Tuesday 30 June 2015

My Secret Affair.....

Hello, my name is Tilly Rose and I have a little secret to share with you…..

Twenty odd years ago I started a love affair that I just can’t seem to let go. I am still in love all these years later….
There, I’ve said it out loud…
Little ‘ol Tilly Rose has a secret love affair… 
I know that may shock many of you but I feel now is the time to reveal all…

Roll back the years to 1990 and my story begins…

I had stolen a precious half hour of ‘me’ time with a much needed cup of tea, a packet of ginger nuts and Pebble Mill for some much needed adult company, whilst my little one sat amusing himself with his toys in front of the TV screen.
It was my regular slot of switch off time just before my son drifted off to slumberland for his daily afternoon nap.

Does anyone remember Pebble Mill?
For those of you in the know, Pebble Mill was the daytime equivalent of The One Show (my apologies at this point for any readers not familiar with either shows…)
On this particular day the presenter, Alan Titchmarsh (I think!) was interviewing a young actress (whose name I’m afraid I have since forgotten). The purpose of her visit was of course to alert viewers to her new book, film, play etc and she started telling Alan about her absence from the limelight and mentioned that during that time she had recently lost her beloved Grandma and like many of us, unfortunately had had to tackle the daunting task of clearing her home.
She went on to explain to viewers how she had unearthed a wooden trunk containing many of her Gran’s treasured items including a pair of hand sewn patchwork curtains that the actress remembered being in her Gran’s kitchen. She had struggled to understand why they had been kept as they were so faded by the sunlight as well as being very tattered and torn in places. And yet, despite being in such a poor condition they had been washed, pressed and neatly folded away in the wooden trunk for safe keeping…

After asking her Mum and other members of the family she had managed to unearth the story behind them...

Her Gran had married young in the late 1920’s when times were very hard and they had moved into a house with very little. Their home had been very close to Liberty’s in London and each season she had collected many free fabric samples on offer to customers until she had enough to put together as a small pair of curtains. She had then lovingly hand sewn each patch together to create a pair of beautiful patchwork curtains to hang in her kitchen window which had remained there for the next forty odd years….

I was totally smitten…not only with such a beautiful tale of handmade thriftiness to turn a house into a home with very little but the fact that each patch had been so treasured and hand sewn with such love made me smile. The curtains must’ve meant so much to her every time she stood at her kitchen window and looked out. How proud she must have felt.
It was at that moment my love affair began as I had fallen head over heels with patchwork… but not patchwork as we know it today. I loved the whole idea of a family heirloom made from golden treasures and full of beautiful memories... 

Until that day, patchwork had never really caught my eye although I had dabbled a little at school but the idea of collecting snippets of fabric from nowhere to turn into something beautiful captured my heart and I fell in love with the history and making of traditional patchwork there and then…
I have since made numerous projects for my own home as well as making many gifts for friends, orders for customers and teaching others the joy of patchwork.

Traditional patchwork evolved from sheer necessity and whilst I love all the beautiful patchwork designs now available my heart always sings for the traditional way of doing things created from the Make Do & Mend ethos from years gone by. 
Any fabrics available were used, all colours were chosen and all designs gelled to form one enormous explosion of joyfulness.
I get so annoyed when I hear people being told they can only use certain fabrics, certain styles and perfectly cut shapes etc 
Our mothers didn’t have those choices and yet they still managed to create the most amazing items against all the odds. They kept their homes cosy, full of warmth and saved themselves loads of pennies in doing so.
I too now have my own patchwork curtains hanging in my kitchen just like the lovely lady in the story. They remind me of the day my love affair began and the beautiful story behind my own journey of getting to know patchwork.

My home is now one big collection of fabric scraps lovingly sewn into every day designs that I cherish dearly.I always try and add a little more like a crochet edging, a little hand enbroidery, maybe some vintage buttons or even lace but most of all every piece is always hand stitched with love...

 I do often wonder if anyone will find my patchwork curtains in a wooden trunk and wonder why?

Whatever style of patchwork you prefer have fun stitching my lovelies...
Any handmade loveliness will always bring a smile...

Enjoy your day!



  1. Do you know I remember that interview too, just remember the curtains don't remember the person, at the same time I saw or heard a documentary on Lucy M Boston the author of Children of Green Knowle made quilts and hung them at the windows to keep warm and thought thats a great idea. The last quilt I made I did not use any fancy templates just a pen and ruler.
    Julie xxx

  2. Oh Wow! How fab that you remember the interview! I just love stories full of lovely memories like that... My Mum & Nan used to use anything to create something and I guess I've just carried on that Make Do & Mend theme from them :)

  3. Hi Tilly, (playing catch up again!)
    Yes I remember Pebble Mill at One too! It was the time I used to sit and have a cuppa whilst the little ones were taking a nap too!
    Do you remember Hilary James who used to have a slot with her sewing? Well I used to watch her and bought the Pebble Mill Sew Easy patterns for children, ( they included knitting patterns too)
    The patterns were easy and the children looked lovely in their clothes. I wore the patterns out.
    What a lovely memory you have brought back for me.
    Thank you and keep inspiring us all xx


Thanks for popping by today and leaving a little message
I love to hear your thoughts and appreciate your fabulous snippets that make me smile....

Tilly x