Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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My Mid-Century Modern living room – Custom-printed retro fabric & DIY envelope cushion covers

Ever since I stumbled upon my first orange LP case at a vintage record market I knew that this was the pattern I wanted to base my entire living room on. I loved the vibrant colours and the crowded floral print epitomised everything I loved about 60s and 70s design. I’d already been searching for the perfect mid-century pattern for my curtains, wallpaper and cushions and had created a moodboard to keep me inspired. After a lot of deliberation I chose orange as the main colour of my MCM room scheme and set about creating the room of my dreams.custom printed retro fabric design cushions mid-century modern mcm 60s 70s pattern print record boxes lp cases catsWhen I skipped home with this £8 record case, I knew that a it would be the ideal storage solution for the room (not just for lps – I store candles in one of them!) and I continued to search for more of the same box. I found a blue case in the same pattern around a year later in a charity shop and by then I was really hooked. I hunted out a green version online, although when it arrived I realised that it was half the depth of the other two – oops! Still, the pattern was the same and I loved the garish green colours. Another slimline orange case soon followed and I’m hoping to add to my retro record box collection in the future.custom printed retro fabric design mid-century modern mcm 60s 70s pattern print record boxes lp cases Continue reading “My Mid-Century Modern living room – Custom-printed retro fabric & DIY envelope cushion covers” »


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My little vintage caravan ~ Pillows & cushions

Before the summer holidays were out, I fully intended to sleep in my caravan and camp out for a couple of nights while the weather is good. In fact, it’s sometimes a little too hot to sleep indoors so I thought that a night in the caravan would be ideal to cool off. I started looking for bedding and I was lucky enough to snap up this vintage Paddington Bear pillowcase at a table-top sale in a village hall.

vintage Paddington Bear pillow slip cushion cover vintage Paddington Bear pillow slip cushion cover-2

I really like the retro design and the fact that Paddington is beside the seaside – it makes me feel like my caravan could be anywhere. Plus the design reflects the lighthouse in the appliqué cushion that I’d previously made. Yesterday was the ideal night to camp out and we decided to stay in the caravan, watch the stars in the clear night-sky and fall asleep under the glow of the my pretty purple solar-powered fairy lights.

Retro Paddington Bear pillow slip cushion cover

It was very comfortable to sleep on the cushion pads that I’d re-covered and now all I need is a vintage-inspired duvet cover for the cooler months and my caravan will be a great place to sleep out all year round!

Also today is the last day to vote for Cassiefairy.com for the Best Lifestyle Blog award in the Cosmopolitan blog awards EEK! So please hop onto the Cosmo website and cast your vote TODAY – thank you SO much!


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My DIY pin-up girl cushion sewing project

Since the end of The Great British Sewing Bee I’ve stepped away from my sewing machine and for some reason have struggled to think up ideas for creative projects. I think I was just SO inspired by the Sewing Bee that when I no longer had that regular reminder to get sewing nor that weekly prompt for a sewing challenge that I completely forgot to get on with it. So my sewing machine has been neglected and has gathered a thin layer of dust since last month and I keep glancing at it with a guilty look in my eye. I didn’t mean to dump it, it just kind of happened – we drifted apart and I’m just as sad about it as the machine is…

Anyway, the good news is that I’ve finally broken my sewing drought and have made a cushion. It might not be the most challenging of projects but at least I’m sewing again and that can only be a good thing. It only took me about an hour because I was trying to do it in super-fast time before hubby came home from work one evening. I needed to get the cushion completed in secret because it was going to be a gift for hubby’s birthday. Not kind of gift you’d expect a very manly concrete-handling man like my husband would want for his birthday, but he’d spotted a similar cushion online and really took a shine to it for his ‘man cave’ office chair. Ok, maybe it was the fabric that he took a shine to – it IS a pattern that includes pin-up girls, nude, in foliage. Maybe that was it.

