Friday, December 17, 2010

Vintage barkcloth salvaged for modern living

One of my favourite fabrics - vintage barkcloth rescued from an op shop - all torn up ready for rags. This Kokeshi bag has been reinforced with firm interfacing and lined with a repurposed calico curtain.

I love these vintage buttons as well. Probably older than the fabric itself! You can see the texture of the barkcloth from the cloe up photo below. How could someone dreamed of using it for cleaning!

I already own a Marbella (hobo style) bag made from this fabric, but I am glad I still have a few salvaged pieces left - it makes such a vibrant tote.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Discovered this beautiful gaudy barkcloth pillowcase this week. In such good condition......
I am not sure I can part with it. Perhaps I will pop in a pillow and just admire it for a while, and consider which style of bag to use.

I wonder what year it was created?

I am tickled that I found it in an opshop all forlorn. Much more fun and less pricey, as it's vibrancy would have snapped up by a dealer.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Calypso Drawstring

The latest little ditty bag - a drawstring just big enough for your thongs (or flip flops) so you can wear heels and still walk home!

Custom made for a birthday girl (lady), completed because of the birthday date the contemporary Happy Birthday Polka Dots from The Moda Collection spots, are lined with 80's floral and finished with upholestery fabric handles.

Here is the comment on Bessie's facebook: "I have just received a beautiful Bessie original as a gift and it is fun,funky, and well loved already, thanks".

With Christmas coming I have loads of bags running around in my head..ready for some time to be spend on the machine....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Flutter in the City

I have just had the most wonderful long weekend away. It started in Brisbane - I had a couple of hours to while away so found myself in the West End, and scored some gorgeous op shop clothes for myself, including a very vintage, very pink sheer - but too pretty to be called a dressing gown- what are they called? Then it was time and husband of 15 years and I flew to beautiful Adelaide.

My first trip and I was not disappointed. I should have researched handmade and shops a little before we left I guess, but it was just too much fun exploring the city. I was gobsmacked with the button shop below. Walls of them ! Walls! Just no vintage... There were such a variety of shops in Rundle Mall, and we loved the asian food courts. SO good.

The next day saw us heading to the Central Market for breakfast. The Russian breakfast did not disappoint either. A huge omelette with 3 cold salads... Although nowhere near as big as Mebourne's Victoria Markets... the atmosphere was humming, prices fantastic (I wish I could buy mushrooms here for $5 per kilo) and choice...!

My excess could have been simply from the legumes....I had been searching for black beans since last year, although I am sure they are available North of Brisbane I just haven't come across them yet. Outside the Market we popped into an antique shop - bursting to the seams with beautiful crockery and cars, hats and dresses upstairs plus a collectable museum!!

Ahhhh, then the reason we headed down (besides our anniversary) was for our friend's birthday party in the Adelaide Hills. It was to our fortune that we stumbled on Paracombe Winery to ask for directions. Of course we had to sample some their beauties and admire their back paddock Kangaroos before we continued on.

We finished the party here, overlooking a gorgeous valley with ruins of a winery and pond below. It is an area we are keen to explore further with quaint pubs (and excellent grub), walks and so much more to see. Next time I will bring my list of handmade markets and opshops and perhaps even the kids!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Deadlines and a Kokka Charmer

I work much better under a deadline. Birthday parties are a mother of all deadlines because it meant I finished this bag in time. Called a charmer, it is a smaller sized bag not designed for carting a couple of heavy dictionaries, more inclined to service ponies, littlest pets, and some hair gear and lipgloss. Of course, it will eventually graduate to makeup, wallets, iphones and ID. This version has slightly longer straps, which means it will sit well over the shoulder for women and not just girls.

Custom made for a brand new 10 year old , the fabric included a purple and black floral cotton interior, wadding for interfacing and a contemporary Japanese Kokka fabric. Purchased months ago,  and called Teal apartment scenes in purples, lime and blue on white, I could no longer find it available.

