Handmade & Vintage Blog

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  1. claires-quilt

    I love vintage fabric. I mean… I really love vintage fabric. Where has this come from? If I see a piece of fabric and the pattern speaks to me I am lost. No matter if it’s full of holes, filthy, faded down one side, I must rescue and rehabilitate it. I know I’m not alone. The world (and the web) is filled with like minded soles who are following their own fabric path. I’m always justifying my buys too – I’ll make a quilt, I’ll use some and sell some, this’ll be perfect for that small curtain… You know how it goes. But today I read an article about the ethical fashion movement, and I realised that we fabric junkies are good people whose passion will help to save the planet. It takes between 10,000 and 20,000 litres of water to produce just one kilogram of cotton and one of the ways that this can be offset is to keep textiles in use for as long as possible. Some of mine date to 1890 – I am a green champion!


    My current project is helping to keep them going a bit longer too. This year, I decided to start making  ‘friendship quilts’ and the first three have been completed and delivered. I thought a while ago, that I wanted to make something for my women friends that said, ‘thank you’. I wanted it to be something that I made, something that would last, something that would remind them of me, and so I have embarked on this project. I decided to make them with fabrics that would reflect them and their interests or loves and so I have the joy of hunting down bits of fabric that I think will ‘fit’ a quilt. Each one is different of course and all have some poetry and text added to the fabrics to make them personal.


    I took a while to decide what format the quilts should take and in the end, I decided that I would make them all as improvisational pieces, in other words I would piece them as I went, adding and discarding fabrics and shapes depending on what the quilt seems to need. There is a freedom to this method of working that allows me to connect with the recipient all the way through the making process. Somehow I felt that sticking to a design or template would feel like a barrier… I’m starting a new quilt soon and I’ll document it for the blog to talk about the process and the pleasures and pitfalls.


    In the meantime, a piece in the weekend paper caught my eye that was called, “How Crafting Wooden Spoons and Welldoing Can Save Us All.” In short, it would seem that in the era of mindfulness (makefulness?), whatever the question, making is the answer. Of course, there are quite a few of us out here who’ve known that all along.


  2. I love old classroom prints and posters! They are a checklist of past interests and lifestyles and I'm happy to give them a space on my walls. I seek out French and British prints as well as mid-century advertising and can recommend adding vintage artwork to a room for a unique vintage focal point. Below are a few of my current favourites...


    Spring Cleaning?

    This 1950's French housewife stars on one side of an original classroom poster. The reverse shows the happy return of her husband to a sparkling kitchen and happy children. Just like my house...
    These prints are fabulous for adding a quirky vintage theme to your wall. They were used in French classrooms throughout the 1950's and 60's as talking points for the children. Unlike their British counterparts, these show a much more realistic view of life - from cleaning to car crashes. Yes. Really!

    In the shop you can find quite a few of these double-sided posters, alongside, (my favourites), 1950's prints by Helene Poirie. These too were used in classrooms but are more decorative in style and often use a limited palette of colour.

    Helene-Poirie-poster-town-square-4 vintage-french-classroom-poster---woman-washing-and-car-crash-2

    Detail from Place Du Bourg by Helene Poirie.

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    Detail from a double-sided poster - Washday/Car Crash.

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    In the UK, the 1930's saw the production of a series of prints that idealised childhood and the natural world. A theme that Eileen Soper continued with her illustrations for the Nature Series, created for classrooms by Enid Blyton in the 1950's and 60's. These prints also add a unique style to a room with their bright colours and nostalgic imagary.

    1940s-vintage-school-poster-our-garden2 eileen-soper-print-willow-way-3

    Detail from "Our Garden". A 1938 classroom print.

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    "Willow Way" An Eileen Soper Print.

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    There's such a variety of subject matter in these vintage classroom prints that you can find one for any room in the house. Frame one up and brighten up a wall this spring!

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