Sunday, 31 March 2019


I have so many wips at the moment! I do try and finish things before I satart on something new, but ideas do keep on popping into my head begging to be made! It's an occupational hazard I guess. I do use a sketchbook for jotting down ideas, but my fingers are always itching to get into the actual making!

In June last year I bought some early 19th-century silk. It isn't soemthignthat I would normally buy as antique fabrics can be really expensive, but the three pieces I bought are quite thin and fragile making them unsuitable for large pieces if work. However, as most of the things I make are small, it was an ideal opportunity for me to have something that was nearly 200 years old!

19th-century silk in purple, red and green (though it looks grey in this photo).

I'm using some of the purple to make a small bag, which began life as the small sketch below:

Though the only thing I kept from the sketch is the shape of the bag as I wasn't sure one how well the silk would hold up if I trued to patchwork pieces together. I also swapped the running stitch fir chain stitch. First of all I tacked the silk onto a piece of cotton fabric (recycled from one of my Dad's old shirts) to help stabilise and support the silk. I'm now in the process of stitching lines of chain stitch, both to attach the two pieces of fabric together and as decoration, as I'm altering both the direction of the line and of the stitching.

The back showing the cotton backing.
Once this side is completed, I'll start on the other, though I've not quite decided what I'm going to do with it yet.

I'm also using some of the purple silk to make some buttons, one of which may appear on the finished bag. The first one (on the right in the photo below) is a mixture of my favourite french knots and little 'stems' of beads edged in chain stitch.

For the second button (in the images below), I've secured five little beads inside a piece of silk that I've mounted onto the base fabric and I'm adding french knots into the fabric folds.

If you pop over to my Instagram account (@louise_at_elsiemayandbertha) you can see images of my progress on both the bag and buttons, and whatever else I'm working on.


*Wips - works in progress

Saturday, 16 March 2019

The white and blue needlecase


I don't think that you can have too many needlecases, I have at least half-a-dozen that I use regularly, and I love making them. This one is made from vintage fabric and some scraps. There's four 'leaves' in this one and I've added a couple of packets and some flaps so that there's plenty of space for pins and needles. I'm including a few needles and some vintage thread in this one too. There's also some vintage buttons that are just tied on and that can be easily snipped off and used too.

If you want another needlecase for yourself or to give one as a present, this one is now available in my Etsy store. 

Have a fabulous week.


Saturday, 9 March 2019

A bit of wall art

A lot of the things I make are made from small pieces of fabric, many, like this quilt piece have been salvaged from vintage textiles that would otherwise be binned.Many of the trimmings etc I use are also vintage, though I do like to buy things like ceramic buttons etc from fellow artists.

I do buy new fabric, but it's usually in small amounts or as fabric samples. That's why a lot of the things I make are unique, I often don't have the materials to repeat something.

Anyway, this piece is now available in my Etsy store.

I hope you're having a good weekend.


Saturday, 2 March 2019

Walker Art Gallery - an 18th Century gentleman's clothes


This is a gentleman's court suit and was made about 1775-1800. It consists of a coat, waistcoat and breeches and is made from silk velvet and silk satin. Such a formal, made to be worn at Court would have been made by male professionals. The embroidery is beautiful and must have taken some time to complete.

These are a pair of padded gentleman's stockings. In the 18th century, having shapely calves were the 'in thing', and if you didn't have your own you wore a pair of these! You put these on, with the strap at the bottom under your foot, and then wore a pair of silk stockings over the top.

 This waistcoat was made so that the gentleman could keep warm in his large and drafty house. There wasn't any central heating in the 18th century! This waistcoat is made from silk and wool, with the wool being sandwiched between the top layer of silk and the lining. The embroidery isn't as elaborate as on the court suit, but there's some lovely detail along the edges of the waistcoat and its pocket flaps and there are little flowers scattered across the body in between the wavy quilting.

These three items are in the Craft and Design Gallery at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. I'll be posting pictures of more of its exhibits soon.

Have a great week.