Category Archives: Reviews

Book Review – “Stitched in Time” by Alicia Paulson

I was recently given a copy of “Stitched in Time” by Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy …. a collection of ‘memory-keeping projects to sew and share’.

As I’m in the middle of several things that aren’t share-able just at the moment, I thought I’d write up a little review for you 🙂

It’s such a beautiful book, well written with clear instructions and gorgeous photographs, and with such a clear voice it’s like sitting and chatting with a good friend as you read through it. I like the little stories interspersed through the book – and that the introduction (something I almost always skip!) is both short and sweet – talking about the emotional significance of hand-sewn gifts in her own life – and some tips on getting started.

The book is split into clear sections – projects for little ones, for every day and for special occasions …. and all are genuinely suitable for the novice sewer – whilst inspirational enough to be a jumping-off point for a more experienced sewer. I was pleased that I liked pretty much all the projects in this book and could see myself making most of them in one form or another over the course of time, and a couple (not counting the baby clothes quilt! 😉 ) that I’m just itching to try.

I was particularly taken with this measuring chart …. I’ve been meaning to make “something” for AGES to replace the marker-pen notches and scribbles on my kitchen wall …. and whilst I might not use that exact colour/fabric, I liked how simple this was without being too twee.

Over time, I’ve seen a lot of sewing projects that incorporate children’s drawings and I’ve always loved them, so I did adore the plushie made from a child’s drawing …. (though the fact that my children seem to focus on monsters, pokemon and skylanders in their art is a bit daunting!)

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and I also loved the little potholder with the applique detail …. which I thought was simple enough that it could be made by (or with) a child (as a gift for nanna, perhaps?? 😉 )

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It did make me chuckle to read the little aside – about half-way through there’s a cautionary tale, warning that not all recipients of your labours will be as immediately appreciative of your hard work as you might hope or want …. but that each one is a beautiful memory in itself that might take time to mature.

There’s a useful little section on photography, and a comprehensive set of appendices at the end …. general sewing techniques, a glossary and a set of templates for the projects in the book.

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Although I wouldn’t have bought this book for myself, I was very pleased to be given it …. there are a lot of lovely ideas, ones that I would use straight out of the book and some that I would adapt, and almost all of it I could do with the children as special gifts for friends and family, or for themselves.

And if it whets your appetite, Alicia’s blog Posie Gets Cozy is just GORGEOUS and stacked full of beautiful images, and a whole host of little project kits and patterns as well.

My 5 favourite vintage fabric sources

As you probably know, sustainability is something that deeply concerns me …. it is the other half of the coin, for me, in the creation of my keepsake quilts and just as important as the preservation of those wonderful memories.

When I make a quilt, not only do I only use ‘Dream Orient’ environmentally-friendly quilt batting, I also source and use vintage and reclaimed fabrics to complete the quilt. It’s easy, when buying online, to miss the fine print and end up with ‘retro’ or ‘vintage inspired’ fabrics rather than the real thing. So, this evening, I thought I’d share my 5 favourite online fabric sources with you and save you some time and pitfalls ….

Top of the list is the queen of vintage fabric, Donna Flower – always my first stop, for everything from 19th century mangle cloth to printed 80’s abstracts and all between. What I like most is that, unlike the vast majority of vintage fabric suppliers, yardage is widely available, rather than everything reduced down to fat quarters. There’s always a lovely selection of vintage haberdashery as well …. it’s the one place on the internet where I have to be *very* strict with myself, because I’d quite happily transfer almost everything into my stash! Occasionally there are packs of antique quilt squares ….. happy sigh.

Spinster’s Emporium offers a slightly less wide selection of vintage fabrics, but I love their fabric packs, and they always have a great selection of vintage trim & ribbon, haberdashery, buttons & buckles that tempt my magpie eye. As a bonus, there’s some gorgeous vintage wallpaper up for grabs ….. I’m always looking and wondering where I could use the ones I like – but I don’t have a good track record with wallpaper, so fight shy of it a bit!! They are based in Nottingham, and offer courses and parties and kits for revamping/upcycling your clothes. Donna is a pretty talented designer and the blog attached to the shop is an inspiring treat, too.

I adore Rag Rescue …. but you need to be on the mailing list and ready to pounce, because things go *fast* here. Most of the fabric is offered as fat quarters (although larger uncut lengths can be had, subject to availability), but I come here not for yardage, but for that little something extra-special …. the scrapbags are to die for, and there’s a huge selection of vintage & antique lace, trim & haberdashery – and even embroidery threads, that makes it well worth the effort. Their facebook page comes with the added bonus of projects and ideas using vintage fabrics …. like I need tempting (snicker).

SuzuSilks on Etsy is another place I only dare go when I actually need something …. go here for rare, unusual antique and vintage Japanese silks and fabrics from Kimono and Obi. Mouthwateringly delicious, and willpower-destroying …I find it so hard to resist the glorious colours and bold patterns, and, of course, the texture of silk is so very appealing.

There is a wonderful selection of Indian sari fabric at Fabricana on Etsy … not all of it is vintage, and it does ship from India, but those considerations aside I’ve found this to be the best & most reliable source of Indian fabric … there’s a great selection of fat-quarter packs, and although the listings are generally for a half-yard, it’s often possible to get longer lengths, subject to availability. There’s also a sumptuous range of trims and applique pieces. I just adore all those rich, vivid colours.

So that’s the list …. of course, it’s not comprehensive and focusses mostly on the UK as I’m not keen on international shipping. And it doesn’t even touch on ebay, where I’ve picked up all sorts of curiosities (usually whilst looking for something else!!). Where do you buy your vintage fabric? Is there a hidden treasure out there that I should know about? Do share!!