Sunday, 31 May 2009

Clothkits for the Noughties

Anyone who was anyone in the 70's and 80's, prepare for a flashback: Clothkits has been relaunched and given a snazzy new image perfect for 2009 (this isn't literally 'new' news as the launch was several months back now, but I keen forgetting to post about it. Anyhoo...) As a child of the 80's, much of my favourite clobber was made by my Mother courtesy of these kitmaker extraordinaires, most memorably a Hawaiian outfit consisting of jungle print skirt, boob tube and matching headband. Despite being about six at the time and therefore still very much flat-chested, the boobtube was my favourite part of the whole ensemble and I just KNEW I was literally the coolest kid on earth when playing out front in that get-up. 

Clothkits 2:0 is much the same as old: purchase your kit in your chosen fabric, cut out the pattern pieces and sew it up yourself at home. Not so nifty with pattern cutting or just keen to save a bit of sewing time? These kits are a most timely relaunch for all those time-poor, craft-hungry Primark converts out there keen to start running up their own but not sure where to start. 

Kits include clothing for children and adults, as well as a range of accessories and even cushion covers, including this fab one pictured, a collaboration with prolific line drawing artists People Will Always Need Plates.

Not to be left out, papercut whizz Rob Ryan also gets in on the act with this 'Hold Me' skirt, at £45. Such collaborations have also helped put the once ailing brand back on the craft map. Don't leave us again, Clothkits, and please start reissuing some of your vintage designs as of immediately, please. Plus a grown-up version of that jungle number if you have it... 

All picture credits to

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Needlepoint in the News!

I happened to catch the teatime bulletin of Five News last night (if you're sick and tired of the doom and gloom of 'proper' bulletins, do tune in: it's kind of like real news spliced with E! Daily Ten). But I digress. Today's fluffy end story was not the latest on Jordan/Petergate, it was, in fact, a little piece on the 'hip new trend' of needlepoint!

First up, a look at the work of tapestry kit maker and designer of these Kiss and Hug cushions that I heart deeply, Emily Peacock. After a peek at her work, a short talking head piece ensued about the general greatness, easiness and 2009 relevance of needlepoint.

Followed swiftly by a trip to a Cupcakes and Cross Stitch workshop, courtesy of the fantastic Urban Cross Stitch, where Five's roving reporter got down to some embroidery hoop action with London's hip kids.

With so much craft news in the press these days, it sure is an exciting time for us crafty folk. But if needlepoint is the new knitting, what's going to be the new needlepoint? Potato printing and hobby-smock-making, a la my earlier post? What are your predictions?
(picture credits: courtesy of (first three pics) and (last two images)

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Credit Crunch Canvas: eBoy Poster Hack

Hack time. My boy housemate has for some time now coveted an eBoy poster for his walls (for those unfamiliar, think quirky, lo-fi pixel artwork. Cityscape posters of said artwork are on sale in Magma from around the £15 mark (plus framing costs) - but they also sell an identical version printed onto sheets of giftwrap, for a fraction of the cost. Never one to turn down a bargain (I train them well over at my gaff), Boy Housemate duly purchased two sheets, two artist's canvases from art-supply-bargain-haven Cass Arts, and we set about making our own credit crunch version of his beloved print.

After working out which parts of the print we wanted visible on each canvas, we simply cut away the excess paper, pressed folds around the canvas edges to keep it looking slick, then used a little trusty sellotape around all the edges on the canvas back, allowing the print to smartly wrap round the canvas sides.

Et voila!

Mounting them side by side, smug admiration of our thriftyness, followed by a celebratory coffee, ensued. We even used the paper offcuts to customise a chest of drawers, but let's save that excitement for another post.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Vintage Craft Books

A recent foray into a second hand bookshop introduced me to these two beaut's which, I think you'll agree, are far too good to keep all to myself. What could beat crafting, other than - vintage crafting, right from the 1970's original horse's mouth?

First, macrame: my Mother was somewhat prolific in this act of tool-less weaving back in the day, knocking out many a hanging plant pot and decorative wall hanging. I have hazy memories of having a go myself as a child, but am hoping to turn hazy memories into modern-day reality now I have this little number in my arsenal. Fingers at the ready!

Happily I bounded to the till ready to make my purchase, until this little number caught my eye.

At only 40p it felt rude to say no - particularly when confronted with a world of craft possibilities, including: A painted paper mache lampshade (check out the food styling - were bread rolls a special and luxury food item back in the day to deserve such product placement?!)

  ...a bit of good old honest potato printing on cushion covers (surely time for a revival in the potato print department - can you think of any good examples of print or motif?)

...a double whammy of rope covered plant pots and decoupage - just for fun - a sleepsuit, playmat and knitted toy modelled by a baby with the best afro IN THE WORLD. 

But wait, I hear you cry - what should one wear to protect one's clothing when crafting such projects? Well, I'm glad you ask: what else, other than....

Yes, the Hobby Smock. 

These books bring joy to my life every time I flick through them, and I sincerely hope to be posting some of my retro crafts on here very soon. God Bless the crafty 70's.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Repurposing Article on Queens of Vintage, and some not-so-sad Sacks

Happy Bank Holiday one and all!

First things first - I have a new article published over at Queens of Vintage! This time, I focus on five ways to reuse vintage in the home - from turning teacups into plant pots and chandelier crystals into tablecloth weights, to repurposing old biscuit tins for storage and framing vintage fabric patterns to create bespoke artwork. 

Above: selected pictures from the article

Also, a musing: I've long been a fan of coffee bean hessian sacks for their texture, prints and olde-worldy feel. But what to do with one? Well, a few options have been catching my eye recently. Firstly, they make a perfect oversized cushion cover (which I saw at a recent craft fair but helpfully now can't find details for) - though my Google search subsequently threw up this alternative on Etsy, by ErnstandThistle (picture credit to them):

A visit to an independent coffee shop in Bristol introduced me to this rather charming artwork - this would be so simple to recreate by stretching some sackage over a wooden frame or box canvas. 
And finally, a quick visit into eco clothing empire Howies unearthed my third find: Used to reupholster a chair, this manages to look both slick and rustic in one hit.