This is the finished set of Laura Ashley pockets. I made the final one, which is the one in the middle, because I bought a box frame for them and it was just too big for two. I would like there to be a loftier motif for creativity, but that’s more or less it. The third one fills the gap. I couldn’t find the heavy silk lining fabric I used for the other two, and so I used a glorious remnant of thick yellow silk, which yet again, came courtesy of my mother’s friend’s son who makes very expensive window treatments. I love anything on a yellow background, and I love yellow as an accent in more or less anything. So here it makes a very dashing lining, which I think has a real period feel to it. I am not sure, but it feels like a Regency sort of colour; very Brighton Pavillion. So I liked it more than the original shade, I think.
The piece is made out of what I discover are called fents – the pieces leftover when a garment is cut out of a fabric. So this is made with the bits leftover from the other two. The joins are visible on the back:
As most of the fabric in the early Laura Ashley bit bags were fents this seems highly appropriate. This photo also shows my revised method of construction. I lined the purse by making a facing which was actually big enough to line the whole thing, then turned it through, used the extra on the bottom to sew up the gap and form the bottom seam and sewed up the back with an overstitch. So there is a very visible seam up the back, but it was much simpler to do than the other two. I notice in Jan Messent’s sumptuous book that she has back seams on some of the pieces too.
The other thing about making this one was the tassels. The easiest way to make tassels that I have found is to use fringing and wrap it round tightly. This is a piece of quite expensive old bead fringe which I bought at a Quilters’ Guild area day. The woman on the stall complimented me on my taste as I bought all she had left. The problem is that it is so gorgeous I didn’t want to cut into it – which is a common feeling among needlewomen – it’s too beautiful to use. Anyway, I have decided to use things as part of my clearing out drive and so used this. Fine, except that the tape and therefore the fringe seems to be gummed together in some way. Fantastic: it stops the fringe unravelling when you cut it. Not so fantastic in that it was a nightmare to push the needle through and I had to throw both needles away afterwards, which always upsets me for some reason. I put a bit of silver acrylic paint on the tape to make it look like the head of the tassel. The effect is quite nice, but it was horrible to sew.
So, now they are ready to go into the frame. Which is fine – lovely to finish things and lovely to get them up on the wall, but it leaves me with a bit of a problem. I want to develop a Laura Ashley talk, but all the things I make seem destined for frames – this is not good. In my experience, groups want hands-on things. Despite the wonderful photography that we can all do now, and the great results with projectors and laptops, people want stuff. So, I am left either carting huge box frames around, showing them slides with the odd example, or making another set of pieces so that people can handle them. Fortunately these are small and quick to make, but one reason I have never wanted to work to commission is that I want to make things when the Muse calls rather than to order. I might have to buckle down and make a couple, though. Here’s some of the hand embroidery, again with Winifred Cottage threads and with some variegated machine quilting thread: