Tag Archives: vintage sewing

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 – thanks 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 – black 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 – a 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.

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