would have been a bit fussy.  Also, after ordering some mini red gingham that ended up being out of stock, I replaced it with a red and white candy strip for the apron back, which I really, really like.

Deer Apron Cut Out Shadow

I think it’s obvious from all the above that one of the biggest challenges was photographing the apron.  The light at this time of year really isn’t great and red is notoriously hard to capture.  In the end I had to resort to settling for these slightly grainy images and some help from Photoshop.DSC_0039

Because I’m not sure this would have been good enough for a shop listing – ha ha!

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I’m happy.  I wore my own version to start some Christmas cooking earlier this week (bread sauce, stuffing, rum sauce etc for the freezer, it’s just us this year so I don’t want to be cooking all day and all these things freeze well for up to a month or so).  I am totally converted to apron wearing since making the apple ones, they make me feel almost glamorous in the kitchen and it certainly made me smile putting this one on.  On the price front, they are on higher at £33 each.  I need to make a profit and find increasingly that my margins are getting really tiny, these take up a lot of fabric and were time-consuming to sew.  On a completely separate note, I found myself hunting down original Babycham glasses on the internet this morning, it’s all about the deer around here this year!

You can find them here 🙂

Cute Critters…

My obsession with collecting books that Gran used to read to us, and specifically ones with animals in clothing continues.  I am currently working through the older Racey Helps.

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Although I always love his work, and have now collected all those from the Medici publishers, these earlier ones by Collins have such beautiful illustrations, they are crisp coloured and beautifully detailed, despite the sometimes yellowing pages and battered covers (I am not attempting to collect pristine books here, although I do like them to be readable).

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The reason I’m mentioning this, is because I was browsing through Etsy the other day, when I came across some amazing felted animals by the very talented ‘Miss Bumbles‘.

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They reminded me so much of the vintage illustrations I love (I’ve been adding to my Molly Brett collection as well!),

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and so I couldn’t resist buying this little guinea pig, complete with tree, to hang in my studio for the festive period (and beyond, I doubt he will me moving, come January).

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I’ve noticed that Miss Bumbles’ stock sells very quickly, so I have been happily stalking keeping an eye on her shop for any updates, and oh my, I really did fall in love with this little group.  Perhaps it’s because I have been sewing deers again this week?  Whatever reason, they have come to live with me 🙂  There is clearly so much work involved; it makes me want to learn to needle felt, but it would take some years to reach this level of skill and I’d much rather support another artist by buying their fabulous work.  There was a note in the parcel suggesting that the scarves be removed and eggs be added in place of the christmas package so they could be used as Easter decorations as well – great idea!
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And look, even the packaging details are cute 🙂

This and That…

I’ve been a very busy bee these past few weeks, sadly not sewing but trying to get our house into order.  I have finally taken over the entire ‘studio’, booting the boys (play area) out and moving all my junk  prized possessions in.  I am such a happy bunny now that I have most things in one space, there are still some boxes of tweed stuffed under beds to find and absorb into the already full room but it’s nice to have everything in one space and equally lovely to have the rest of the house tidy of storage boxes.  We also spent the weekend clearing and organising one of the garden sheds, this was a job well done and has created loads of room to move more things (mainly paint and DIY things) outdoors to help free up even more space.  One day I will have a tidy home and ideally a cleaner (we can all dream 😉 ).

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I’ve taken lots of photos that I keep forgetting to show, mostly of pretty buys.

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This little beauty arrived from Camila Prada some time ago.  She is called ‘Beau’ and I blame Fiona for introducing me to these amazing ceramics.  I can see I am going to have to really curb my enthusiasm here and try to keep my purse mostly closed.  My bank balance will thank me if I do.

DSC_0037I wanted to put  it somewhere to be used daily, but ideally where the chances of breakage were low, it’s a perfect pot to use on my dressing table to hold clips.

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When I took the above photos, I realised I’ve never shown you this beautiful Hydrangea bracelet by Michael Michaud.  I bought it at the Hampton Court Flower Show and now have so many lovely pieces of his work on my wish list.

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I have found some time for sewing in amongst the tidying, I’m hoping that these little deers will be finished soon, so I can have them listed in the shop before Christmas – because, hey, I somehow managed to miss my Halloween deadline, and the Autumn one (but feel quite relieved to have things ready and stored away for next year!).  As always, I’m way behind in blog reading and replying to comments, but that’s a given these days, I think I need to add a magic time stopper to my wish list so I can sit down and catch up!

Back soon with actual finished work to show you…hopefully.