With a coordinated tag with a little bag story printed after this photo, we were a bit reluctant to let it leave our hands. Lucky  I still have as much fabric again, next time I wonder which style I will fashion it with?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Princess Ruby - recycled fabric bag

I had forgotten where I had stored this photo. Having had (accidentally) destroyed  my memory card, I used the camera itself to store the image of my latest creation, how lovely to find it since it has been my only venture to the sewing machine (excepting tedious mending) in the last few weeks:

Modeled on a smaller version of the shabby chic bags - it is just big enough for little hands. Recycled pink rosebud dress exterior (perhaps I am a mangler?)  with salvaged sage corduroy lining - just enough to give it form without a stiff interfacing it was completed with a bright rickrack handle. Perfect for a Ruby who loves pink and green.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mum's hand-me-down vintage

All these lovelies are from Mum and Dad. Embroidered spotted blue on white gingham tablecloths, on of my favourite tea towels. The cat. My eldest sister was given the Octopus, the next sister a Peacock - I carried home Mum's embroidered, beaded and sequined pussycat. This Cheshire grin overlooks my sewing space. The cocktail tray, how I love it. But not as much as I love watching bubbly bubble up and down the hollow stems of these glorious champagne saucers, perhaps more than I enjoyed drinking soft drink in them as a child. Thanks Dad and Mum!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fabric giveaway

I have just found another delightful blog with a rainbow coloured fat quartered freebie - called Me? A Mom? I found it through local crafter,  eva mei and me who specialise with children's wear fashioned from handmade fabric- gorgeous. The offer is open until October 5. Have a look at what I (and you) could win!

I am not sure which fabric - I like the most- I would put the dolls in my pile for Kate's quilt. A clutch for me from the yellow. And the dots- I'm not sure but I would have to make something that was staying in this household. The conditions are they are not for resale. What a good excuse to make something for Kate and I!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hand-me-down vintage

I love this word. Here are some of the enduring beauties I have received:.

Visiting markets recently, we discovered a pillow or two full of vintage brooches. Some huge, or gaudy, others sweet and refined. These two I inherited. Besides the florals, they are both so different. I would love to learn more about them. Meanwhile I just wear and enjoy them.

My grandma (Bessie's) I think? We still wear it, Kate loves aprons. Occasionally I come across an op shop beauty- generally worn and loved, but always in a fabulously vintage fabric.

This basket is very special because my Pop made it. I am unsure of it's age - but I see it and use it every morning and night. Handmade, it is so strong and durable. It keeps reinventing itself to give me a new purpose every few years. Pop's shed had it own smell about it. Retired from the farm, fixed tennis racquets, was very handy with wood, was way ahead with edible landscapes and I guess he weaved as well!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Words of Beauty

Besides sewing, I love to read. This one is not about vintage fabric....instead a book recommendation.

I am so pleased I have had this book on the go. I picked up the first book Odd Thomas in an op shop, just after having seen a glowing review in the Good Reads magazine. Written by Dean Koontz, I normally would have left it alone- I have barely launched into magical and mystical loving Harry, His Dark Materials and Eragon (so I knew my eldest son's choices) and was not after the supernatural. Read I did. To my delight I discovered there were more Odd books, I completed Odd Hours last night. Sometimes, Koontz's words and Odd's learnings are so beautiful it makes me stop:

  "Grief can destroy you - or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. Or you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn't allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it is over and you're alone, you begin to see it wasn't just a movie and dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and every precious moment of it." (Dean Koontz, Odd Hours, in Chapter 32)

I just read today that Koontz has plans for 7 Odd books. I will look forwards to reading the next one- it helps me appreciate the moments of "grace" in my own world.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Brand New Produce Bags for your Fruit and Vegies

Eco friendly Bessie brings the first peek of our produce bags. Are you tired of tossing plastic bags? Most of us remember our green bags for the checkout - this goes one step further. Designed to hold your fruit and vegetables, it is light enough to weigh your produce and carry it home. Machine washable, they can be used over and over.
With a built in drawstring and made from recycled lightweight fabrics or curtains they are a environmentally friendly substitute for the supermarket or produce markets. Versatile- you can also make them a toy bag or for eco-friendly gift wrapping.

Say NO to Plastic Bags! Have fun with your groceries with our custom made bags in your choice of colours. You can purchase three of the same fabric or a variety as pictured. Visit our gallery for more fabric ideas. The bags featured on this page are made from discarded vintage sheets and net curtain- a great way to shop  sustainably.

Thrifted vintage floral extravaganza

Latest thrift finds from local op shops. This happy navy, red and white floral is cotton based yet has distinctive lines in the fabric weave reminiscent of older times.