diy alexander henry mirage pin up girl fabric

So I searched out the exact fabric online – it was Alexander Henry MIRAGE Fabric in navy and I ordered two fat quarters of it – enough to make a pair of cushions. I chose a navy velvet for the back of the cushion and for the piping around the edge. When the fabric arrived I realised that most of the pattern was across the centre of the fat quarter so I decided to make a rectangular cushion rather than square, to get more of the pin-up girls on the cushion! I bought a couple of last season’s cushion designs reduced to £1 in Dunelm that were this rectangular shape and removed the covers so that I just had cushion pads left – this is probably the cheapest way to get cushion fillings; just buy any cushions that are reduced or secondhand from a charity shop or carboot sale then discard (or reuse elsewhere) the covers!

sewing

I first inserted a zip along the bottom of both fabric pieces and zipped it together before making a thin line of piping by wrapping a strip of the velvet around the cord. I layered the piping in-between the pin-up fabric front and the velvet back with the right sides facing and straight stitched all the way round the cushion. At this point, I realised that I’d completely zipped up the zip so I couldn’t turn the cushion the right side out! Luckily I could feel whether the zipper head was and eased it back a little while it was still inside the cushion and managed to make enough of a gap to reach in and unzip it completely – phew!

diy pin up girl cushion sewing tutorial

I popped the new pin-up girl cushion cover onto the cushion pad and done! One gift (that hubby loved) all sewn up!


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Dream a little dream… my bedroom sewing projects

At the weekend I told you all that I’d finished sewing the cushions for my bedroom that I’d been putting off for ages. I finally powered through my sewing-block and used the leftover fabric from the bottom of my bedroom blinds to rustle up a pair of cushions for the bed. It is kind of lucky that the blinds were too long for my tiny windows: although it meant I had more work to do before I could hang them – spending time trimming them to size and stitching up the hems – it also meant that I had some leftover matching fabric to use for my cushions. I used two squares of the striped fabric for the cushion fronts and to make the simple envelope cushion-backs I used a different fabric – a beige checked fabric which had previously been a single duvet set that I wasn’t ever going to use again.

DIY sew your own quilted bed runner throw

It’s been great cutting up this duvet set rather than going out to buy fabric as it has given me enough quantity to make these cushions, some cushions for my living room, the lining of a Christmas stocking for my nephew, and now it has become the back and binding tape for a bed throw. When I had a narrow strip of my striped fabric leftover, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I knew I didn’t want to make more cushions and the base of the bed was a little bare with it’s plain white sheets. Even so, I knew there wouldn’t be enough fabric to make a proper quilt and I didn’t really want to introduce any other fabrics to expand the size of the quilt. So I decided that a bed ‘runner’ would be adequate to add a little interest at the foot of the bed – and something for the cats to sleep on, it turns out! I used three layers – the top layer of striped fabric, a thin quilting wadding from Abakhan, and the checked single duvet fabric. I pinned and stitched along the longest side of the layers to hold them in place, then I machined down the stripes to make a quilted effect without actually having to cut and stitch the quilt. It was a little fiddly to get it through the machine – especially at the centre of the runner, so I rolled it up from the edge (which you can see in the photo above) so that I didn’t have to struggle with excess fabric while sewing. After the whole runner was ‘quilted’ I used a narrow piece of the duvet fabric to make a binding and stitched this around all the edges to finish it off.

Stripe cushion and bed throw DIY sewing project on Cassiefairy blog

And here are the finished cushions and throw in the bedroom. As you can see, my cat Cookie took to it immediately and managed to curl up and go to sleep on the runner before I’d even managed to take a photo of it, and I didn’t have the heart to move her as she snored happily. Also Mrs. Rabbit likes the cushions and called for Mr. Rabbit to join her as she snuggled in but he was busy reading a book at the time so only Mrs. Rabbit made it into the photo of the cushions. Did you ever watch or read the Velveteen Rabbit as a child? I loved that story and I think that’s probably why I asked for Mr. Rabbit as a birthday present only 3 years ago and still have a pair of plush rabbits living in my bedroom!

