Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Pyrex Fantasia


Pyrex has been part of family mealtimes for decades. My Mum still has her white dinner service scattered with black snowflakes that she and Dad brought soon after they were married in the early 1960s; in fact its still used for Christmas dinner and special occasions. Also, one of my earliest memories is of my Gran serving up pasta sauce from a Pyrex casserole dish with flying mallard ducks on it.

I've got a few bits and pieces that I use, but yesterday had the chance to substantially increase the stash after I brought the above in a house clearance shop. I was really lucky as the guy in the shop actually gave me the blue dish and let me have the rest for £20 - I think he was pleased to move them on! Even though the glass covers are missing, I'm still very happy with my buys especially as some pieces of Pyrex go for crazy money.


The oval vegetable server has the familiar snowflake or 'Gaiety' pattern introduced in 1958 and the blue 'Space Saver' casserole has the 'White Hawthorn' design - all produced in the UK by J.A. Jobling. Jobling started making Pyrex in the 1920s under licence from the American-based Corning Glass Works who held the patent after developing the strengthened glass in the early twentieth century. 

The wheatsheaf design on the 'Cinderella' mixing bowl had me flummoxed for a bit as it was a design that I wasn't familiar with. I turned it over and found my answer: it was made by Corning Glass Works instead of Jobling, so must have been an American import.

Left and centre are two J.A. Jobling 'crown' stamps with the American Corning stamp on the right
Being the spod that I am, I love to read about collecting stuff, so if you're into Pyrex - big style! - I can recommend these two books:


The one on the left by Barbara E. Mauzy concentrates on Pyrex made for the American market, whilst British collectable Pyrex is covered in Susan Hibberd's book. After flicking through the Mauzy book, I decided that the Americans had far better designs that us Brits! If you want proof then pay a visit to the latest Pyrex Collective III site and prepare to drool...



Saturday, 14 February 2015

In Vogue #vintagepledge


Firstly, thanks to Marie at A Stitching Odyssey and Kerry at Kestrel Makes for organising this year's Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge. I duly signed up and pledged three makes a few weeks ago and have finished my first already!

I thought that I'd revisit my 1970s Vogue 'Very Easy' shift dress pattern that I used last year as I found it pretty straightforward to make and the purple dress has become one of my firm favorites. 



I had some quirky turquoise fabric with a Parisian theme in my stash that I brought last year at Fabric Land in Bristol for £3.69 a metre, which I thought was very reasonable. Unfortunately, the photographs have given the fabric a blue colour when its actually a turquoise-green.



As you can see there's not much to the pattern; just the front, back, inner neck facing, sleeve and pockets (how I love pockets!). 

The main changes that I made to this second version was to resize the the front and back darts so that the dress fitted a bit more snugly and also the same with the neckline darts at the back as I found that the neck on my original version gaped too much.

I also increased the 'puffiness' at the sleeve heads too, although you can't really see this on the below photo:



I really do love this pattern as the dress is so easy to make and very wearable. I have tried wearing it with a belt like its supposed to be worn on the packet, but prefer to wear it loose. 



And for my next make? I'm not sure yet. I brought another '70s pattern off Etsy which is a maxi dress that calls for a lightweight fabric like Crepe de Chine, but I need to find the right fabric and one that's not too expensive. I'd best start searching...

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Fortuitous Finds


On Friday morning Gilly and I had a long-overdue catch-up over coffee (her) and tea (me) in a super new café that's opened in town. One of its walls is covered with prints by Vladimir Tretchikoff and his like, which look stunning all hung together; it didn't occur to me to take a photo of it at the time - doh! 

Afterwards we had a mooch around a vintage clothing shop, oohing and ahhing over the jewellery and in particular the Astrakhan coats, which were way out of our price range. We then popped into a charity shop a few doors up and as I was looking through the coat rail I saw a hint of Astrakhan. This turned out to be a 1960s three-quarter length coat made from black and green speckled wool and trimmed with an Astrakhan collar. I couldn't see a label so it might be home-made, but it fitted Gilly a treat and she happily paid a bargainous tenner for it - a fraction of what a similar coat would have probably cost in the vintage shop. 

As for me, I had my own little find yesterday when I brought this Blue Bird toffee tin to add to my tin collection. A few years ago I did a series of posts about the manufacturers behind the tins I had collected and included one about Blue Bird.



I haven't seen this particular design before and love the golden bird silhouettes and the cherry blossoms set against the ruby-red colour. 

Last year my neighbour gave me another slightly larger Blue Bird tin that had been living in her uncle's derelict shed. Its had lost its lid and the inside was a bit rusty (a few coats of Hammerite sorted this out), but it still has its paper label for 'liquorice rolls' at '8d a quarter'.


I can remember when sweets were still sold as a quarter - I'm showing my age now!


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