Christmas Dove Aprons

After the success of the Winter Deer Aprons in 2013 I had planned to do a version with Santa heads, but when researching vintage Santa images I got distracted by doves and, as always, an idea got fixed in my head that I couldn’t shake.DSC_0067One of the first things I did was to buy some fabric. Again, I had VERY specific plans and knew I wanted something gold and patterned, with a vintage vibe. What I didn’t know I wanted was THE most expensive silk damask available, unfortunately, I fell in love with it so nothing else would do. Joel and Son supply the Queen…apparently….I’m not surprised as I doubt anyone else could afford to shop there, beautiful though their fabric is.DSC_0066After getting over the shock of the fabric price (my own fault entirely, I could have gone with manmade damask but it just wouldn’t have been the same as sumptuous silk), I got to work planning the placement of the dove I’d already designed. I scanned some of the fabric so I could understand how it would actually look and help see the edge stitching more accurately. I can get a bit disappointed with my head image and reality when doing applique pieces, as I tend to forget how the edge stitching will change the look of the finished item.

BTW, in a totally off-topic aside, I can highly recommend the HP Instant Ink plan for anyone who spends half their life printing out their kids’ homework. You pay a set fee per month and they make sure you always have ink by sending it out in advance, it’s saved us loads and I no longer stress about printing colour over black and white as I pay for a set number of pages regardless of the format.DSC_0070Back to doves. I remember I’d planned to take photos of the dove at each stage of the making process, in the same position, and I clearly started out well.DSC_0071DSC_0105Before I then forgot.DSC_0100DSC_0109Still, I’m quite surprised that I took so many photos as I often get too involved in the sewing to remember. DSC_0108It might not appear impressive, but all that neat zigzagging on the edges and wings took FOREVER and there are multiple scallop lines on the wings with various gold threads…again difficult to see in photos.DSC_0112I spent some time deciding on the bias binding colour. I was originally thinking gold but it looked a bit drab in real life and in the end I went with a dark, wine red. I also considered the second piece of mistletoe but abandoned that, too.DSC_0180At this point, I decided they needed more bling so extra sequins and beads were sewn onto the wings.DSC_0185Back shot!DoveApron5And finished dove, with mistletoe as that’s what I liked the most (I tried holly and an olive branch).DSC_0183The truth is that I completed these in December, last year, but I just didn’t get them photographed in time. Red is always hard to capture, but especially so in winter light and I am not the best photographer around.DoveApronCutOutShadowsEven then, I completely forgot to take images this summer and I have just spent a frantic day doing my best in really crappy, grey light. But, as above, it’s always amazing what you can do in Photoshop to edit the colours. Sadly, the blue/grey background above was beyond saving so I had to add a new one and a terrible fake shadow.DSC_0016And here is another example of an entire day of using the Photoshop eraser and altering the colours. One of this Summer’s stunning, cunning plans was to set up specific places for taking photographs and to that end, I bought some beautiful, brass dragonfly hooks, only there isn’t enough room by the door (the only spare bit of wall!) to get a square image without the door frame being in – Doh!DoveApron15 2So more Photoshop with dodgy shadows. I need to cover or remove the black plastic parts of the hanger too….gold glitter and a glue gun??DoveApron4MORE cutouts. I had finger fatigue by the end of the day.DoveApron6But they get the images across and I could easily spend hours and hours trying to edit and photograph products; as it was this took me an entire day (including listing them in my shop and Folksy) so they will have to do.

I’m really happy with the finished aprons though, they worked out exactly as I’d imagined and I wore mine for the first time last year for all my Christmas cooking. I’ll be getting it out again on Sunday to make the pudding and will enjoy wearing it on the big day itself as I do enjoy putting on a pretty apron and pretending I’m a domestic goddess 🙂

Vintage Summer Deer Apron

Following on from the success of the Winter Deer Apron I made *ahem* in 2013 (which you can read all about here),

DSC_0031it was obvious to me to have a go at a summer version, ideally in pretty pink and again using a vintage style deer in the applique.  For those who have been reading my blog for some time, you’ll know the apron itself is an original 1958 pattern that I rather fell in love with (again, more info on the original post) but I adorned it with a deer and trees in my winter version, instead of the cowboy Santa.c76e98340f57083f6f36067cf55f03d3I don’t think I’ve ever showed the deer I used for the apron (I showed some Decal deers which were the front runners at the time).  It’s a plastic vintage one, it comes up for sale all the time in Etsy and such, I’m assuming it’s from the 1950’s and this one even has it’s bell intact!  So cute, it always makes me think of Babycham.DSC_0076For the new apron, the deer got a new stance, I was aiming for Bambi style bottom in the air, sniffing a butterfly style.

