Tag Archives: sewing

Spots, feathers and fowl!

Our indoory springtime!

Our indoory springtime!

Well what a week it has been!  Just when I thought that things were settling back down to normal, Primrose, after weeks and weeks of exposure at nursery, finally contracted chickenpox!  Spotty blisters all over her forced lockdown at the cottage and the girls and I tried to keep ourselves busy to help distract Primrose from feeling too itchy!  A whole week in quarantine was not easy and we were on the verge of madness on several occasions.  The girls and I painted, made egg box daffodils, constructed sets of Playmobil, baked and used a great deal of glitter and shiny sequins from Primrose’s Mister Maker box despite my innate control freakiness!  Most strange……we are never THAT crafty in our house!  Watching Primrose and Poppy playing really nicely together when they are usually at loggerheads over toys, I started to think that chickenpox had also delivered some sort of weird spell over the cottage.  It was at this moment that I had a brainwave….  Perhaps it was listening to too much of Bob the Builder’s mantra (brainwashing as Jerry likes to call it) of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ or perhaps I was having one of those Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest kind of moments, BUT I suddenly decided to test out my upholstery skills.  I know, I know, dear Reader, upholstery skills!  This, coming from the woman who was flummaxed for an hour when trying to set up her sewing machine, the same woman who made sewing on name tapes look like a marathon.  To cut a long story short, my Chesterfield sofa has been losing feathers at an alarming rate and more than one dinner party guest has received an unwelcome pinch of the bottom so something had to be done and sooner rather than later!  The plan: to make a new inside cover to stop the feathers from spilling it.  A challenge but I thought that with my dear Mamma’s help, I might just be able to have a good go at it.  Apparently it is never a good idea to attempt such things unless one has experience……..

I promise no chickens, ducks or geese were harmed in the mending of this cushion!

I promise no chickens, ducks or geese were harmed in the mending of this cushion!

I don’t think that I have seen my lovely Mamma laugh for that long in some time!  I have to admit it was very funny, dear Reader.  The kitchen looked more like a chicken plucking factory than an upholsterers and at some point whilst I was sewing the seams on the new inside covers, my mother did question why I hadn’t paid the £80 to have them done professionally!  I blame the Great British Sewing Bee for encouraging one and all to sew……let’s face it some of us just do not cut the mustard!  A few hours later, some wonky lines of sewing courtesy of the machine (a bad workmen always blames his tools) and a lot of wheezing (turns out I had inhaled rather a lot of dander), my cushions were all sewn up and the cushions could go back on.  Mission accomplished but I do think that if they go again, I might just take them to the shop up the road to have them properly upholstered!  I can’t see the stitches holding for long…

Luckily for all at Margot and Jerry HQ, a phonecall from Barbara saved the house from further making do and mending inspired Margot moments!  An offer to save us from chickenpox chaos, swapping spots for real chickens, freshly baked scones, scrumptious kitchen suppers and a dose of good old countryside air!  Heaven!  Weekends with Tom, Barbara and their darling boy are as restorative as a delicious cup of tea…..made in a teapot of course.  (Barbara and I berrated Tom over breakfast for using a single teabag in a cup to make the morning brew – not at all the same!)  Having introduced us to her new brood of hens, a rather attractive set of ladies, Primrose, Poppy and I were talking of henkeeping all the way home, much to Jerry’s bemusement!  A wonderful way to end the Easter holidays.

Not a chickenpox spot in sight....

Not a poxy spot in sight….

Primrose firmly on the mend, it turns out that Poppy has now caught the pox….  Another week of quarantine but at least we have the prospect of our new little chap to keep us going.  Only another 3 more days until we bring him home!  (Not at all overexcited, dear Reader….)!

Our sweet little Monty...counting down the hours now!

Our sweet little Monty…counting down the hours now!

A case of a stitch in time….

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….