Sunday, December 15, 2013

Fabric Finds - Vanity Sets

This week I want to show you a gorgeous find I had at my local recycling centre.
I've seen these vanity sets in their  post production state; embroidered and cut.
I hadn't thought about how they started, and the possibly that they were sold like the embroidery kits of today. I was pretty darn pleased when I came across these in a little plastic bag.
Oh, and my apologies for the wrinkled state of them, I only iron things when I really need to!

They are all printed onto fine linen that has shapes defined by ladder stitch. These shapes are supposed to be cut out and crochet added to the edges. Once the design has been embroidered they are placed upon your dressing table (remember those things?) and you set your hairbrush, comb and mirror down on them. It's interesting to think back to a time when people had hand mirrors because they might not be able to afford a larger wall mirror and they may not have had a bathroom with running water. We have changed our morning ablutions drastically in the last 100 years or so.

My favourite of the set is this Art Deco design, which leads me to think the vanity sets are from the 1930's. Second favourite is the design below with what appears to be bean or pea flowers on a vine. 
It looks quite Australian to me, it reminds me of the Sturt Desert Pea, a native Australian flower.

I'm not sure if I'll ever complete them, I kind of like them how they are. Hmmm, maybe I could embroider them and turn them into a quilt? or a small window curtain? a quirky skirt perhaps? Or maybe I should do a giveaway?
Any ideas?


  1. What a wonderful find! I saw similar things in Hungary when I was there, pre-printed cloths which I saw hanging up in peasant houses as decorations, that have folk motifs and some writing on them. I really like how the edging is already done on these ones. I wonder if those flowers are laburnum, the leaves are the right shape. They would look lovely stitched in bright yellow and fresh green.

  2. I would love to travel through Eastern Europe and see some of the old folk traditions before they dissapear or change too radically.