Gemma Sangwine

Unique and bespoke millinery and hair accessories


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Making a Recycled Vintage Diamante Hair Pin

Earlier I showed you how to make a vintage diamante side tiara. Next up is a hair pin made with a recycled vintage brooch. These pins look great added to an up-do and work well in thick or curly hair.

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Here I have used an old 1920’s brooch,  two hair pins joined together, silver knitted wire and silver 0.2 wire.

Firstly cut a length of the knitted wire, long enough to cover both the pins and be doubled over. Sew this in place using 0.2 wire.

 

 

 

 

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Next undo the clasp on the brooch and pin it through the knitted wire.

Close the clasp and use pliers to squeeze it permanently shut. Sew the brooch pin to the knitted wire.

 

 

 

 

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I have added a scrunched up piece of knitted wire into the gap at the back of the pin to help keep it securely in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Finally, line the back of the brooch with a piece of knitted wire to hide all the messy stitching and give a nice professional finish. Use an over stitch with the o.2 wire to do this.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20151113_112351251These pins are a great way of recycling antique brooches which have old fashioned clasps – which are not as secure as modern wheel clasps – and so are prone to coming undone and falling off.

 


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Guest Exhibiting at Atelier for Select 2016

After opening our studio at Stafford Mill for the Select Trail for the last 5 years, we took a break in 2015 and enjoyed being tourists and visiting local artists and craftsmen for a change.

But in May 2016 I decided to join in again and took the opportunity to exhibit at Atelier Stroud, along with Heloise of Pink Frazada, Heather Haskins (Atelier’s resident seamstress), Francesca Chalk’s printed textiles, Polly Lyster’s Dye Works and Deborah Roberts Photography.

Atelier is a light, airy, friendly and relaxed space which hosts a sewing club and regular workshops. For the Select Trail the sewing machines were put away and our group of local artists and makers moved in, laying out our wares and generally taking over!

We had lots of visitors over the two weekends, many of whom had never been to Atelier before, so it was great to introduce them to the space, and to talk about our own work.

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For me it was a bonus to be able to just rock up with all my stock and display props and set up my stall, rather than having to tidy up my own studio to make it presentable for visitors, which if you have ever visited us at Stafford Mill, you will know it is quite a task.

I end up frantically pushing boxes under tables and randomly shoving materials and equipment into drawers….and then spending the following months looking for them!

Later this year you can catch me as a guest exhibitor at the Made in Chalford Christmas Fair at The Victoria Works Studios, Chalford, on the 3rd & 4th December 2016.


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Wiring together a Vintage Diamante Side Tiara

I have been making these side tiaras for a while now, but it all started in 2013 in response to an enquiry from a bride-to-be….montage

Paula loved vintage marcasite brooches and wanted a statement bridal headpiece made from them. I experimented with different techniques and ended up using silver plated wire to bind all the pieces together and fix them onto a blonde coloured headband.

Since then I have made many more of these headpieces (and learnt that they are called side tiaras!) and I have refined the way that I make them.

Here I will take you through the process I use to make a wire frame to hold the pieces of vintage jewellery together.

To start, bring together the jewellery you want to use and decide on the layout and composition. Think carefully about the size, weight and balance of the piece. At this stage I usually have lots of brooches and earrings piled up and I try out different compositions and different pieces, taking a photo of each one on my phone, and then scrolling through the photos to see which looks best.

JpegHere I have settled on a design made with 4 brooches and a pair of earrings, all gold tone with red diamante. Next I take some 1.0 gold plated wire and make a frame which will be the main structure that the jewellery will be wired onto.

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JpegThe jewellery will sit on top of the frame, but check that it will be as hidden as possible and that each piece of jewellery can be securely wired onto it – hence the little wings on either side for the earrings to attach to.

I have used 0.4 wire to bind the ends of the frame where they overlap.

Next take a length of about 40cm of 0.2 wire and thread it through a needle, use it doubled over and knot it at the end. The 0.2 wire is fine enough to sew with and strong enough to hold the jewellery in place. Cast it onto the frame and sew on the first piece of jewellery. I usually start with the last brooch at the bottom. You can also keep the clasps intact and use them to help secure the brooches to the frame. Use the needle to bring the wire up through the small gaps in the brooch and back down to catch onto the frame. At this stage I should point out that this technique only works with jewellery that has gaps between the diamante stones for you to sew through, some pieces are totally solid and are only good for glueing onto feather or fabric bases.

Once all the jewellery is securely fixed to the frame, go round with teflon pliers to make sure all ends of the 0.2 wire, where you have cast it on, are smoothed over.

Now you can fix the diamante onto a headband. I prefer to use ribbon covered bands in a colour to match the client’s hair colour, then they disappear in the hair and all you see is the diamante.

Model -Stephanie Hazel Poole •  Photography- Kayleigh Adams Photography

This is a great way of recycling vintage jewellery, especially odd earrings and brooches which have broken clasps. You can also incorporate heirloom jewellery and pieces of sentimental value.


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Bristol beckons!

One of my aims for this year was to find more shops and outlets to  sell my work through. As a small scale maker it can be intimidating approaching new retailers, and it’s hard not to take each knock back personally.

The best leads often come from word of mouth, through friends and family. A casual conversation can lead to an opening, an opportunity to introduce your work, and yourself as a maker.

There’s lots of factors to consider, not just whether they ‘like’ your products, but how will they be presented and displayed, what are your trade and recommended retail prices,  how do they sit with the rest of the stock already in the shop?

However,  when you hit on the right place , and find yourself falling in love with the products they already stock, you know you’re on the right track!

http://flo-joboutique.co.uk/

Flo-jo Boutique is a new shop in Bristol, on the Gloucester Road, a vibrant area which boasts of  being  one of the few remaining independent High Streets, with  a rich variety of locally run shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.

Although the shop is a new venture, it’s founders, Delia Dee and Erika, are two very talented ladies who have been working together for years. They make vintage and retro style clothes, pinnies and aprons, and underwear! They have created quite a stir with their Fancy Pants Knicker Making Kits, and also run sewing workshops where you can make your own pair of saucy undies.

I am very excited to have the opportunity to sell my work here. After spending a weekend working away in my studio I have sent them a range of my Fascinators, mainly the feather and vintage jewellery ones, and little Felt Flower Corsages, all of which have gone straight out on display!


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Slipper Workshop

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Had a great day at Prema Arts Centre yesterday, running an afternoon workshop. We were making a pair of slippers out of old, felted woolen jumpers. The emphasis was on using favourite jumpers which had been a victim of the washing machine and shrunk to unwerable proportions!

We followed a simple pattern, adapted from ‘Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed and Organic Materials’ by Bez White.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sewing-Green-Projects-Repurposed-Materials/dp/1584797584/ref=pd_sim_b_3

The pieces were cut out and stitched together right-side out so you get a thick, decorative seam around the edges. The soles were re-inforced with leather heel and toe grips.

ImagePictured above are Jenny’s slippers, almost finished! The jumper was a hand knit and had shrunk to make a lovely, thick felt.

Here are Emily’s slippers, great use of mixed materials. The stripey fabric was from two jumpers which were accidentally felted. The cuffs are from an old Aran jumper (see below!).

And Ruth’s, which look particularly cosy – made from a chunky Aran jumper and finished with blue blanket stitching.