I’ve just got back from Most Curious, Sanderson’s 150th birthday tea party in Marylebone Lane’s coolest shoe shop, Tracey Neuls. To mark Sanderson’s 150th birthday, Tracey has covered elegant shoes with vintage fabrics from the Sanderson archive including a quirky 19th Century squirrel design while designer Nina Saunders has created a fabulous ‘melting’ armchair installation upholstered in a beautiful blue rose Sanderson fabric from the 1950s.

The venue was decked out with an indoor silver birch forest, which was all very trendy, and woodland-chic, and all that jazz. I chatted to Nina about her amazing upholstery, and she told me that she bought the armchair on eBay for very little, then manipulated and bent the arms to create the strange flowing look. Her expert upholsterers somehow managed to cover the foam shape she carved for the base without any bumps, lumps or pleats in the fabric – incredible when you think how many creases/pleats/GENERAL ISSUES we have on photo shoots when we’re covering foot-stools or head-boards! (Thankfully PhotoShop takes care of most of them, tee hee).

Perhaps I should attempt to explain the little squirrel perched inside the squirrel shoes here…Nina Saunders is really into taxidermy (which you can see from her online portfolio…check out the fox-heads-on-the-sofa-styling…hmmmmm, no comment), so there were various little critters scattered around the installation. Including this hilarious parrot, face-down inside a beautiful emerald shoe. Curiouser and curiouser…

No self-respecting stuffed parakeet would want to get this close to my odour-eaters, that’s for sure. – Ellie

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I’m looking forward to the V&A’s Quilts 1700-2010 exhibition (20 March – 4 July 2010) which is being hailed as a “visual encyclopaedia of design”, with thousands of pieces of fabric reflecting three centuries of pattern and print. Crafters, take note: to celebrate the exhibition, the V&A Shop and Liberty Art Fabrics have teamed up to release a limited edition collection of 18 printed cottons, inspired by designs from the quilts on display – perfect for sewing a patchwork quilt of your own.

The fabrics will cost £3.50 for a fat quarter (50cm x 75cm). Keep your eyes peeled for the new quilting book which will be released to accompany the exhibition too – Sue Prichard’s Patchwork for Beginners (I’ll be reviewing this next week). Since I’ve got a box under my bed full to the brim with fabric scraps which are ‘going to be turned into a lovely quilt one day’, this book might be just what I need to get going!

London-based interiors fans might also like to pay a visit to the Fashion and Textiles Museum this year to see the exhibition Very Sanderson: 150 Years of English Decoration (19 March – 13 June 2010). You’ll be able to ogle the Sanderson archive and admire wallpapers, fabrics and paint shades from 1860 to the present day. To celebrate Sanderson‘s birthday, artist Nina Saunders has teamed up with footwear designer Tracey Neuls to create an installation made entirely of Sanderson fabrics. We’ll be checking it out at the launch in February’s London Fashion Week and sharing the pics and news here, but until then, here are some examples of Nina and Tracey’s previous Sanderson creations:


Looks as though we’re in for lots of fabric fun this spring! – Ellie