DIY for idiots...Sewing part 1

Now, lets get one thing straight. I do not presume readers to think that anyone of you are idiots. There are only two idiots in this rambling and as once quoted by my best friends, mother Julia at our hand fasting "it's like the blind, leading the blind".
The climate over No 21 the past couple of months has been anything but clement. With what feels like months of rainfall only breaking to allow a good 8 inches of snowfall on our patch where we hope to make our fortune, or at least feed ourselves, everyday has started with a hopeful "Well, it might clear up later, so what shall we do today?" For me this has given the perfect opportunity to fiddle with the keyboard and hope I can add, through the means of story-telling, a branch to the money tree. For Tasha it gleefully excuses more cleaning. Excessive cleaning being one of the myriad of aliments (some who know my tendencies towards domestic sluttiness may call it a blessing) bought on by a mental breakdown.
My own obsessive nature leans more towards sinking myself into whatever new project is at hand until I have exhausted myself and by default  disregarding the needs of my nearest and dearest. So after a stern talking to and a promise to curtail my keyboard warrioring for the weekend and agreeing to allotted, timetabled slices of specified "internet work" periods, I hunted about with renewed vigour for more practical and couple calming tasks to work on over the weekend.
Tasha is the most generous of partners and my stash of Christmas presents were both entertaining, practical and well thought out. My favourite was a beautiful hard backed A4 Ideas book. Being a perpetual writer of lists, within the past weeks since the festive celebrations I have already managed to fill the opening pages with room by room tasks, budget calculations for each room, storyboarding for future vlogs, garden design plans, month by month seed sowing list, ideas for products from said grown-up seeds, crafty makes to tout on the open market and the beginnings of a branding concept. But it is all well and good having the lists and doing the planning, it is the implementation and action that really matters.
With this in mind I pulled out Christmas present no2. A mini, pink, retro inspired sewing machine.
Sewing machines and I have had a difficult past relationship. The relationships, like many in my past, have started out with optimism, hope, faithfulness, promises to spend time and attention on them, to work at honing the craft only to terminate with frustration, anger, resentment and ego deflating humiliation. But this time it will be different. For a start it is shiny and new...no other gal has had her sticky fingers on it, ruining the tension, damaging the bobbin or bending the needles. My first walk out with my new girl, now named Shirley (after foresaid Valentine, as I love her) was a very simple curtain to hide the messy area which houses the freezer, storage bins and where the dogs sleep. Because of course the dogs can not be expected to look upon such unorganised chaos while they take their repose.
For those of you out there whom, like me, may rush into the big projects before laying the foundations I welcome you to The Basic's. They may not be, to a skilled seamstress either challenging or correct, but they will hopefully deliver the end results with a passable sigh of satisfaction.
Please welcome Shirley and I hope you will see more of her as time moves on. Note instruction manual, unopened and cast aside with contempt but artfully included in the image to give the impression that it has been thoroughly studied before launching myself into a creative odyssey.


I gleamed from the remnants of my textile stash the perfect size and a passable design and colour of Laura Ashley heavy linen print. That has just reminded me of a conversation I was having with a friend recently on textile stashes. I used to have a little shop called Textile Therapy, I opened it when I discovered through buying vintage clothing from a local clothes bank, the masses of usable textiles that got thrown away. So I started having fun forays into a warehouse filled with oddments and offcuts, curtains, throws and blankets and buying by the kilo, all the time wondering where these remnants had come from. I soon discovered through this little shop a new species of (mainly) women, who embarked upon the very serious and dedicated employ of textile hunter gathering. Their posture is more bent over than your average woman, elbows are at an angle 90 degrees to the waist and are used as instruments of defence against any other woman who maybe encroaching upon her find, her forearms are quite definitely more muscular than her less domesticated counterpart, possibly from the continuous hefting of bolts of fabric to enable burrowing underneath  just incase there is a better one hidden from view. She has narrowed, darting eyes and a mind that is quick to determine what the yard of cast away cloth can be assimilated into. Strangely, when questioned upon their makes and asked for evidence it is quickly determined that in fact, rather than a sub-species of  homosapiens they are unfortunately inflicted by, till now, an uncategorised mental affliction. And I would like to be the claimant of the badge of discoverer.
The affliction of Material Hoarding is similar to other hoarders where one holds onto items that may, possibly, when organised be of use to the hoardee. The difference is quite striking, as where our common hoarder will live amongst their hoard which will build into a mass of unhygienic, possibly critter infested mess, impeding their ability to traverse about their home safely, the Material Hoarder is adept at keeping their ailment ordered, in nice folded, sometimes categorised stashes but most importantly completely hidden and secret from their clan. Walk into the home of a Material Hoarder and you will never know what jewels of fabric beauty are hidden behind cupboard doors, under beds and in wardrobes wrapped in those plastic bags which you suck the air out of with a hoover. Whist discussing this phenomena that I uncovered with my friend, I was disappointed to discover that I shared this revolutionary find with her, and she had her own categorisation.  MUTUDLE Material Unlikely To Use During Life Expectancy! No Nobel prize for me then but if you are aware of someone suffering do seek professional help before all is lost and free the hoard.

Back to the sewing step by step I think. Please note as this was an unplanned make I did realise I didn't own any pins, so for the more organised, pinning prior to sewing is advisable.

1. Measure width and drop of curtain needed. As I wanted a bit of a ruched look, I used 1 and a half width and as the drop of the material was just about 10" too long and I also don't own any textile scissors and the thought of using my hairdressing scissors and ruining them was far too daunting, I counted my lucky stars and just decided to have a deep hem. Iron flat side hems.

2. Sew side hems. I used a zigzag. Frankly, because I just decided to go for it and having not read the instructions didn't realise I had to adjust the program to get a straight line. But we will pretend that, that is exactly what I wanted to achieve.
3. As I am using wire to hold the curtain up I want a little pocket at the top about an inch depth. So fold once than over again. Before I sewed I chopped off the corners so they would lie flat. Then I sewed using the now discovered straight stitch.




4. The extra deep hem I now justified would give a bit of weight to the curtain, so that was pressed and sewn. Again cutting off the corners so it would lie flat. And that, all within 15 mins was all I needed to do
5. Cut the plastic coated wire at least 8 " shorter than the area to attach it too as this will give tension and prevent the curtain from sagging. Especially now that I had extra weight from the extra deep hem. Screw in the eye screws at either end.
6. Thread the wire through the pocket and attach. Hey presto...I did it, I'm still in love with Shirley and now ready to tackle Roman Blinds!












Comments