#44 A real sew and sew

Written by admin

30 October 2022

I think the last time I sat in front of a sewing machine was during school Home Economics classes – so we’re talking 36/37 years ago! I’ve always been a dab hand with a needle and thread for minor repairs to hems, seams and missing buttons, but anything more complex was beyond me.

Out of the blue, my lovely friend Gemma set me a challenge to sew a wearable garment. She must have known this would be a challenge indeed. Thankfully, she had a sewing machine and the knowledge to instruct and oversee my (temporary) return to dressmaking.

A couple of friends suggested I make a hair scrunchie… Technically not cheating as it would be wearable, but it felt like a shortcut that wouldn’t be in the spirit of the challenge, so I dug out a favourite skirt and we set about taking a pattern off it. If you’ve been following my blogs, you’ll know that I bought some fabric from a charity shop the day I completed my 20 random acts of kindness challenge, so all I needed now was to bring everything together and get sewing!

Technical issues

I gradually found my way around the sewing machine again; some bits I remembered, some I’d completely forgotten. We had some technical issues with the tension from the bobbin that had us both ready to throw the machine out of the window, but aside from that, part one was pretty straightforward: chalk the outline of the two pieces (front and back) on the fabric, cut the pieces out, check all lengths are even, stitch up hem, stitch side seams together, iron seams flat.

After a few hours, I had the makings of a skirt and just needed to “pop” the zip in for it to be finished.

We reconvened a week or so later for part two. “Should only take an hour”, thought I… How wrong I was. You see, this pattern required a concealed zip, and you should NEVER underestimate the evilness of a concealed zip!

Wonky seams

They make it look so easy on The Great British Sewing Bee, but I made a few mistakes on the road to perfection. Wonky seams, missed edges, incorrect stitches; we had them all, and there was much huffing and puffing and unpicking along the way. At one point, Gemma took the skirt off me and said “I’ll unpick it this time for fear you might explode if you huff and puff any louder”… or something along those lines.

BUT we got there in the end, and I have a fully wearable skirt made from my piece of £4.99 fabric. Whether I’ll actually wear it remains to be seen, but that was never the point. Maybe I’ll auction it off to the highest bidder – all proceeds to ARUK!

Gemma awarded me 10/10 for effort, and 9/10 for execution. I also got a special commendation for displaying remarkable patience when the sewing machine was playing up. Why, thank you! I’ll await my gold star 😊

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