Art Deco 1930’s Cocktail Chair


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img_0871-1A beautiful little Art Deco Cocktail Chair upholstered in tired brown velvet but in excellent condition needed only a little upholstery attention and a fabulous fabric to give it a new lease of life.
Timorous Beasties Pangolin Velvet fabric is perfect for this project with its rich colours and deco theme.


Ercol Windsor Sofa and Chairs

I spotted this little beauty on EBay last Autumn.  A cute little Ercol Windsor 2 seater settee – and two matching armchairs!

 As soon as I saw it I thought ‘summer house’ – perfect!

However, first problem – it was a few hundred miles away in a remote area in the North of Scotland.   Secondly and this is a biggy – no summerhouse!   

It was going for a song – probably because of the location so I bid and it was transported home by an antiques dealer who was delivering up that way, so then I stored it away all winter, waiting for the summerhouse to be built in the Spring.   You may have seen the summerhouse post so my little treasures now have a home.   

I decided to discard the back cushions altogether because they made the suite look a bit too homey.   

The base cushions are in good condition and so I just gave them a bit of ‘oomph’ with some polyester wadding and covered them in a steel grey cotton upholstery fabric, with piping in the same fabric.  


 The scatter cushions are covered in Prestigious Rowan fabric in mimosa and again, I added piping.   The wood was ligthtly sanded a to remove and scratches and then gives a couple of coats of clear Matt Ronseal.   

I am thrilled  with the result.   The pale wood, the size and proportions and fresh print fabric is just perfect in our little summerhouse.   

The lady from whom we purchased the suite had had it from the 60’s and had owned it from new.   I hope she would like what we’ve done with it.

I’ve seen many fabulous refurbished  Erocol pieces on the web and on Pinterest when I was onlooking for ideas. There are many, many creative and inspiring people giving new life to these classic pieces of furniture and I probably would never have attempted this project without seeing their ideas.    I’ve added a couple of ‘before’ photos just so’s you can see where we started out and hope you like how it all turned out.


Summerhouse – just in time for Summer!

This project has been keeping us occupied all Spring, with the hope that we will be able to enjoy it all Summer Рshould summer ever arrive.   We have had rain, hail, wind, sleet and the occasional sunny day here in Scotland throughout May.   Roll on June!!!!!image

A wooden summerhouse has taken the place of our rickety old wooden garage. ¬† Quaint as it was, being about 60 years old and built to last, it wasn’t big enough for a car and had become place to store everything but the kitchen sink.

The guys built the whole thing in a couple of days, basically it slots together like a jigsaw . ¬† There is a cosy little seating area where we can get lovely views of the garden from a different perspective than from the kitchen French doors. ¬† There’s also a little shed/storage area for garden tools.

imagePainted up in pale grey and off white, it’s a lovely addition to the garden and quite cosy in this cooler weather we’ve been having. ¬† We’ve added a little path and steps, which will hopefully start to blend with the garden as the herbaceous plants take over.

I’ve been busy reviving a little Ercol sofa and chairs and a funky old clock for inside and will be posting those projects soon.


Kimono/Cami Combo


So many beautiful Kimono Jackets around at the moment. I really wanted to try making one in silk.

I sent for this lovely feather printed Italian Silk from Shaukat.  They have an amazing range of printed and plain silks, including Liberty Рthanks to The Little Tailoress (Ami Lowden) for recommending this retailer.


Not being very adventurous (and having a permanent black/grey/neutral thing going on) I sent for this¬†fabric and just love it. I had intended to line the jacket in black silk, however as the pattern ran through¬†both sides of the fabric¬†I decided against this and I’m so glad as the jacket has a waterfall effect front.

I opted for Model B in Simplicity 1726 . I’m sorry but this pattern does make me smile, the two jackets and the shell tops¬†have endless possibilities – but the cape!!!!! Well enough said.

Simplicity 1726
I french seamed the side and sleeve seams (all two seams!) and hand rolled the sleeve edges, and all the outer edges. This was quite time consuming but quite relaxing also when you get into the stride .

The camisole top I decided to draft myself using my very favourite French Connection cami as a pattern. I used black silk crepe from Stone Fabrics which was only 14.95 per metre and a very good quality.

This little outfit has been worn time and again throughout the summer (even though it’s basically black) and will be worn all winter too in the evenings, with the bottom half of my uniform – black skinny jeans or black leggings. I bought a great statement necklace from J Crew¬†and the colours and sparkly bits really complement the¬†jacket and camisole.

p.s. The very (not so) shy and gorgeous dog in the photo is our little Norwich Terrier, Max.

Sunny Summer Yellow

V1241 Sheath Dress
V1241 Kay Unger Dress

I usually play very safe when it comes to colour Рblack and grey with the occasional navy and plenty of neutrals.  However, when I saw this fabric on online I just had to have it.



Ditto Fabrics Brighton have the most amazing range of dress fabrics and this is a Cotton Spandex mix Рa graphic rose print in yellow/orange on a white background.


