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So being a secondary school teacher I have the lovely long summer hols.. Don’t worry I’m very very grateful and won’t rub the holiday time in too much 😉 The summer holidays that have just passed saw me having a real attempt at some proper sewing projects. Before this time I had attempted the standard lavender bags and even managed a patch work cushion for my mum’s 50th birthday and a larger cushion for my sister’s birthday. However this summer I was determined to really use the lovely new sewing machine that mum and dad bought me last Christmas. Honestly I almost cried when I opened it 🙂 Thanks to lots of other lovely bits and pieces friends and family bought me I was all ready to go when July 22nd came 🙂

My new passion for sewing has more recently been inspired by the make do and mend ethos, recycle and customise mantra that seems to have catapulted onto the fashion radar in the past few years. I have grown up around sewing in particular with my mum, Linda,  who used to be a dress-maker and my grandma , Margret, who loved cross stitch. Sewing also fits very well with my love of all things vintage, I’m always buying dresses or shirts which need a little tweaking here and there.

So enough babbling on to the projects….

Many of my summer projects have been inspired by ideas from Cath Kidston’s Sew! and Kirstie Allsop’s Homemade Home however a few have just been creations that have resulted in me playing around. So my first are the cushions. These were pretty simple to make, I followed Kirstie’s instructions cutting the material two and a half lengths of the cushion pad and machine sewing the edges, hemming the two ends and then turning them the right way round. I added some chunky green buttons on the back of the floral print cushion as I accidentally made it a little large!! I just filled the out with some soft toy stuffing this has done the trick. With a lovely large plain sofa my aim is to make lots of floral cushions with as many clashing patterns as possible and then swap them over every few months to get a new look for the room each time I change them. The pink and cream cushion material was an old curtain, two large curtains for £6 at a St Anns Hospice shop near where I live. The brighter floral material was from a vintage shop in the Northern Quarter in Manchester – Ryan’s Vintage. ( Great place – more on that another time.) Have a peek….. Theo has since spilt red wine on the pink and cream cushion!! Luckily you can’t really see it.


Apologies for the pictures not being of fantastic quality, just got my digital camera working but need to sort out the software onto the computer so for the first few pics it’s from my mobile I’m afraid.

The second project was for the lovely Sarah Kisseh’s birthday. Again I made a cushion, miniature this time. I kind of used my own pattern, machine sewing a square pouch with some extra material on the top of the front side of the cushion. I then inserted the cushion pad and folded over the extra material folding the corners in, securing with another large vintage button. You’ll see I have a little bit of an obsession with buttons. I then made her a matching pin board. For this I covered a standard pin board and cross crossed ribbon securing with regular pins. I think they look really lovely. I’ve made another for myself with chintz florals. The material for Sarah’s pressie is from Oxfam, a double bed cover and pillow case. So reasonably priced for the size and quality, it was barely used.

 My third project was a little bit of fun and an idea that I had gotten from Sew! by Cath Kidston. I wanted a vintage apron. I had seen many in shops however wanted to have a go at making one myself. I do try to follow patterns however I have a tendency to go off on my own so this one was defiantly one where I went off my instincts. I’ve only got a few pictures but it’s still going after a month or so and hasn’t fallen apart so it must be ok. I found the material for my apron in Ryan’s Vintage in the Northern Quarter. I love love love the pattern and the soft colours of this material.  So briefly to make it, I cut a rectangle, hemmed and then cut two strips to act as ties. Again these were hemmed and then sewn onto the top edge of the apron. As you will see, it’s probably not quite done as Cath Kidston would wish but the outcome is what I wanted and I think it does just the trick.



My next project was for the lovely Suzie Slack who popped into our world a little earlier than expected. I had intended to make a whole bird mobile, demonstrated my Sew!  Cath Kidston however this was not to be as little Suzie would need a pressie asap. So I decided to make one bird instead, a little larger. I had to improvise a little however the end product was very sweet. A little less perfect than the book but I was happy with it 🙂 The materials I used were the rose material from Sarah’s pressie and the chintz material left over from the apron. Suzie and bird are both well 🙂

My next project was the biggy… the Cath Kidston bag… This I was rather daunted by however I gave it a go and after a few fights with the handle. Trying to pull the material through a rather small hole was not easy!! Any advice on this please let me know. I didn’t hem the eadge either, not sure how that went wrong but it looked cute and I added my vintage buttons to sprinkle a bit of Olive & Em on the bag. See what you think…


Finally there’s my Ottoman, the bargin from a car boot sale down south – £3. A lady said she intended to cover it but never got round to it.. So I jumped on it and covered it as soon as I could using the old curtains from St Anns hospice. I was a happy lady 🙂



So until next time when I will be back very soon with my summer charity shop finds and local Stockport and Manchester vintage events happy pottering, charity shop hunting, sewing and doing all things vintage. Thank you for getting this far.

Lots of love

Olive & Emxxx