Image Details: ‘Singer Vintage’ by Jeremy Brooks, via Flickr.
I’ve had my very own sewing machine for about 7 years now. It was a Christmas present, and grand ideas though I might have had about being able to do all my own alterations because I am that tricky height whereby I am too tall for Petite and too short to avoid soggy jean bottoms if I wear Regular, I have only ever really made fancy dress costumes and stuff for the house with it. Some pretty awesome fancy dress costumes, but fancy dress nonetheless. Since my Mum had a habit of shrinking/dying my clothes when I was younger, I developed a phobia about ruining items of clothing. This means I a) have an irrational fear of using the tumble dryer and b) pay a lady down the Royal Arcade in Wigan a fortune to alter my clothes. Wigan is a long, long, way from SA, and I have some lovely new jeans I bought from Fat Face (yeah, check me out, I am all surf-trendy!) which need shortening by about, oh, a foot or so. I’m guessing a Fat Face ‘Regular’ is some tall, willowy, beach type: a category I sadly fail to fall into, being a Northerner. It’s kind of Northern Darwinism. My parents are both pretty small. This must be because tall people were no good at working in mines and were hugely more likely to be decapitated by a bit of heavy mill machinery. Anyway…
A friend of mine told me about sewing classes in town. I decided it was about time I got over my irrational hemming fear and go along. I find sewing is one of those things where you pick a project, work like a woman possessed on it, finish it and then pack the machine away for about another 3 months. Unlike knitting, it seems a bit of an effort to get out the machine and all the associated toys, not to mention all the pinning and cutting out. I hate pinning and cutting out. Couple this with a 6 month old baby and it’s easy to see why I would rather knock out a couple of rounds on a sock than start a garment. Sewing is also one of those things where if you don’t do it very often, it’s a bit of an effort to get back into it again, as everything takes much longer to do when you are out of practice. By attending classes, I have to do projects I wouldn’t normally choose, will be learning new techniques and will have to devote at least 3 hours a week to the machine. What’s even better, is that the Babybee can come to lessons too!
Like washing machines, sewing machines hypnotise babies. This is good to know, as it means I can get a bit of sewing done whilst the Her Majesty is awake. She seems to like going to lessons, and was given a scrap of red viscose type material to play with, which she rubbed between her finger and thumb as if to feel the fabric. I won’t lie, I was impressed. I am rather hoping this will mean she will ask for a sewing machine when she gets bigger, rather than a pony. It will be far cheaper and I am scared of horses.
My current assignment involves making two skirts, which I am half way through. I chose linen as it is coming summer here in SA. I’m not 100% sure I chose the right shade for my somewhat pale Northern complexion, but the fabric here is much cheaper than in the UK, so I don’t mind if I have to make them again. This is kind of another reason why I have never previously bothered with making clothes – fabric in the UK can be pretty expensive and the price of clothes is quite low, unless you shop at Selfridges, and I only go there for champagne, darling. I’m enjoying the making so far – ok, not the pinning and cutting out – but the rest is good fun and interesting. I don’t think I will be asking Father Christmas for an overlocker just yet, but I will see how it goes. I’ll post the pictures on here when the make is complete!