I’ve muddled along for years sewing cushion covers, duvet covers, curtains, scarves and other bits and bobs by hand. I learned to use a sewing machine at school several light years ago but never really got the hang of it with all those fiddly little bobbins and complex threading. That, plus the fact that it took a whole term to make an awful ‘pinny’ out of dreadful flowered corduroy, put me off sewing machines for life.
The thing is, I’m impatient with hand sewing and while my stuff looks OK at a glance, there’s no way it passes muster on close scrutiny.
My favourite ever pencil skirt finally died at Christmas. It fitted perfectly, exactly the right length and so on, and it was very flattering. Damn. So I carefully took it apart into sections to see if I could use it as a pattern. But hand sewing won’t do the trick. I know my limitations!
So what to do? I don’t want to lay out hundreds on a regular sewing machine – we don’t have space for it anyway. And even if we did have space, I don’t know enough about the technology to risk buying a second hand one. Luckily Ebay delivered an excellent alternative, a miniature sewing machine for £25. It arrived yesterday and it’s the cutest thing, just 15cm long and exactly like a big one. You can pick up simpler mini-machines for just £9.99.
The same threading principles apply but these days I’m blessed with a bit more patience and the instructions are nice and clear. I’m looking forward to having a go, having threaded it successfully last night. Now all I need to do is practise getting the tension right. It drove me mad at school but as a grown up I think I’ll be able to crack it.
If you fancy creating your own clothes, you can pick up wonderfully cheap fabric in the shape of offcuts and remnants. You can pick up fab curtain material in charity shops, cheap vintage curtains in antique emporia. You can un-pick old clothes and re-use the fabric, especially good if it’s a posh garment. And buy vintage patterns online or take clothes apart to use as patterns.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever sewn, either by hand or with a machine? Send us your pictures and we’ll publish them here for our readers to enjoy.