Christmas Fairies…

I talk a lot about my love of hoarding, vintage and especially about my Gran’s belongings, at Christmas it is a custom for us to have her fairy on the tree.  We think it is from her early married days so probably mid 1930’s and sadly, is getting a little worse for wear so say the least.


My Mother allowed me to use it for the last two years, as she spent Christmas with us (Grandchildren change everything) and I figured it was about time I made a copy before the original disintegrates entirely.  I had planned to make an exact copy of the original, in card and tissue, but realised that it would translate well into fabric so back in June when I was in ‘Wet Yorkshire ModeI treated myself to some new silk and got working on a sample.

I am amazed at how slow my design progress was on this one.  I sort of pottered on a bit every now and again, in fact, the silk inspired me to make my sweet pea cushions in July first.


By September I figured I had better get a move on so some of the bodies were made, M remarked at the time that they looked like aliens and I fear he was not wrong.


There are some rather cross and bog-eyed fairies in this batch but I rather think that’s the beauty of handmade, it would be boring if they were identical.  The wings were a bit tricky to stitch in the slippery silk


but finally they are done, or the first few anyway.  They are a little plumper than the original (but aren’t we all!) and the hair has a definite Tammy Wynette feel, I am sure if I was designing them from sctatch they would be a little more stylised but I am pleased with the result.


They are made in silk and wool, with the exception of the silver ric-rac.  I am not a fan of using glue, don’t know why as there is no real reason, but I had to UHU then stitch the hair into place and the backs have a long ribbon for tying them into the tree, or looping so they can be hung as an ornament.


My final problem is trying get a true colour photo of the plum version.  As you can see I haven’t really nailed that one yet, even outside in natural light the colour is very off, in reality it’s a bright plum purple.

I am not sure how I will price these, they take an insane amount of work and the silk isn’t cheap but the price has to be affordable so I’ll need to think on that one.

Right, only a few more days of hand sewing to get the rest finished!

Linen, Silk and Sweet Peas…

I have had a week of sewing and have got right back into swing.  It feels good, I was missing that great feeling when you make something new, choosing the fabrics, cutting the patterns and then seeing the finished piece.

So, of the many new things in the pipeline, here are Sweet Pea Linen Cushions, finally finished (well the first few anyhow).  I will be putting the purple and dark pink into The Linen Cat online shop and Folksy, the pale pink was a special request order for my Aunt.  


The new cushions are a good example of my design process.  Some things are spontaneous and evolve from new fabrics and a bit of a ‘play’ but others are more traditional in their conception.  I had already made linen cushions based on Winter Berries and Magnolias (the Winter Berries cushion is available on Folksy in orange and is also being made in tweed.  Both will soon appear on The Linen Cat Online).  I knew I wanted to expand the range so I had been thinking about new designs.  My inspiration comes from the things around me, in this case my own garden where I grow sweet pea Matucana over the arches on my vegetable patch, it has lovely bi-colour flowers and for most of June and July I permanently have a bunch in the kitchen.  I had also recently ordered some lovely silk for making Christmas products that just happened to be in similar colours to the sweet peas.


First I took photos and did some very quick sketches to get an idea of the shape.  The sketches are to tone down the detail and create bold simple shapes, I would happily get over excited and make a very complicated appliqued version of sweet peas, but this would be more like a piece of textile artwork and not something I could reproduce for re-sale.  It’s just not my style for the shop pieces, I like simple bold shapes that suggest their original source but have a slightly abstract feel.  I then work up a pattern on brown paper (my pattern paper of choice.  I was taught to use brown paper as a student and I have used it ever since).  Quite often I have an image in my head of how I see the finished piece so I work towards this, if I am unsure I will make up one sample or even a toile in calico with the details drawn on in pencil, but in this case I was happy with my pattern so went straight into making them up.

I am really like the new cushions, I love the mix of linen with small splashes of bright silk and it’s a lovely way to remember the sweet peas which are sadly coming to an end in the garden.

‘Wet Yorkshire’ mode…


Half finished jobs finally finished...

Half finished jobs finally finished...

I have been in ‘wet Yorkshire’ mode.  Not sure why, we did have a lot of wind and wet weather here (blooming lovely over the past week though, got the old paddeling pool out for the kids etc) but it’s odder than that, I have a specific memory in mind of walking in Strid Wood after a heavy shower, in summer and that warm wet smell you get…huge amounts of green everywhere…dry stone walls, wild flowers…can’t stop thinking about it…I may be loosing my mind!  

It makes me think of heather purples and tweed which is kind of throwing my sewing out of line as I am not much in the mood for spring and summer products and colours.   Also, I haven’t been doing a lot of sewing recently I just kind of took a little break, it wasn’t so much as being uninspired as just stopped and got busy with other things (including half term so Felix is at home as well as Charlie).  It’s also the busiest time in the garden which is an added distraction, but I finally got going again last week by forcing myself to finish all those pesky half done jobs that sit around making a mess.  I had a number of linen cat/bunny dresses cut out but not sewn and some mouse egg cosies that had never been lined, along with other bits and bobs.  It was quite good, a sort of a sewing spring clean.   I have also decided to add a SALE section to my online shop (wont go ‘live’ until next week) to clear out some stock, mainly bits and pieces that I think I will no longer make, or that were made using sample fabric, there is nothing wrong with them and they are made to my usual standard but they don’t fit into my normal collection.  And finally, whilst my head is in ‘wet Yorkshire’ mode of thinking I have started to work on Christmas products….yes, you read that right, I know it’s June but I have a few things I know I want to make and need to work through the designs plus it was a great excuse to buy fancy silk fabric which I am loving.

The flower photo (peonies) is just because I fell in love with the fantastic bright pink with yellow and had to record it somewhere.

OK, off to dream of tweedy walks on heather moors…