This week I dusted off the ‘old’ sewing machine and tried to turn my hand to a bit of clothes making. I say dusted off…what I really mean is I took off the brand new cover and trawled through the manual of a birthday gift received years ago and never used. Whilst on maternity leave with Primrose some four years ago now, I decided in a moment of ‘Barbara-ness’ to ask my dear Mamma for a sewing machine. I had grandiose ideas of becoming a ‘mumpreneur’ and making vintage children’s clothes on an old-fashioned Singer machine in a shepherd’s hut in the garden. A fad which lasted all of five minutes and resulted in one lavender bag being made. The sewing machine has been in the cupboard under the stairs ever since. The only reason I had to remove it from its comfortable home this week was because Jerry bought some wine and insisted upon using the cupboard as his new wine cellar. Of course, Jerry promptly found the wretched machine and dragged it out demanding that it was a waste and that I had to put it to good use. I could curse Berry Bros. for their Burgundy sale!
With the advent of the dreaded ‘Woodland fairy’ birthday party, I had intended to buy a new outfit for Primrose to wear from a dear little shop famed for its frothy tutus. However, with the emergence of the sewing machine, I did feel a little guilty that I hadn’t managed to master the art of sewing and I do hate to let things beat me. I decided to make my own tutu and having no idea where to start, trawled the internet for ideas and quite frankly, a step by step guide. I found only a couple of You Tube videos and I couldn’t even follow the nifty fingered seamstresses on those. Oh dear I thought. Then I had the brilliant idea of reworking one of Primrose’s old dressing up skirts. I say ‘rework’ but you know me a little by now and actually ‘rework’ is more trash than transform. Well where does one start when one hasn’t sewed since one’s school days and embroidery isn’t really the same thing as making an outfit is it?
I had already had a disaster, trying to hand dye the skirt olive green before I began reading the instructions on how to set up the sewing machine. I persevered in a painstaking fashion, trying to make sense of what Kirstie Allsop had made look so bloody easy on ‘Homemade Home’. Put thread onto bobbin, pass bobbin into bottom of machine, thread this, pull here, use pedal (somewhat tricky as it would happen). Some hours later, I was hitting my head against the kitchen table, there were only 24 hours until the party and the Flower fairy outfit was more trashy Tinkerbell than little pixie from Tumbledown Wood.
It turns out that when all is said and done, I am NO Kirstie Allsop or Barbara come to mention it. A stitch in time on a sewing machine would have saved nine BUT that old idiom clearly didn’t take a novice seamstress into account. However, sew it I did. All sewn by hand in the end after I broke two needles on the machine and I had tangled up all the thread. The finished article was wearable at least and Primrose did tell all (and with some pride I might add) that her Mummy had made her outfit. YES it did look homemade and YES you could see the stitching close up but for a first attempt, it stayed on and that’s what counts!!!! Sadly, the sewing machine sits forlornly in a forgotten corner for now but you know, just watch this space as I may just use it to make another lavender bag….