Cool Britannia !

Hello y’all !

Its been an age since I blogged so I thought I’d show you what I’ve been up to. I’ve had some really special things to make and I’ve been itching to share this make with you. A special commission which I hope you agree looks SO cool! I love it!

This is my take on a re-worked vintage trunk and in this blog I am going to show you how I made it…..

UJ Trunk

Some months ago I was flicking through Homes and Antiques magazine (September 2010 issue) and spied this re-worked vintage trunk which I thought was a great idea but then put it to the back of my mind……

Reworked Vintage Trunk

Now there's an idea.....

It turned out that some time later I would need this idea for a very special commission for a friend, and the ideas from the magazine were given the Lexi treatment.

So….first of all I needed to gather together all the bits and pieces for this special project. It was for a man with a love of vintage pieces and classic cars combined with a preppy English style that is so current right now.  I wanted to make my piece look  a bit like something from Jack Wills but way more exclusive and personal. Each element to the trunk was specifically chosen with him in mind. It takes a while to find all the little quirky car motifs and antique insignia but its what makes it unique and for me that is vital!

So, this is the trunk in its basic state – nice but awfully dull and SO brown!

Take one brown canvas trunk......

Take one brown canvas trunk......

Inside it was in quite a good condition. A little battered, but then so would you be if you were that old! I am based in Cirencester, Gloucestershire and I love the fact that this trunk was made in Cheltenham, 15 miles up the road. It feels a bit like its come home!

Trunk interior

Love the stripes!

In the magazine article it says  to paint PVA glue all over the outside of the trunk in order to prevent any colour leaking from the canvas onto the fabrics when they are attached to the trunk. So, I painted the trunk and let it dry whilst I got to work measuring and cutting out the fabrics for each section.

PVA

Bring on the glue

Glue is drying

Its nearly dry !

The fabrics I chose were to work around a union jack bandana that I had so I used various red, white and navy fabrics to co-ordinate.  I like to mix up patterns and scale to give an eclectic look. I found some red and white ticking which I was particularly pleased with. It was an arduous task cutting out all the little pieces of fabric to fit in around the curved corners and locks and hinges on the trunk, but I was not too concerned about it being perfect. I like it a little shabby around the edges!

Meanwhile….the union jack bandanna I wanted to use for the top of the trunk was very new looking and very bright! So, in order to vintage-i-fy it I left it soaking in a solution hot water and household bleach for half an hour or so to age it. Now, if you decide to do this, proceed with caution – too much Domestos and it could all be over very quickly! When it was the correct colour I washed it thoroughly and dried and pressed it so it was ready to go.Oh yes, and to make it look even more genuine, I rubbed it up and down on my grater to make a few holes!

In the bleach

Soaking.....

Now with holes

Now with holes

When sticking the fabric pieces to the trunk I started with the smallest in order to get the hang of it before attempting the bigger ones. What was concerning me was getting wrinkles and air bubbles underneath the fabrics. In the magazine article it says to smooth out any lumps and bumps by rubbing a bundle of cloth over it which should sort out any issues! I did have some little bumps as there were various screws etc holding the trunk together but I dont think this detracted from the overall look.

spotty corner pieces

Bit fiddly around the corners

On the areas of the trunk where the handles were, I simply sliced gently down the fabric with a stanley knife and then eased the fabric around the obstruction and stuck it down. You hardly even notice the slit and I think it looks neater that two or three separate pieces.

Around the handle

Easy does it with the Stanley knife....

Once all the underneath and side pieces were on I could then concentrate on the main two panels where I wanted to place the union jack and to add the monogramming letters. I planned to applique them to the fabric using a zig zag stitch on the machine along with the woven car badges and the mini union jacks and felt initials before sticking the base pieces to the trunk.

I put the flag on the trunk at a rakish angle to make things a litle more quirky and then cut it up the centre and pinned each piece of bandana to the base fabric and then I was ready to start machining.

The flag is cut and pinned

Cut and pinned - ready to sew

Now to sew it …..

Let the sewing begin

Let the sewing begin

The last things to be stitched onto the main fabric panels were felt initials as well as the fabric car badges and a genuine military insignia.

Car badges

Now for some of the fun stuff !

Vintage Insignia

Vintage insignia looks just the thing on here

Mini UJ

Its not all red, white and blue!

To finish off I had to stick the two large central panels onto the trunk and to look for any lose threads that needed trimming. I also checked for any bits of fabric that might have required a bit of extra sticking. And the result of all this hard work  was this …..

The finished product

And so here we have it. Whatd'ya think?!

I am please to tell you that the recipient was really pleased with it, and at the end of the day, thats what matters!

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you.

More soon,

Love Lexi x x

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