Free Patterns & Tutorials

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Office in the garden ....

garden relaxation

Today I am working al fresco, keeping in the shade

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Brave New Home As David Cameron Leaving Downing Street

Rather belated apology for lack of  posts over the last couple of months, but we are in the process of moving house, so it's not just David Cameron leaving Downing Street!  Even though we haven't exchanged contracts yet, I decided it was time last week to pack away all my vintage textiles.  I took it as a chance to have a real sort out, and of course rediscovered lots of treasures I had forgotten about!  I have taken about 6 bin bags of "good" vintage items to the vintage charity shop, and also donated a couple more bin bags of "ordinary" gear to other shops.  DH has made several sorties the the local refuse depot.

This exquisite Edwardian blousette, made from the finest cotton muslin and decorated with handworked lace and tiny green glass beads, was a recent find.
Look below and you will see the teensy tiny  handstitched tucks on the front - such fine work.

I did wonder whether I was tempting fate but decided I needed the declutter whatever!  I bit the bullet and boxed up all my vintage books, deciding that if I get stuck for something to read, there are several archive boxes full of vintage sewing magazines which I can turn to!

I was chuckling as I read about the packing supplies which the Camerons had ordered for their move out of Downing Street - 330 boxes, 30 wardrobe boxes, 30 rolls of tape - makes us look positively the lightest travellers of the "wherever I lay my hat" ilk! (maybe not?)

Watch this space! xx

Monday, 30 May 2016

Vintage Scarf Kimono

vintage scarf kimono by karen vallerius
Vintage Scarf  Kimono

As you know, I love sewing garments with vintage scarves.  Wanted to share photos of a kimono robe I made a few years back now (I made it for my entry into a sewing contest).  I used some beautiful vintage scarves, silk & acetate satin, and created an obi sash with bias piping ties.  I really must make some more of these now that I have my lovely overlocker!

vintage scarf kimono by karen vallerius
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Monday, 18 April 2016

Getting ready for summer ... vintage scarf bikini

vintage scarf bikini by karen vallerius
Another UFO was this vintage scarf bikini.  I only had to handstitch a tiny ribbon strap, goodness knows why that tiny task took me so long!  Anyway, here it is.  Apologies I am not modelling this but I doubt if the pants would even fit up to my knees!!!  The bra is based on the 1930s hankie bras and the pants are made to a 1950s bikini pattern.
More detail on making your own scarf bikini in my earlier blog post

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Vintage Scarf Top Tutorial

vintage scarf top tutorial by karen vallerius

Take one vintage satin scarf approx. 24" or 60cm square and with some clever cutting and stitching you can make this lovely bias cut summer top (to fit approx. UK size 12, bust 35")

I experimented to work out the design of this cute top but am happy to share - please link back to my blog if you re-post or make - thank you

Fold your square scarf into 4, press to mark the lines, then cut out 1 x  1/4 corner square and 2 side triangles as shown in photo below:

vintage scarf top tutorial by karen vallerius

The large chevron shaped piece will form the back; the 1/4 corner square & 2 side triangles will form the front

Serge or overlock the cut seams of the 1/4 corner square and the upper edge of the chevron

vintage scarf top tutorial by karen vallerius

Take the 2 side triangles and using your normal sewing machine, stitch them onto the serged edges of the 1/4 corner square so that their original borders are on the outside of what will become the front of the top

vintage scarf top tutorial by karen vallerius

Now serge the side seams of both front & back pieces to neaten what will become the armholes; also serge the top cut edge of the back chevron piece which will become the back neckline

Right sides together, join front & back pieces down side seams (don't forget to leave armhole openings!) and across shoulder seams

vintage scarf top tutorial by karen vallerius

Top is now finished; I have left the original St Michael label intact as for me this is part of the heritage of the upcycled garment; the back V neckline scoops nicely as the top is bias cut; ... and this lovely top from just one vintage scarf!
vintage scarf top tutorial by karen vallerius
 I trimmed the front with a matching vintage button from my collection x
vintage scarf top tutorial by karen vallerius

vintage scarf top tutorial by karen vallerius

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Woodland Faerie Dress

woodland faerie dress by karen vallerius

Following on from my previous Frosted Flowers post, I decided that I could experiment with the beading on the corset type belt of a faerie dress ... and here is my first attempt!  The dress had a dark green underdress and onto this I stitched layers of silk & organza which I cut into tattered ribbons.  The corset belt was made from softly wadded & quilted silk which was hand beaded and I made some flowers from vintage textiles & antique lace I had been treasuring.
I thought the dress would be lovely for a woodland themed wedding, and based the styling loosely on romantic ballet costumes.

I am planning more faerie dresses ... the elves and I are busy sewing right now!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Frosted Flowers Statement Necklace

frosted flowers necklace by karen vallerius

I have a crate (yes! A CRATE!) full of beads & sequins, many of which are vintage. I had made this large white flower from antique linen a while back (I shaped the petals with curling tongs!), and decided to incorporate it into a statement necklace with a frosted flowers theme in shades of aqua & blue. To my surprise, I really enjoyed the fiddly beading (all stitched by hand) and so incorporated this beaded flower theme into my next project, a woodland wedding dress (photos coming soon x)