DSC_0140Looking back at the photos, I kind of wish I’d gone with the grass and fauna of the top sketch, as my final fawn does look a bit like he’s floating in the air….never mind.

DSC_0059Lots of cutting and snipping and ironing.DSC_0139And stitching..DSC_0155And endless hours and hours of sewing on bias binding!!

DSC_0015But finally, a nice little stack of aprons, all ready for Mothers Day.  Or not.  But they would make a lovely Mothers Day gift, I think.  I’m keeping one for myself, anyway.

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I’ve really struggled to take photos today, the sun was blasting down which is a bonus for everything except taking decent shadowless photos and typically, it’s now gone behind a nice hazy cloud, now that I’ve given up and stuck with my rather grey images.

ApronDeerPinkEditedIt’s definitely the down side of always making new things in small batches, each time I have to photograph, edit and list them; but then I’d be bored if I only made a few things over, day after day.

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They are listed here and hopefully (soon) on Folksy.

Right, back to the grind, too much to do and too little time, and my first day with the boys back at school is flying by far too quickly.

 

Gardening Apron…

UPDATE: I just changed the name to Red Hand Apron and now I have the theme to the Red Hand Gang running through my head…..showing my age there 😉

Finally, something new to show you!  I know, it’s a miracle!!  To be honest, I had thought it might be the end of the summer holidays before I actually got around to getting anything photographed and listed, but we had a rare hazy cloud this morning, so before (the last, for a while – hurrah!) school run, I took some swift photos so I could finally share at least one of the new designs.

Winter 77019The idea for this design goes way back, actually to when I was scanning my Dad’s slides some years ago.  The image of these jolly little dungarees, kindly modelled by my brother at some point in the late 70’s, coincided with my want to make an apron, I loved the idea of the simple red hand on denim.  It was around this time, that I got distracted by the Apple Aprons, but the idea stayed with me and was always on the list of ‘must’ makes.

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Skip a few years to early 2013, when I saw and bought this linen (Lecien-Isso Ecco and Heart – Red Birds and Trees), specifically for the project, but by then I was a bit aproned out and decided to take a break from sewing on miles and miles of bias binding.

DSC_0061This Spring, I became excited by the garden.  I’d rather lost my focus in recent years, I find I feel a bit thinly spread sometimes and often it’s things like the garden that suffer, but with renewed enthusiasm I decided to get on with the gardening aprons (it was always an apron for the garden in my head, no idea why!) as it’s something I wanted to use myself.  DSC_0062I pulled fabrics from stock and had a play to decide on the pocket details.  After trying all kinds of ideas, including solid block stripes of linen at the top, I settled on a subtle line of ric-rac peeking out of the seam of the ‘hand’.  I really like it, it adds a simple detail without going over-board.

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There are a few changes in method from the apple aprons.  I only included 2 pleats on the waistband and they aren’t stitched down plus they have been moved slightly further apart so they fall above the hand opening.DSC_0091 The waist ties are not bound in bias binding, but have a little sandwiched between the seams, so it allows for the same look as the apple aprons but removes the nightmare that was involved in attaching those to the apron bib.  It’s these little details that keep me awake at night.  These bibs had been half stitched for some time, but I couldn’t decide on how to finish off the ties themselves, I imagine sewing things together in my head when I’m trying to sleep, which can be annoying but it usually results in a solution and I’m especially pleased with this one.

DSC_0049All the fabric is pre-washed (40 degrees, wool wash, because of the linen) and I was pleased to be able to use denim from my stash as well as the royal blue linen on the apron reverse.  Because it was stash denim and I practically used every last inch, there is a single join in each of the apron tie lengths, but it’s quite neat looking so I’m happy with that.
DSC_0114They are listed here on my own website.  My Folksy shop is rather neglected but I’ll be filling it up in September, when I come to list all the new stock.

I’m rushing to get this post written and published, I’d forgotten how long it takes to edit photos, and get the whole lot uploaded to the shop, or that I’d need to do this before blogging; but I’m keen to be done with this one before I pick the boys up.

I’m sure I’ll be blogging here and there, over summer, but if not, see you on the other side!

 

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 🙂