Fossicking for fabrics

Some sewing friends recently recently introduced me to The Fabric Cave.   It combines four of my favourite things:  not for profit, supported employment, upcycling and sewing supplies.   The look and smell of this place evokes memories of 50 Nana’s sewing rooms.   Their stock has all been donated by people culling their stashes –  ready to find new lives in the a different sewing room.   They even have UFOs ready for some renewed inspiration.

My most recent trip there was with two dear friends – one of them the author behind Misty Cow Designs blog. How lovely it is to go shopping with people who ‘get it’.   I arrived with some odds and sods and one of my mother’s UFOs – appliqued squares for a patchwork quilt she started 20 years ago and then went off the idea.   She’d held onto it all this time because there was too much work in it to part with – but the prospect of it finding new love somewhere else spurred her into donating.’

My friends and I each spent about $50 and came out with very different supplies for our wide and varied interests.

Among my haul was this stash of vintage coloured patchwork fabrics.  I’d found myself looking at all the patchwork scraps and stumbled across a very retro piece;  I’ve been wanted to make a modern vintage quilt for some time and here was my start.    I immediately found a complimentary piece – and another – and another.     All the pieces seemed to jump out at me for re-use.   Yes, I was rather excited.    Because all the pieces are different sizes, I’ll probably go with some type of random pieced scrappy quilt.

retro fabrics

The top left piece was my starting piece of inspiration.  And the rest just followed

mid century modern fabric

OK, this one isn’t going to match my modern vintage quilt, but I couldn’t leave it behind.  I have no idea what I will do with it because at 25cm, it’s fairly narrow.   But I’m sure it will speak to me eventually.

Can’t wait for my next trip there.



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15yo Miss A has a tiny 25 inch waist and a penchant for clothes which look great with wide belts.  We’re talking vintage and op shops. Unfortunately, wide belts in her size are particularly hard to come by here in Australia.    She was wearing one of my wide elastic belts with a new skirt, but had hair pins in it to try and bring it in small enough to fit.

I suggested we make a cummerbund which she could wear to fit exactly her size.   She hadn’t heard of a cummerbund before – and after a quick look at cummerbunds, it would appear that they haven’t been in fashion since the 1980’s.   Now I know why she was ignorant of their existence.   And I’m again reminded of my age.

Anyway, today is Valentines Day and she was heading out for a lunch with The Boy.   Had an hour or two up my sleeve and decided to run up a quick one for her to wear on her date.   In my stash I found some leftover black drill, some very heavy interfacing and some herringbone weave black cotton tape for the bow.   Perfect.

I cut a two strips of fabric measuring 2.75 inches wide and about 32 inches long.    I marked the half way mark on the fabric.  From there, another mark at 12.5 inches (half her waist measurement) and another to mark the end of the belt.   I then marked how I wanted the belt to taper in.    Fabrics and interfacing then cut to size.

cummerbung marking

When pinning together, I attached the tape at one end and then ran it up inside of the cummerbund and out the other end.   This gives me one finished end – plus I can use the end of the tape to pull the cummerbund right side out.   It’s hard to see because it’s black on black, but hopefully you can see what I mean.    I used a zipper foot when doing my side seams so that I could skim along the sides of the tape and not catch it in my seams at the narrow points.

cummerbund pinning

After I turned it right way out, I just needed to put tape in the open end and fix it closed.  A good press was the only thing left to do.

cummerbund finished

Finished cummerbund

cummerbund backcummerbund front

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