Category Archives: recycled fabric

Summer Butterflies.

A few sunny days this Summer has meant a lot of butterfly stitching in the garden. I love sitting in the sun, snipping tiny fragments of fabric from my scrap box and hand sewing them into place to create butterfly wings. I try to be as accurate and close to the real thing as I can, part of the challenge is finding the perfect fabric and I quite often use the backs of prints for a subtler shade, or even paint up ‘grounds’ of calico in just the right colour. Sometimes I add a sprinkling of hand embroidered stitches for extra texture. A lot of fiddly hand sewing goes into each one before they are finished off with machine stitching.

Here are a few of this Summer`s butterflies so far.

butterflies garden 006 A selection of finished butterflies out in the sun.

orange tip butterfly 028Orange Tip.

scarce copper and small blue 003Scarce Copper.

scarce copper and small blue 046Small Blue.

holly blue butterfly 011Holly Blue.

three small butterflies 001Moorland Clouded Yellow, Clouded Yellow and Small Heath. These brooches are a dainty 7cm across.

brimstone and orange tip 014Brimstone.

brimstone and orange tip 031I think Orange Tips are my favourite to make. I spotted quite a few real ones this Spring for the first time here.

clouded yellow and cranberry blue butterflies 027Cranberry blue.

clouded yellow and cranberry blue butterflies 033Clouded Yellow. I love the soft illustrations in this vintage field guide book.

cabbage white butterflies 040Four little ‘Cabbage Whites’. I couldn`t decide which one to make so I made them all!

cabbage white butterflies 052Large Whites.

cabbage white butterflies 054Small Whites.

purple and blue butterflies 001Adonis Blue.

large white butterfly 019A larger Large White.

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Filed under butterflies, embroidery, hand embroidery, machine embroidery, recycled fabric

Butterfly Summer.

This is turning out to be a bit of a butterfly summer for me. I`ve been developing my stitched 3d butterflies, thinking of them as little soft sculptures as well as brooches. My recent ones are all based on real butterflies and I`ve been trying to make them as realistic as possible, layering tiny pieces of fabric and stitch and even incorporating little pieces of calico that I`ve hand painted to just the right shade. They are miniature labours of love!

The butterflies have gradually been growing in size, culminating in my Red Admiral which measures just over 14cm at its widest point. This would be rather large to wear as a brooch, but would look striking perhaps pinned to a curtain. All my new butterflies would be equally at home pinned into a little box frame, or hanging on the wall just as they are, the brooch pin on the back will hook happily onto a little panel pin.

I`ve been adding a few butterflies to my Etsy shop, although some people have been buying them directly from my Facebook page where they`ve been having a wonderful response, which is really encouraging.

I`ve loved making these butterflies, especially with the gorgeous summer weather we`ve been having recently. I sit on an old quilt in the garden, with my butterfly books spread out for inspiration and surrounded by scraps of cotton, handstitching the first stages of the butterflies, then coming in from the heat to the cool of my sewing room to finish off with machine stitching. Perfect! I`ve been more aware of butterflies in general too, spotting lots in the garden and on walks, although I can`t always get a good look to identify them properly. I`d love to be able to identify them as easily as garden birds, I only know a few at the moment. I`m looking forward to making more butterflies and also perhaps incorporating them into larger embroideries inspired by their evocative names.

This has been a wonderful summer so far, in fact it`s wonderful to actually have a summer for a change! Long may it last, although the garden would love a little rain- maybe just the odd shower at night!

Here are a few of my new butterflies:

small copper butterfly 090Small Copper

butterflies 8th july 010Orange Tip

butterflies 8th july 020Cleopatra`s Brimstone

red admiral 10th july 008Red Admiral

red admiral 10th july 010

2 butterflies 15th july 017a special order blue butterfly

butterfly for etsy 16th july 019Small White

butterfly for etsy 16th july 030my favourite so far!

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Filed under butterflies, country walks, embroidered brooches, inspiration, machine embroidery, my garden, online shop, recycled fabric

Forsythia Sampler.

Inspired by my forsythia drawings, I made this little stitched sampler this week.

forsythia sampler 1

forsythia sampler 2

The forsythia twig is ‘drawn’ on some loose woven, vintage linen, framed by scraps of toning cottons, vintage lace, cotton tape and shell buttons, all sewn onto a small piece of pale yellow recycled furnishing fabric. I want to experiment with lots more botanical stitching, based on drawings, I`ll just play around with little samplers till I feel I`m getting it right.

forsythia sampler 3forsythia sampler 4

forsythia sampler 5

 

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Filed under drawing, embroidery, inspiration, machine embroidery, my garden, recycled fabric, vintage fabric

Butterfly Brooches.

These are some butterfly brooches that I`ve been working on over the last week.

butterfly brooches 1

butterfly brooches 2

It took a bit of trial and error to get them right at first, but I`m really pleased with the final result.

butterfly brooches 3

butterfly brooch 4

The butterflies are built up of layers of tiny scraps of fabric, handstitching and machine embroidery. I painstakingly snipped out tiny pieces of cottons, choosing fabrics in soft, muted tones of orange, yellow, blue and brown to echo the colours of wild British butterflies. I was influenced by the illustrations in this vintage wildlife field guide book. The layers of machine stitching softened the effect further, with the black stitching picking up details of veining on the wings, outlining the butterfly and drawing the antennae.

butterfly brooches 5

butterfly brooches 6

I wanted these butterfly brooches to act as companion pieces to my bumble bees and made them the same way, trying to keep quite a loose feel to them.

butterfly brooches 7

butterfly brooches 8

butterfly brooches 031

It`s been such  freezing, wintry weather all week so I`ve really enjoyed staying cosied up in my sewing room, surrounded by scraps of fabric and accompanied by my cat and Radio 4, creating these tiny heralds of Spring.

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Filed under butterflies, machine embroidery, recycled fabric, vintage fabric

Valentine`s Hearts.

During the past few weeks, I`ve been busy making lots of Valentine`s and Mothers` day brooches for my stockists. They all needed a good topping up after Christmas and I enjoyed making some pretty brooches that look forward to Spring.

Hearts galore for Valentine`s day! These round heart brooches are new.

valentines hearts 1

valentines hearts 2

valentines hearts 3

More little stitched hearts and tweed hearts.

valentines hearts 4

valentines hearts 5

valentines hearts 6

valentines hearts 7

valentines hearts 8

valentines hearts 9valentines hearts 10

Some more stitched flowers, pretty for Spring and perfect for Mothers` day.

vh 11 (stitched flowers)

vh 12 (stitched flowers)

vh 13 (stitched flowers)

Another batch of layered corsages. I`m so pleased that these are selling really well. They`re my favourites at the moment, I`ve been wearing one almost every day!

vh 14 (layered corsage)

vh 15 (layered corsage)

vh 16 (layered corsage)

I also had a couple of commissions last month, for a wedding fascinator and a Jaunty Jim cap.

vh 17 (fascinator)

vh 18 (fascinator)

vh 19 (JJ cap)

These were people who had found me online and it has made me determined to get on with my online shop. Now that my stockists are topped up it will be my next plan of action!

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Filed under fascinators, flower brooch, hair accessories, Jaunty Jim caps, layered corsage, little heart brooch, recycled fabric, tweed heart brooch

Christmas is coming….

My Edinburgh stockists have been keeping me busy over the last few weeks on the run up to Christmas. I`ve been making lots of all my best sellers to keep them topped up. This batch of heart brooches were for Flux in Leith.

more hearts 1

more hearts 4

more hearts 5

more hearts 7

Some of my favourite brooches to make for Autumn/Winter are my leaf corsages. Inspired by Autumn leaves, they`re made from recycled tweed and felt which I`ve dyed in leafy colours. Each corsage is made up of a layer of four leaves, finished off with a rustic wooden button. The leaf shapes are ‘drawn’ freehand on the sewing machine so they are all slightly different.

leaf corsage 1

leaf corsage 2

leaf corsage 3

leaf corsage 4

My new layered corsages have been selling well and I`ve just finished my fourth batch of them. I made some lovely muted ones using recycled velvets and brocades mixed with voiles, tweeds and vintage ties.

muted layered corsage 1

muted layered corsage 2

I even made myself a silvery one to wear on my sparkly Christmas jumper!

silver layered corsage

The corsages inspired some little fascinators which I made for Miss Katie Cupcake in Cockburn street. The flowers are layered onto black felt with lots of net. I made them on hairbands so they are very easy to wear, perfect for a Christmas party!

flower hairband 1

flower hairband 2

Yesterday I took some time off to gather greenery from the garden to make a wreath for the front door and lots of bunches to hang up in the cottage. I used lots of textures and leaf shapes, mixing holly and ivy with hebe, laurel, golden privet and other evergreens. I always add a few sprigs of rosemary to the indoor garlands for the lovely scent.

Christmas greenery 1

Christmas greenery 2

Merry Christmas to all and best wishes for 2013!

Look out for my online shop, opening soon in the New Year.

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Filed under flower brooch, hair accessories, little heart brooch, my garden, recycled fabric, vintage fabric, vintage ties, winter

Harris Tweed Owls.

I met a lovely lady from Harris recently, who very kindly gave me a big bag of gorgeous Harris Tweed scraps and samples. What a treasure! I`m so grateful to her.

There are lovely deep textures and colours and also some interesting stitching linking some of the samples together. Most of the samples are little bits which are perfect for brooches or covered buttons, but some pieces are large enough for a cushion or a bag.

I`m sure I`ll get lots of pleasure using the tweed in many projects to come. To start with I made some more little owl brooches. The texture of the Harris tweed really suits them. The little purple one is my favourite!

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Filed under owl brooches, recycled fabric