Thursday, 28 March 2013

Pretty Posies

A few weeks ago, with spring failing to make an appearance and the arctic weather still lurking (it's snowing here as I type!!), I decided to bring some colour to the doom and gloom and indulged in a spot of felt flower making. 

Corsages were very popular during the '40s.  With the availability of new clothing very much restricted, people had to make the very best of what they had.  The women of the era turned to accessories and embellishments to give a tired frock a new lease of life. 

Scouring the pages of craft magazines of the time, you will find various patterns for posies and trimmings.  As well as the expected knitted, felted and crocheted examples, you can find buttonholes made from all manner of things.  From broken zips to bottle corks, pine cones to dried seaweed (yes, really, it was dried before being painted with enamel paint), the women of the time were truly resourceful - they simply had to be - although how many of them actually pinned seaweed to their lapel, I don't know.  Eau de poisson and visions of the local cats following you home spring to mind! :o)

I have dabbled (and failed) with the knitted variety, given a good go (with limited success) to the crocheted lovelies but my fail safe and favourite crafty supply to work with is felt.  The range of colours, the way it can be snipped and shaped and stitched - I just love it.  I try to work in 1940's colours, where possible, no acidic or fluorescent shades here.

So, when the opportunity presented itself for a few hours "me" time, a very precious commodity for anyone home educating little lovelies, I jumped at the chance. 

With some forties favourites on the airwaves and cake to keep my company, I set to work.  Felt flower making is not a quick process, as I'm sure many of you fellow crafters know.  From copying the pattern, drawing it onto the felt, snipping, stitching, stitching and yet more stitching, a single pretty posy can take upwards of 30 minutes. 

After a few happy hours, I had 6 bright, pretty posies.


You've probably seen the anemone many times before.  This one is the exception to the rule, as far as working from original patterns go, because it's one I designed myself a couple of years ago.  I love anemones and wanted to create something small enough to wear on my beret.  With over 25 pieces to hand cut and stitch together, it is probably the most time consuming of the lot but it is also the one which has proved to be most popular at '40s events where I sell them for £5.00 each.


My least favourite of the bunch is the tulip.  I love tulips and their happy spring shades but I didn't enjoy making the corsage one bit.  The pattern comes from a Needlework Illustrated magazine and the instructions said you had to glue the felt together. 


I'm not a fan of gluing fabrics, especially not thick felt.  I don't think glue gives longevity and so instead I opted to stitch rather than stick.  Stitching it, although I was super careful, leaves a very definite mark on the petal and doesn't leave a very tulipy shape.  It's a plus size posie as the tulips are life sized but that's fine on my more than ample bosom!

The very autumnal mustard and brown one is from another Needlework Illustrated magazine (I'm a little obsessed with these magazines).  I've used the pattern before to make bright red versions with black middles, a bit like a gerbera, and they are relatively easy to make. 


I make all the stems on my trusty sewing machine before adding some florists wire to make the stems bendable and therefore the flower heads slightly pose able.  Next, it's simply a case of fringing a strip for the centre and then stitching on the double flower heads.  Not very time consuming and oh so pretty.

Today marks the last day of the school term and the beginning of a much anticipated two weeks with Mr Y, I can't wait.

With Easter celebrations almost upon us, I have two girls waiting to get messy and make the obligatory chocolate nests and I also want to try out a child friendly recipe from my new cookery book.  Something chocolatey springs to mind, after all, it is almost Easter.


To those of you celebrating, I hope you have a lovely Easter!  Let's hope it's sunny rather than snowy! x

14 comments:

  1. Oh those corsages are lovely. I like the anemone's in particular :-)

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  2. They are so pretty, I must get making but at the moment I just don't feel like doing anything. It must be the weather it is so cold, but you have just inspired me to get my felt out and have a go!
    Julie xxxxxxxx

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    1. Hi Julie,
      I know what you mean. The dull skies can bring down the mood somewhat. It made me feel a lot brighter to see what I had created, I recommend it if you get the chance :-) xxx

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  3. Hi Lucy,
    Well you probably knew this was a post I'd love! I don't know how you make them in half an hour, they take me ages! I too have made the tulip posy and had to laugh out loud at how big it is, I've never had the guts to wear it. I did use glue and although like you, I feel strange about doing so, in this case it did help to give rigidity to the tulip shape (bearing in mind our modern felt is so thin compared with the proper vintage stuff). There are still a few designs I want to make, maybe after Easter!
    I love the chocolate tray bake from that book al always make it for school fund raisers. I hope you and your family have a lovely Easter. Looking forward to the '40s season starting proper...

    Hen xxx

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    1. Dear Hen,
      Knowing your love of posies, I did think that you might like this felty post :o)
      Glad I'm not the only one who thought the tulip was massive! My girls think it's highly amusing - you have to love the brutal honesty of a child. I may look into using glue next time because I really don't like the finish on the stitched one. Oh how I would love to get my hands on chunky felt.
      We went for the Easter egg brownies but used up some of the girls Christmas chocolate - it was a hit. The girls have spotted the Smarties tray bake. If something has Smarties on it has to be good in their book. I might just have to give that a go.
      I cannot wait for the season to begin, September seems so long ago. Sadly, our first proper event isn't until June so I have a while to wait yet. Did consider Crich this weekend but with the poor weather, I'm glad we decided against it.
      Hope you and your lovely family have a wonderful Easter xx

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  4. I love these corsages, they are so lovely. I enjoy stitching corsages & brooches too, and also have a collection of those Needlework Illustrated magazines for inspiration! Have a lovely Easter. Karen x

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    1. Thank you :o) Hope you have a lovely Easter too x

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  5. Your corsages are beautiful, I'm lucky enough to have one! I tried the crochet pattern you kindly sent me but it didn't cone out right :( I wasn't happy with it so gave up. I keep meaning to do a post about it xx

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    1. Thank you :o) I'm so sorry the pattern I sent didn't turn out right, how disappointing :o(

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  6. Happy Easter Lucy! Those corsages are really lovely. I find hot glue a better match for any glued felt stuff, but that is just so stinky and messy LOL
    And yes, I hear you on the home schooling and no time. Plus side is, we do get to share our enthusiasm for the things we do though ;)

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    1. Hello Rachel,
      I hope you and your family had a good Easter. I will have to give the glue gun a go, hadn't even thought about it until now.
      Oh, the lack of "me" time is definitely something I can live with when I consider all the plus sides, of which there are many, of having my little ladies at home. You are so right :o) xx

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  7. These are STUNNING! Do you sell them on line?

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    1. Thank you :o) They are indeed for sale online, via my Facebook page "1940's Style For You". The anemones are £5.00 + P&P, the large ones are £7.50 +P&P

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