Using books in the bedroom - DIY sewing and decorating project on Cassiefairy blog

I feel like my bedroom makeover looks more ‘complete’ now that I have cushions on the bed – I don’t know why, but it seems to finish off the bed as a focal point in the room. If you want to see how I wallpapered a feature wall using  old books please check out my blog post here. I know I’ve got plenty more that I need to sort out in the bedroom, such as storage and curtains, but I feel more like it’s getting there and at least I’ve stopped procrastinating and have broken through the sewing ‘block’. What will I make today I wonder??

More articles in my bedroom makeover series:


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My little vintage caravan project ~ take a seat

I’ve finally started what I was most looking forward to doing with my little vintage caravan project – creating a lovely place to sit. Yes, it’s soft furnishings time! I’ve spent a couple of hours at the sewing machine and I’ve made my own covers for the bench seat pads using an old duvet cover that my in-laws had given to me ages ago and I’d not got round to using the fabric. It is a cotton fabric and it is printed with a patchwork design which is much easier than trying to patchwork a seat cover myself, and it gave me lines to follow while I was sewing it!

Cassiefairys little vintage caravan makeover project diy sewing cushion pads for bench seat with patchwork duvet

Although the old bench seat cushions looked awful and the fabric was shredded (had something been living in there??), the foam underneath was in good condition and, of course, it fitted the bench seats perfectly so I didn’t need any point in replacing it completely. I stripped off the old tatty covers and set to work making a replacement cover for the foam pads. I simply placed a rectangle of the fabric over the foam and pinned the corners in place. I then took the fabric to my sewing machine and stitched the corners before adding a back piece to the fabric and stitching around three sides. I then stretched it over the foam and hand stitched the open side to close it. You can probably guess that theses aren’t removable covers – but I won’t be taking the caravan away on holidays so I doubt I’ll make enough of a mess on them to need to wash them. Nothing that a damp sponge wouldn’t sort out anyway! And if, during the lifetime of the caravan, I do have a big spillage, I will simply unpick the hand-stitching, wash it and stitch it back up. So here are the finished seat covers:

cassiefairys vintage caravan camper project patchwork quilt cushion pads for bench seat

Check out my other vintage caravan articles below to follow my progress of my little makeover project and tweet me @Cassiefairy with photos of your own caravans, campers or workshops – I need all the inspiration I can get and I’d love to know what you think! :)

More caravan articles:


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My beach hut cushion + the Inspiration Challenge

I’m delighted to say that I’ve had a few messages asking for a quick tutorial on how I made my beach hut cushion for the beach hut Inspiration Challenge in June. So I’m pleased to share the step-by-step photos of my cushion with you all today and I also want to remind you that there is still plenty of time to get involved and make something  for July’s Inspiration Challenge too!

First, I chose a selection of fabrics from my stash of fat quarters (mainly from wholeport and some thrifted from old clothing) to cut out the beach hut shapes and I snipped around a lighthouse design on the piece of Porto fabric I already had from Abakhan. I positioned these on the sky-blue “background” piece of fabric and pinned them down before machine-sewing around the edges.

inspiration challenge for June beach hut cushion by cassiefairy using abakhan porto

I then stuck on some sticky fabric-tape (like washi-tape but made of fabric, I found mine on Ebay) for the beach hut roofs and went over this with a line of stitching too. When it came to attaching the sun and the seagull, I added a little adhesive webbing to the back of the pieces and ironed them in place before sewing over the top.

For the sea I layered up pieces of folded fabric with sparkly ribbon, running lines of stitching back and forth using the sewing machine. This was my favourite part of the cushion and I’d like to do this effect all over a cushion front next time, perhaps with a rainbow of colours or use co-ordinating fabrics to create a striped/patchwork effect.

IMG_6603

I then stitched the front ‘picture’ piece of fabric to two pieces of pink fleece which overlapped to form the back of the cushion cover – leaving a flap to put my cushion pad inside. When I had finished, I realised how well the cushion matched my vintage Paddington Bear pillow case – it even has a red lighthouse too!