I used Vogue V1241, a design by Kay Unger, which is a fitted sheath dress with gathered side panels, front and back and a wrap bodice with pleat detail and  fully lined the dress with stretch satin crepe in white which gives the dress some added body and is very comfortable to wear.


This is a great pattern for fit, though the gathers take a some patience to get right.   Very flattering shape and easy to wear.   The spandex in the fabric I chose offered a little extra give when necessary.   I previously made this dress in pink linen which also worked really well.

We’re having an Indian Summer here in Scotland this week so the ‘sunshine dress’ should have an outing or two.

Beautiful Blooming July

Well it is now actually August and the weather hasn’t been so pleasant that last few days, so instead of sitting in the garden I’m sitting at the computer. ¬† July was wonderful here in Central Scotland the the garden really flourished. ¬† Here are some of my favourites.


Nothing lovelier than roses on a sunny day.
Nothing lovelier than roses on a sunny day.

The pond has been amazing this year.


P1020120P1020121A few new additions to the garden this year, which have been a great success.

P1020115P1020113P1020112P1020111My vintage ladder display of traditional geraniums and pinks has taken off and really brightens up an otherwise dull corner of the garden.

P1020117P1020118P1020116I think this will be an annual addition to the garden as it has received so many lovely compliments.

Summer in the Garden

It’s great being on school holidays – especially at my age! ¬† I love the garden – well not working in it really, but sitting in it on a sunny day is just lovely. ¬† So far, this summer has not lived up to the one we had last year in Scotland which was really sunny, warm and settled. ¬† It’s 25C and sunny one day, then 15C and raining the next, but c’est la vie!

Rosa Memories

Rosa Memories

I’ve been pottering (or making a nuisance of myself) as I think my husband would put it. ¬† ¬†We do have a lovely garden with a small pond and lots of interesting and pretty plants.

We also have a very tall and very boring conifer which has probably been growing for over 100 years.   This year I decided to brighten it up a bit with some very old and rotten wooden ladders (donated by my father-in-law) and some potted pinks, geraniums and osteospermum.    Hope you like it!

Vintage Plant Theatre!

I love roses and pinks or carnations and they are all particularly lovely this year.   These pinks have the most lovely scent.

Pretty Pinks!

I hope you are enjoying the summer and making the most of the long and sunny days.

The Bookend Chairs

I’ve had this pair of lovely Edwardian Carver Chairs for many, many years and I first recovered them before our children were born, in Laura Ashley Regency Stripe Fabric. ¬† In our last house, and our current house, we’ve had a lounge with a bay window and they sit perfectly, either side of a lovely table which I French Polished, again a very long time ago.

Laura Ashley Fabric

I decided I would fully reupholster them, webbing and all, since someone sat on one last Christmas and there was a horrendous ripping noise, as the original webbing gave way.

The chairs are mahogany, which is very hard wood and stripping out the original upholstery and webbing was a bit of a pain.   My hands were aching afterwards as it was so difficult to get some of the nails out, but finally, we got back to the skeleton framework.


I had to glue and clamp some of the framework because it had been damaged in the stripping out process.



Nearly done!Then came the rewebbing, stuffing (again using the original horsehair and some added coir) and finally a calico lining cover was attached.


I used another pure wool tweed fabric for these chairs in a check with plums, pinks and lilac, which perfectly matches the colour scheme in our lounge.   Laura Ashley again, Cranberry Linen floral curtains (made by me when I had the energy) and Laura Ashley Cranberry sofas.


The braid which trims each seat is made from the fabric and antique upholstery pins are used to finish.

I am really happy with these chairs.   They will sit in the window like bookends as long as we live in this house and they really set off our old window table rather nicely.

The Bookend Chairs

This is my last upholstery project for the time being as I’m looking forward to spending long sunny days in the garden (if the Scottish weather is good to us).




Pretty Little Vesta

This little antique sewing machine was sadly in need of some TLC!

P1010924The base and case were suffering from damp and the machine itself needed a complete overhaul and clean. ¬† Dating from 1913 or earlier ¬†(it is stamped ‘Made In Germany’) the little Vesta is a 3/4 size handcrank sewing machine with a long bobbin and transverse shuttle.

P1010926The decals are floral in red and gold and the crank handle is lovely white porcelain.


I think what most attracted me to this machine though was the wooden base which has inches and centimeters markings inlaid along the front and a tiny red velvet pincushion on the lid of the accessories compartment.


It took a couple of days of dismantling, cleaning, oiling and rebuilding to get the machine ready to sew, but only 20 minutes to get the tension and stitching adjusted.   It sews beautifully and the bobbin winder works perfectly too.


I used my little Vickers to make Harris – the patchwork pin dog and I’ve also used it to make wool braid at the upholstery class I’ve been attending.

Last weekend I finally got around to repolishing the carry lid and it has come up beautifully.   Luckily this little machine came with all its original attachments and the original key (these are so often mislaid) so  I decided to attach the key to the lid handle with some black grosgrain ribbon.


Now Рthis really and truly is my very last antique machine refurbishment Р well apart from the old Vickers still hiding in the garage!!!


Annette J. Dunlea Irish Writer


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