Autumn 2013, I was walking through John Lewis idly wondering what to spend some vouchers on that I’d been given for my 40th birthday. I passed the haberdashery section and spied an ugly sewing machine – one of the John Lewis own brand models in a colour-way that hadn’t worked – for only £25. “Why not?” I thought. I’d always been fascinated by the thought of sewing and of having a machine; and if navy and lime green wasn’t a soothing choice, it frankly didn’t matter when sewing straight lines.
There, in that simple moment, it started. While the blue and lime green machine has long since been replaced (one with a light, an automatic needle threader and more options to change stitches/feet becoming important over time), it was my gateway to a new part of my life.
The first project that followed was a circle skirt. I found a pattern on line that promised it was ‘Easy’, some beautiful black shiny (and oh so slippery) Chinese brocade, and the different notions that I needed, and slowly puzzled out the instructions. Thank goodness for starting this journey in the days of the Internet; being able to google definitions that meant nothing to me was a lifesaver.
Eventually my circle skirt was finished. Even its mother (which I suppose would technically be me) couldn’t admire its hem, but you know it’s still one of the me-made items in my wardrobe that I wear most and get the most comments about. It taught me from the start that a beautiful fabric (in a dark colour with a print) can hide some truly dodgy sewing, and that garments that fit well in both height (I’m 5’2″) and width, make you feel good.
Sewing, its community and the peace and creativity it gives me, are really important to me. In this blog, I’m going to try and reflect on some of that.