Well, I’m afraid the post I had planned for this week will have to wait due to problems with my camera. After spending a good two hours photographing the dress I wore to the Dig for Victory Show, I uploaded the pictures to my computer and quickly realised that all of them were blurred, so were swiftly sent straight o the virtual trash can. So, instead I thought I’d tell you about a small project I worked on a few weeks ago which I’m really pleased with.
A couple of months back I bought this little haul from the fabulous Molly’s Den, a huge emporium of all things handmade, retro, vintage and antique, in Winchester. I first found out about Molly’s Den when I went for a spot of vintage shopping in Bournemouth as they have another one there. Molly’s was on my list of places to visit that day but we ran out of time and didn’t get to go. However, there are total of four emporiums across the south of England, with the other two being in New Milton and Bridport, so when I had a free weekend I looked to see which one was easiest to get to and Winchester won.
I was really excited to finally pick up a genuine mid-century Lloyd Loom laundry basket whilst I was there, something I had been after since I moved into the new house. In my old house I had a laundry bin integrated into a cupboard so when I moved I was putting everything into a giant blue Ikea bag before washing. Not exactly attractive!
The Lloyd Loom laundry basket I bought was in very good condition, with no loose sections of weaving, no trims coming loose and no knocks or damage. However, the lavender colour was very faded and just looked like dirty dishwater with a purple hue! It needed an overhaul and one thing I decided it needed was some sort of inner lining because I was worried of delicate things, like stockings, snagging on any splinters. I didn’t really want to spend money on fabric to do this so had a good rummage through all my old stuff and finally found some beautiful bright pink and green floral Laura Ashley fabric I’d had for years and never used. Perfect. Now, all I needed to do was find a paint colour to match.
After a bit of research online I found out that the best thing to use was spray paint because you can get a much more even finish and it’s much quicker. I wanted a real apple green to match the leaves on the fabric and found the perfect shade in B&Q’s Valspar range. If you’ve never heard of Valspar before, or just think they’re B&Q’s own brand range, then you might be interested to know that it’s a company with a 200 year history in paints, stains and coatings and is often found on many vintage and antique items from tractors to grand pianos.
Once I’d given the basket a good scrub and left it to dry overnight to make sure it wasn’t at all damp I set about respraying it. As soon as I started I realised just how badly it needed it. After just one coat it began to look a lot more fresh and clean. It was pretty easy to do, literally spraying the whole of the outside in one go and making sure I really got it into every groove. I then, again, left it overnight to dry out fully before doing the inside of the lid, making sure the Lloyd Loom label was covered and not being painted over.
Whilst waiting for it to dry I got on with making the inner lining. As I said, I found what I was going to use in my huge haul of fabric, fabric I have had since I was at fashion college many years ago. The one I chose I’ve had since I worked as a visual merchandiser for Laura Ashley way back in the early 2000s. I used to get 65% discount, even on remnant fabric, so you could often find me scrabbling through their remnant boxes to find something I may use one day!
It was easy enough to make, just two pieces of material, one for the base and other long piece for the sides. I placed the dry laundry basket on top of the fabric to mark out the shape of the base and then measured the circumference of it to work out the length of the long piece. I sewed the long piece together along the short edge so it became a cylinder, then attached it to the base and overlocked all of the seams for a nice finish and to prevent it from fraying. Lastly I overlocked the top edge and turned it over to sew a neat hem.
And this is how it came out. Isn’t the fabric gorgeous? I have the same design in red and green for the curtains in my spare room and I never grow tired of it. It’s so bright and cheery and always makes me smile.
In the end I did about 4 layers of spray paint inside and out to get a really good bright green colour that was even all over and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. The colour is really quite striking and goes brilliantly with the curtains I’ve chosen for my bedroom, which are a slightly more muted version. I really must get on and shorten them, but you know what it’s like, clothes are much more fun to make than curtains!
Once I’d pressed the seams one last time on the lining I set about attaching it to the basket. I tucked it up under the frame of the rim and used a staple gun to secure it with a little bit of hindrance as the wood was quite tough, but eventually they went in if I held it in the right position. And voila!
I’m really chuffed with it. It’s the perfect size for me and neatly sits in the corner of my room looking pretty. I’m tempted to buy some foam to create a seat pad as it’s sturdy enough to sit on. I envision it covered in a matching bright print large sized gingham. Do you think I should go for it?