Finally, finally I have been able to get back to this project. It seems ages ago since I worked on it and this does have the benefit that it was with fresh eyes that I considered it, once I had fished the box out from under my sewing table, and pulled out all the blocks so far.
So let's recap.....last picture was this.
It seemed all incredibly random to me this afternoon and I put them up on my design wall and pondered over it for sometime. It was always an experiment for sure..... and cutting up vintage linens that are mostly rather tatty seems such a worthwhile project, but in order to upcycle - it has to be cohesive and the end result has to be useful. I like 'useful' and loathe things (especially fabric) being stashed away in boxes and never looked at. That was the whole point of this project. These linens have been collecting all by themselves. People give me stuff like this because I sew and I love vintage pieces. I love the painstaking hand work that was done by someone in another time and somehow want to preserve it. But when I looked at all this, I wasn't really able to envisage where it was going and was a bit concerned. I turned to my stash of vintage linens and pulled out a sort of tray cloth that although a bit fragile, was in tact without any major stains.
I have absolutely no idea how I came to have this, which is rather a shame and I cannot recall it ever being used - however, the embroidery is really beautiful and the combination of cut work and surface stitchery is just lovely. There was the remnants of a laundry label at one end - all very 'Downton' and there were quite a few patches where the threads had worn very thin. I felt that if it was laid on a backing fabric this would be enough to keep it intact and stabilising it would stop any further deterioration. I chose a minty green cotton fabric and once it was starched and pressed, it already looked pretty. The colour showing through, without overpowering it. I machine stitched around two inner rings offered by the design of the embroidery and then I hand stitched the outside edge in place - it deserved that, I felt.
I added some contrasting borders - Tilda fabric and this was where the real change of direction came. I had previously been trying to use more modern fabrics and actually it wasn't the right idea. Probably been looking at too many delicious 'Shabby Chic' books over the summer, but anyhow turning vintage was a better route. I didn't want it to be wishwashy though and felt that the size of the block meant that it would be a good centrepiece for the quilt. If this was going to be the case - it needed something right in the middle. I was feeling brave.
Broderie Perse is a fab technique that I only tried out recently. You cut out shapes from fabrics and appliqué them using the 'needle turn' method as you go, onto your background fabric to make a composition. Kaffe Fassett fabrics are wonderful for this and I had a piece of gloriously chintzy fabric left from my clutch bag project which was bursting with colourful blooms. I cut out a few and then found this pretty chinese material that worked perfectly for the vase.
It was a joy to arrange the flowers and simple to attach them. I was quite wowed with it in the end. When I put the other blocks around it, I knew that I was back on track...don't you think?
Please pop by and say hello if you should be at 'The Knitting & Stitching Show' at Alexandra Palace and don't forget to use the discount code to get a discount on early bird tickets.
Meanwhile, see you soon... Ruby x