I, on the other hand, can not sew. I mean, I can replace a button, and I can mend a spilt seam, something I have had to learn thanks to my penchant for buying slightly cheap clothes. But I cannot knit so much as a scarf. I have never embroidered a handkerchief, taken up a pair of trousers or even customised a t-shirt. Well, there was that one unfortunate incident with some tie-dying, but perhaps we had better brush over that. The follies of youth and all that jazz.
|Some people never learn...|
|What is this? What does is mean? What the heck are feed dogs??|
When I was looking for suggestions for this year of new challenges, several people proposed making an item of clothing, but only my mum was clever enough to add a caveat. The challenge would only be complete, in her eyes, if I WORE what I made, outside the house, at least three times. She knows me well enough, you see, to know that if I thought I could get away with not wearing whatever I made, I would be in danger of not putting the required amount of love into the project. My mother believes that love is the key ingredient of all things, most especially cooking and sewing. With every year that passes I become more convinced that she is right.
|An early example of an outfit made with love.|
Mum later confessed that the first wave of fear and doubt washed over her when I asked if we seriously intended to attempt to make the skirt in one day. In my mind this was a week-long undertaking, in mum's it was going to be done, dusted, and hanging off my hips in four hours. As usual, mum was right.
As regards providing a decent story, I'm sorry to say that there was remarkably little drama involved in the whole thing. At one stage my zig-zagging became wildly erratic and mum was forced to ask me what on earth I was thinking, but that's the closest we came to any kind of disaster. This is what I had to do: (Sequences shortened...)
1. Make a pattern.
2. Cut the fabric. Gulp. Mum says: "Use the whole length of the scissors." I find it impossible to cut with anything but the tips.
3. Pin stuff.
Pin stuff to other stuff.
Then unpin it.
Then pin it again.
Turns out I have relatively elite pinning skills.
4. Sew various things together and then iron them. Ironing, it transpires, is a fundamental part of the process.
|Ironing one half of the waistband.|
5. Listen to and follow instructions. I'm good at that, I've had plenty of practice.
6. Sew elastic into the waistband.
|Probably more concentration than I have ever previously dedicated to a piece of elastic.|
|Please note, dog featured is NOT a feed dog.|
8. Baste the hem of the skirt. Having marked the desired width of the hem with an iron, I roughly stitched all the way round to hold the hem in place when finishing it off with the sewing machine. Amongst mum's many pearls of wisdom was this one: you can baste a hem without ironing it, if necessary. But you must never attempt to sew a hem without basting it first. I wonder if this is a metaphor for life. Probably not.
|Basting. It's different to what you do to a chicken, apparently.|
|The other kind of basting. The more delicious kind.|
|It's really easy to concentrate with someone STARING OVER YOUR SHOULDER. Not.|
10. Finally: Iron it, hang it up, and look darned pleased with yourself.
|The finished product!!|
|Make it with love. Always.|
|Outing one: The skirt gets ready to go for Chinese. Spring Rolls, Crispy Chilli Beef and a Lemon Fanta, thank you very much.|
|Outing two: The skirt goes dolphin watching in Gibraltar. Hello dolphins!!|
|Why would you NOT want to see a picture of dolphins? Dolphins are amazing, even if they can't sew. Fact.|
|Outing three: The skirt messes around in the park.|
Eight down, twenty-two to go...