Tag Archives: embroidery

inspired by Dora Damage

18 Aug

I have just finished reading one of my all-time favourite books: The Journal of Dora Damage by Belinda Starling.


A-mazing. I hated it for ending – I wanted to live with Dora Damage for the rest of my life!

Mrs Damage is the wife of a Victorian bookbinder who becomes too ill to work. When Dora takes over the business she enters a murky and seedy world, binding books that she’d rather not have to look at.

One of the novel’s most fascinating themes is the relationship between the world of commercial and public work, and the work of the home – the skills of a domestic life. When the Damages are too poor to afford leather to bind their books, they use the silks from Dora’s dresses instead, which are carefully embroidered by Dora. Domestic crafts, traditionally the domain of the woman, are used to save the family business.

The book has me thinking a lot more about the history of the crafts I engage in, and the potential they have carried, past and present, as much more than ways to pass the time. They might be a method of self-expression when writing is inaccessible… a way to store and encode the secrets of the heart when privacy is scarce… a way to make a living…  For every person that engages with these crafts or has engaged with them in the past, there is a different story.

I really would love to know more about the history of different crafts. If you have any books, websites, exhibitions in mind – please do let me know! I’m hoping to write quite a bit about this in the coming weeks. In fact, I may well turn September into my Craft History month.


sew excited!

25 Jun

Looking forward to this event… Thanks to sew and the city for mentioning Poppy Treffry to me, I visited her website, and now I think I’ll most certainly be getting myself a few bits and pieces from this sample sale.

the street where you live

24 Jun

There’s been a flurry of activity here – which is something I don’t often get to say! Another appliqued cushion cover.

It’s inspired by a ‘moving in’ card I received from my bro and his wife at the beginning of the year. It was a street of colourful and patterened houses that made me desperately want to own a house that I could wallpaper on the outside (there must be such a thing as external wallpaper… surely?). For the time being, I’ll have to make do with imagining myself into one of these fabric houses. It would be the middle one for me I think.

Anyhoo, I’m really enjoying making these cushions, and I’m looking everywhere for easy-to-applique (but still meaningful) designs that I can use. I’d like to end up with ten in total – the teapot, umbrella and houses mean I’m currently at three – so please let me know if you have any ideas for other designs! I would be most grateful fellow crafters.

inspired by a British summer…

23 Jun

It shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s a rainy day. This is a British summer after all, and they are notoriously wet and windy. To be honest, it’s probably a good thing given how dry Spring was and how much water it takes to keep dear old Britain lush and green. So, rather than be disappointed, I’ve decided to be inspired by the weather (how very English) and I’ve made this cushion cover…