What has come over me?

I have an urge to sit at a sewing machine and sew something.

This is most unlike me. I think I must be sickening for something.

Me and sewing machines have never got on. Something about sewing has never really clicked and as a result I’ve always sidled up to Mum and kindly asked her to do any sewing for me. She’s a genius on the sewing machine. My Gran was a dressmaker and Mum’s inherited her skills. I don’t know what happened to me though. It should be easy enough to sew, surely? But for some reason my brain stops working and it doesn’t always make sense. The few things I have made were done with Mum telling me what to do at every step. Laying out the pattern and cutting the fabric has to be the most scary part too.

spools of threadTextile lessons at school were pretty much as waste of time. There were two Textiles teachers. The first was Mrs Stone, who I only had for a year and with whom we mainly made toys and other hand-stitched items. This particular teacher also did sugar craft in her spare time and often brought in the most amazing cake decorations to show us. Then there was Mrs Hodge who used to get really stressed out with all of us. Imagine 25 girls, each sat in front of a sewing machine, none of us having the foggiest idea about what we’re supposed to be doing, so all asking Mrs Hodge to come over and explain it again, or fix it when we’ve done it wrong. She didn’t cope all that well and would get a little exasperated with us. I’m not sure that I actually completed much at all in the 3 years of textiles lessons that I took in secondary school. We did make a patchwork cushion which wasn’t bad actually and up until a few months ago, Mum used to keep it on her bed. There was also a nightdress, but I definitely never finished that one. It wasn’t the most attractive garment. I don’t really remember what else we attempted to make. Perhaps I should dig out my old school reports and see what she wrote about me. That could be amusing!

I did make a jumper on a knitting machine one term though. It was in what I would call a Christmas green colour in some sort of acrylic yarn. That was quite fun to begin with. I loved the way that it grew so quickly. However I’ll never forget that Mrs Hodge offered to finish off the front piece that I was working on whilst I went to lunch. When I got back, she’d finished the piece as a back piece. So I had two back and no front. There was no apology from her, no offer of help to rip it back and redo. So I ended up seaming the jumper as it was… and I never wore it once. Well who would, when the neckline was so high on both sides!

So my early experiences of sewing weren’t very inspiring and with a Mum who could make me a new dress in a single day, I’ve not had much incentive to learn myself (despite Mum’s gentle reminders that she won’t be around forever!).

Mind you, I never thought I’d be a knitter either and now look at me. I can knit stuff and I’m not half bad at it either.

So maybe I should make the most of a few days off work over Christmas and sit down and make a bag with some of the fabric I bought in India. Perhaps I could learn to sew after all. Now that would be an achievement!


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