Please join in with this month’s Inspiration Challenge. The theme is Maneki Neko/Lucky Animals and you can make anything you like with this inspiration as a starting point. Even if you’ve never made anything before, maybe this month it is the perfect time to start crafting, sewing, painting or writing and I’d love to see what you come up with! Send me your projects to cassie@cassiefairy.co.uk and I’ll share your photos and links at the start of next month – and don’t forget that there is a special prize draw to win a ceramic lucky cat and a purse from JoaniesGifts.co.uk – all the projects will be entered into a prize draw and the winner will be picked at random on the 1st August!

inspiration challenges for July maneki neko

Other Inspiration Challenge articles


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Inspirations for a retro living room: Soft Furnishings

I’ve already blogged about finding vintage fabrics and making some unique retro cushions for my 60s-inspired living room design, but here’s a post on the rest of the soft furnishings in my living room, including throws and curtains. I am looking for clashing patterns and, of course, lovely orange shades to add to the retro feel of the room.

As I was choosing my fabrics, I was looking for something quirky but not necessarily directly from the era in this case, as I knew that it would be difficult to find enough quantity of a vintage fabric to make curtains. So I chose a modern fabric with a cartoon bumble-bee design – still including a little injection of the orange colour that I’ve used throughout the room design. I actually think that these curtains are supposed to be in a children’s bedroom but I love them and I’m happy to have the bees buzzing around my living room windows!

I also chose a throw that clashes nicely with my cushions, which also has an orange stripe running through the tartan pattern. This throw is a recycled wool rug from Tweed Mill Textiles and can be bought for around £15 online and from farm shops including the Adnams brewery shop in Southwold and Jimmy’s Farm near Ipswich. (You can see my bumble bee curtains just behind the sofa too!)


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One month til Christmas – Christmas markets & cushions!

Hurrah! It’s the 25th November and only one month til Christmas! So I’m celebrating with a trip to the famous Bury St Edmunds Christmas Market this weekend and here’s what I’m expecting to see this year:

Plus, I’ve gone all festive whilst wearing my over-the-top fairy lights jumper and have got myself this amazing gingerbread cushion from Dunelm Mill – at only £3.99 it is definitely my bargain of the week! This new addition to my retro-inspired living room is a way of gently introducing some festive cheer into my home before the 1st December, when my Christmas decorations box finally gets permission to explode and fill the house with sparkly festive joy!


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Craft Project – Creating new cushions & artwork for my retro living room

I was lucky enough to find this set of vintage RSPB placemats and coasters in almost brand-new condition at the Shakespeare Hospice Furniture Shop in Stratford Upon Avon and although I loved the autumnal bird design straight away, I wasn’t sure what I would do with them. I don’t often need placemats and I already have some 70s wicker coasters, so I took a second look and viewed them as pieces of fabric rather than finished items. And I’m glad a did, because I realised that the shape was ideal for creating cute rectangular cushions  to sit on my retro armchair and sofa, and the embroidered bird design has the perfect colours for my retro living room – and the robin motif will be great for autumn/winter!

  1. I chose some beige checked cotton fabric for the back of the cushions and I carefully measured out two pieces which would cover the size of the placemat with an extra 2 inches: allowing enough fabric to turn the hem back on itself in the centre and to overlap on the back where the buttons would be placed.
  2. I stitched the hem along the edges that would become the middle of the cushion and then inserted button holes using my sewing machine at three points along the hem on one of the pieces of backing fabric.
  3. I stitched buttons on to the opposite side and buttoned the pieces together.
  4. I then placed the front placemat and back pieces on top of each other with their right-sides facing together. I pinned the front and back together and stitched along all four edges.
  5. I unbuttoned the hem and turned the cushion-cover right-side out and slipped it onto a rectangular cushion pad and re-buttoned the back. Job done!

I also found a use for the coasters – I framed up two of them to create cute embroidered artworks – and I still have a pair of placemats and coasters left for when I want to lay the table to match my soft furnishings!

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