Thursday, 27 June 2013


I'm sorry! I've been reimagining my spare/sewing room as a working space and I’ve held my first workshop: I had five paying customers and they all said they would like to come again! I am a happy lady!

Three of them made bags (using my samples as inspiration), one a simple dress with a shirring elastic bodice for her teenager and one embarked on a frilled top for her 6 year-old. There was a spectrum of experience/ability/confidence/perfectionism, which made it interesting for me, and they all claimed they’d learned something they’d not known.

When I was taught to sew at secondary school we all had to make a bag to keep our sewing in, then a roll in which to keep our science instruments, and finally a smocked apron with shell edges on the ties (for our mothers) before we were let loose on an actual garment. At that point we were taught to use tailor’s tacks, pin then tack seams before we could machine stitch, and generally do things properly! It was interesting to watch the various techniques these largely self-taught ladies used: most were determined to put pins in every inch and take them out as they were reached. I confess I rarely do more than the occasional pin and then I put them at right angles to the seam and sew straight over them. This is a risky strategy since if you hit a pin you will break your needle, bend the pin and ruin your machine (i.e. don’t try this at home!). However, I have had my machine since the fifth form and it does me fine. Obviously I don’t need pins if I’m sewing in straight lines nor for most seaming, but perhaps for attaching a collar or setting in a sleeve. In industry there isn’t time to mess about with pins and tacks if you’re going to earn your piecework money, you need skill and practice. It isn’t wrong to tack and/or pin of course, but I hope to increase 'my' tutees skill levels so that they don’t always have to.

I’m looking forward to next week’s session now – though I must get Youngest’s prom dress made by next Friday or there’ll be trouble!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Vintage family

These are the wedding outfits, one dress suit made (by me) for a wedding in 2007 and one (by mother) for a wedding in the 1960s! (Luckily Youngest has no pre-conceived ideas about Crimplene.) A beautiful, intimate late afternoon and evening affair the wedding was a privilege to attend.

I have no pictures for the Church Fete. The weather, which had been promised to be fair all week, was in fact chilly and overcast, but luckily people turned out in goodly numbers and it remained dry such that we sold out of food and booze and a jolly good time was had by all. I maintain that this is a village party first and a church fund raiser second, but it was pleasing to make the second best grand total to date.

“I don’t realise how much I miss you guys until I see you,” said Eldest as we shared a picnic on Saturday evening. Husband and I travelled to Oxford to attend the last night of a play performed in the grounds of Worcester College – on their lake! – for which Eldest was Stage Manager. She is thoroughly engaged in life at university, but in Maths and backstage management – not parties and boys! She might be home in September, and will manage a few days of the family holiday in France, but is otherwise engaged over the summer with a university production that they are taking to the Edinburgh Fringe…
We are happy that she is happy, but, may I say to those of you who have yet to get to this stage, it comes as something of a shock that your offspring have other things to do and you are pretty much irrelevant! Make the most of the time you have with them because it flies by. As my mother remarked: “And…?!”