“Once I read a story about a butterfly in the subway, and today, I saw one. It got on at 42nd, and off at 59th, where, I assume it was going to Bloomingdales to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake – as almost all hats are.”
Nikolaus Laszlo, Nora Ephron, and Delia Ephron, You’ve Got Mail
It’s that time of year when Christmas has passed and it feels like we are running the everlasting lap towards Spring – the one that takes the most energy and needs bountiful inspiration.
So until the spring bulbs start appearing, I’m keeping my head down and using this hibernation time to create as much as I can. This was a small project, more of a nibble, rather than my more meaty “Recreating Vintage” monthly pursuit – more of that later in the month.
I found these beautiful embroidered Japanese scraps at a vintage fair in early autumn. Apparently they were part of a huge traditional 19th century embroidered blanket which, I’m told, as a whole, costs a fortune. For some reason this one has been cut up into tiny embroidered pieces (which seems a bit of a travesty) – it must have been stunning as a blanket.
Not too much of a travesty for me though – as I sorted through bundles of colourful butterflies, birds and flowers. I wasn’t entirely sure as to the project I was going to use these pieces for, but wanted to ensure that I found two butterflies that matched, and as much detail surrounding the bird as possible (more for my money, you might say).
Since the fabric is a dense navy wool, I decided to find a navy cardigan and put the motifs either side of the neck and then around the neckline, at the back. However, I didn’t want to spend a fortune and I wanted a good quality wool. Cashmere cardigans are just so expensive but you can’t beat them for wear and tear, they really do last and don’t lose their pile. I finally found a silk, cashmere mix at Uniqlo for £39.90, which is gorgeously soft. Here is the result!
So the sermon for today is don’t walk away from bits of material that catch your eye. Be a magpie since, no matter how scrappy they look, you never know what you can turn them into……a fashion metamorphosis indeed!
And on that note here is some more butterfly inspiration, to wind away the hours until spring….
Clockwise from right: Xenia Taler’s Handpainted Butterfly Tiles, Cotton by Sanderson, Collection of Damien Hirst Butterfly Projects at the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles, Anthropologie Butterfly Mirror, Ercol Butterfly Chair, Damien Hirst Butterfly Deckchair, Loewe Spring Summer 2011, Butterfly Paperweights Cox & Cox, ReFound Butterfly Plates, Sibella Court’s Butterfly Collection,
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
Wow, that looks fantastic. How did you attach the butterflies so neatly without it fraying. It looks like a vintage find now! Gorgeous!
I stitched it very close together but fortunately the fabric is very dense so it doesn’t look like it will fray – famous last words – time will tell!
Absolutely stunning..the cardigan AND you! x
Thank you – just a little bit biased me thinks!
Thanks for posting my butterflies! I also have a secret fashion obsession which I can only indulge at Value Village!
Absolutely my pleasure Xenia – I love your butterflies – in fact love your work in general! Yes, I know what you mean, this year I have made a resolution that if I want it, I need to make it! How long that will last remains to be seen!