Posts Tagged ‘textiles’

David Whitehead relaunch

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

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David Whitehead relaunch event at Broad Leys, Windermere

This weekend, we attended the David Whitehead relaunch and bicentenary.

Front of Broad Leys, home to the Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club

It was held at Broad Leys, home to Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club – a beautiful Charles Voysey-designed Arts & Crafts building.

Arts & Crafts decorative fireplace vent grille featuring birds and trees

There were wonderful architectural features wherever you looked – even down to tiniest details such as this fireplace vent grille…and of course, stunning views out over the lake.

View of Lake Windermere from Broad Leys, home to the Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club

It takes a lot to compete with that. Fortunately, we were there to celebrate the relaunch of six of their classic fabric designs. Compete – they certainly did!

Rolls of relaunched David Whitehead fabric

We first met Jill & Bernard Laverty, the current owners of David Whitehead & Sons Ltd, a few years ago. They contacted us after we blogged about an amazing discovery of unused vintage fabrics that had laid untouched for 50 years in a store room – many of them were rolls manufactured by David Whitehead. We shared a cuppa initially and later on visited them for lunch. We talked all things David Whitehead – the history of production, their archive and future potential.

Cushions covered in relaunched David Whitehead fabrics in bay window of Broad Leys, home to the Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club

At that point in time, David Whitehead had stopped making fabrics and were concentrating on other products. Jill in particular was bitten by the bug and keen to explore the possibilities of a textile range. She bought vintage fabric samples and visited museum archives.

Samples of original vintage David Whitehead fabrics

The company then set about looking into the production of some of their classic designs, copyright ownership, a future re-launch, press & marketing, new website etc! And here we were celebrating the culmination of all their efforts – an amazing achievement from those initial early chats – what a journey they’ve been on!

Samples of original vintage David Whitehead fabrics with antique wooden bobbins and page from a vintage Ambassador magazine fashion shoot featuring Whitehead fabrics

We had a wonderful lunch surrounded by the relaunched fabrics. There were products such as cushions and recovered chairs to show potential uses, stands & displays portraying the company history and some of their great designers – Marion Mahler, Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi, Jacqueline Groag, Henry Moore, John Piper, Terence Conran… what names!

Marian Mahler display including stool covered in relaunched yellow fabric from her original design

There was a film history showing and fabric bunting dotted about the venue – even the waiting staff were wearing David Whitehead fabric aprons.

Display including samples of Sir Terence Conran's original fabric designs for David Whitehead

And onto one of those great design names – Sir Terence Conran, as he is now, attended the relaunch and made a short speech about the significance of David Whitehead in his own life and the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit of the company in the post-war years around the time of the Festival of Britain. What a pleasure it was to share a table with him!

Jill Laverty with friend Kathy and Sir Terence Conran at the David Whitehead relaunch event

He expressed his opinion that the current owners share the same entrepreneurial spirit and that he was delighted to see the textiles coming into production again – and that he would happily help with their publicity in any way he could.

Lunch at David Whitehead relaunch event

The fabrics are being produced by Standfast & Barracks, so it’s production in Lancashire once again which is great – heritage combined with modern production techniques to produce a top quality product.

Selvedge from relaunched David Whitehead fabric

And so to the future – well, the sky’s the limit. Will Jill and Bernard sell the fabrics wholesale? Will they make homeware products using their classic designs? There were no shortage of ideas flying around from tea towels to dog coats!

The six relaunched David Whitehead fabric patterns

Whatever they choose to do, we’re sure it will be a great success. They’ve obviously got great vision and drive to reach this point, they’re passionate and determined. These wonderful vintage designs (and perhaps new ones) will arrive on the market place with a huge impact.

Bunting made from relaunched David Whitehead fabric

And on a personal note – you couldn’t wish to meet a lovelier couple which just adds to the goodwill we feel for them as things move forward. So many thanks to Jill & Bernard for inviting us – we’re looking forward to seeing what happens next!

Gimme Five! Wool throws

Friday, September 11th, 2015

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Selection of wool throws | @hisforhome

Autumn is definitely here, despite summer on occasion putting up a struggle. We’ve had our newly-installed wood-burning stove chuffing away this week – not quite ready to go the whole hog and turning on the central heating, but in need of some background warmth.

There’s nothing quite like autumn evenings, curled up on a sofa or armchair with a lovely, soft wool throw over the shoulders. We tend to keep one across the foot of the bed too, for those nights when the duvet needs a little help.

Here’s a great selection of wool throws to keep those autumn chills in check!

  1. Sheep wool blanket: £64, Scandinavian Design Center
  2. Dorma plum Maldon throw: £59.99, Dunelm
  3. Adeen red wool and silk throw: £80, Habitat
  4. Stripe wool throw: £90, Feather and Black
  5. TweedMill fishbone two stripe olive & rouge wool throw: £44.95, TweedMill

Vintage tea towels

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

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collection of vintage tea towels

We bought a box of mixed textiles at auction last week which included some lovely vintage tea towels. Great looking – and full of useful facts & figures too! Here are a few of our favourites.

vintage metric tea towel

The ‘Housewives Guide to British Metric Measure’ was aimed at helping us Brits through the process of change from imperial to metric measures – a process which started here in the 1960s and is still ongoing for most people! We certainly use a combination of imperial & metric measures in this household. Metres, feet, inches, miles, kilometres, kilos, pounds, pints, litres, Fahrenheit & Centigrade all jumbled up together – we just grab whichever seems to suit!

detail of vintage metric tea towel

Fabulous decoration and ideal ready reckoner this one!

detail of vintage metric tea towel

This next tea towel was issued by the British Diabetic Association.

vintage diet tea towel

A colourful textile, featuring foodstuffs with recommended daily allowances.

detail of vintage diet tea towel

Various letters & symbols indicate calories, carbohydrate, fat & protein content.

detail of vintage diet tea towel

The next tea towel concentrates solely on calorific values for those watching their weight.

vintage calorie values tea towel

It’s a very striking design and would look great framed.

detail of vintage calorie values tea towel

And the value for sweets? “too many calories” it says. We’ll be the judge of that!!

detail of vintage calorie values tea towel

This last tea towel is fabulous – a food guide to London restaurants dating from the 1950s or 60s. When did London last have 4-digit telephone numbers?

vintage vintage London restaurants tea towel

Some of the restaurants still survive to this day.

detail of vintage vintage London restaurants tea towel

We love the ‘specialities’ – from ‘midnight cabaret’ to ‘chicken paprika’!

detail of vintage vintage London restaurants tea towel

Drop us a line if you’re interested in any of the tea towels. They’re priced at £20 – £30.