There was plenty of yardage in this material- so the options are limitless for the use. It has to be a bag, and then we'll see about the leftovers.

I love the colours in this pretty cotton paisley. A lucky score.

Lastly, spots and florals in polyester. I am looking forward to see what becomes of this and what other fabrics it is teamed with. The pile of fabrics keeps growing....time to sew.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Enter A $100AU Prize Draw To Win Handmade Vintage Fabric Bags And Homewares

Thanks for checking out our brand new blog page Thrift Recycle Handmade. Now is your last chance for our special offer – to enter our free eco-friendly $100 Bessie prize pack draw. Just comment below, on our Bessie website, or like/comment on the Bessie facebook page. We’ll add an extra entry for each!

We promised that for the prize we’d include a special new release handmade item – great for the environment for two reasons and you will be the first to have one. The first reason is like many of our other products, it is made of recycled and vintage fabric and notions. Secondly, if you use it – you will help save the planet. It is a set of three brand new Bessie produce bags.

What are produce bags? Perhaps you have heard it called something else. Simply, instead of your fruit and vege going into a plastic bag in the produce section of your supermarket or from the markets, you can use a lightweight, reusable fabric drawstring bag. You can even wash them every few weeks if you need to.
Sustainable living has seen us ditch our plastic bags at the checkout for reusable grocery bags. You can go one step further to reduce your plastic bag consumption with our produce bags.

If you check out recent blogs or our Bessie website you will know that we have loads of fabric to choose from and for a short time will we will custom make your orders.

Inject some flair into your shopping, and salvage some of our precious resources for our planet. Naturally, they are perfect for vintage and retro lovers.

The prize includes postage, other Bessie homewares and bags that will lift your spirits every day. We would love to hear your comments. Like or subscribe away as the more you do the more chance you have to win our $100AU prize pack.

Learn more about our selection of vintage and retro fabric available. Or have a look at our articles where you can find out all about recycling vintage fabrics and what it can do for you.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My latest vintage buttons (and bows)

There is something about buttons. Old ones. Odd ones.
Perhaps it is those distinctive colours.
Or detail?
Is it the rewards in finding them?
My favourites of these finds.
A shame there were only a pair of these.
These photos today were thrifted from at least 5 op shops.
I would love to be able to place a date on each set.
Aren't they lovely? I guess they are not eveyone's cup of tea but I still love looking through my Grandma's (Bessie) buttons (as do my children- not just looking: sorting by colour or size, or playing). I remember the diamante ones I used for a felt frog pincushion - one of my first handsewn projects. And the tiny fragile button- not half a centimetre wide - now lost! After my last visit to Paddington and seeing the gorgeous bakelite beauties proudly displayed, I knew I was not the only besotted one.

Spots for winter

The fabric is brand new, plush and cuddly- so soft all the kids were mesmerised. I modified one of our patterns today....

And... the result. She was so excited the long planned for dressing gown was completed - multicoloured fluff everywhere, it had to be worn tonight and ready for the morning.

Plus rick rack detailing. The kids loved that the pocket's spots matched the robe's.
 And a very happy girl, keeping cosy this winter.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More retro and vintage for my fabric stash

Reading other thrifter's blogs, and hearing the physical sensations of delight when they find a fabric they adore - makes me realise I am not alone! I'm not sure if my heart skips a beat or if it simply gets faster...but it was certainly activated when I found this little haul for my stash! All from the one op shop.

Florals and more. The sprigged cotton looks Australian - I would love to know.

Even though this pink floral was on an acrylic/polyester I had to snatch it up. The floral below was a much more durable fabric.
Above this contemporary shirting will be perfect lining some of my black bags. It's great fun mixing old and new.

The blue and white material below could be upholestery fabric- I have earmarked it for a clutch.
Love, love gingham and am always happy to find it secondhand. I love it with florals and spots....

Retro below: last week when I bought this fabric, I walked into a public toilet tiles in exactly the same 70's shades with similar pattern. I'm still not sure what it to become of it.

Best for last. For me, anyway. Another polyester - I couldn't help it- despite our hot hot summers. It will drape beautifully- I am picturing what style of top it will become. Perhaps a bag or two as there is plenty of length.

Time to sew if only to make room in my cupboard for this lot.