Wednesday with words

I’m rarely here at the moment for a variety of reasons, which I won’t bore you with. Most are positive, including my efforts to regain my lost sewing skills. As a small child I loved to find scraps of fabric that felt nice, had a pretty pattern or bright colours. I’d make clothes for my trolls and Sindy as neatly as I could. At school, in third year, my form mistress was Miss Jones, a dragon of a woman who rarely seemed to smile. I knew she liked me though, because I was the best reader. She also taught us how to sew a running stitch on gingham fabric, so we could keep straight lines, and to embroider little daisies.

One day she arrived with something ready cut for us, various colours in the shape of a teddy bear which she handed out, until she reached me. ‘I think you can manage something different Gillian, you can be the first to sew a donkey, with four legs’ Imagine how thrilled I was!

The material was the gingham again, but red and I remember it taking some time. Donkey also had a mane made of black wool that I think I must have had some help with.

At ten I made my first dress, with a Simplicity pattern, and pretty white cotton sprinkled with little blue flowers. Once in grammar school I flew, quickly learning how to achieve a really good finish, making dresses and skirts on the electric machines of the day.

Through my late teens and early twenties, life interrupted my sewing, but I did go back to knitting when a shop opened up close to the civic centre where I worked, that sold beautiful French yarn made by Phildar. Pregnancy and children as a stay at home mum gave me time to create again and I made some quite complex garments for myself, until dressmaking became less popular in the late 80’s and fabric shops virtually disappeared.

It was always the material that drew me to a garment and I’ve never lost my passion for it. I don’t know when things began to change, but my daughter became a work at home mum nearly five years ago and her stash of fabric for CSP’s was really tempting, so I made a top, my first garment for a very long time. It didn’t fit and that put me off for a while.The popularity of the Great British Sewing Bee, which I’ve only watched a few times has made dressmaking trendy again and shops are springing up. I got my sewing machine out, got frustrated with it’s limited features, and stewed for a few weeks about justifying spending lots of  money.  Would it be a fad that gathers dust?

Then one Saturday in May, a few days before my birthday, I walked to the sewing machine shop. I walked on purpose so that I couldn’t impulse buy. A week later I’d done my research on line, knew what I needed and had narrowed it down to 3 or 4 models. I drove home with a shiny new Brother.

Then my problems began. The machine was beyond my pea brain. So much has changed in the 35 years since I bought my old Toyota. There were happy hours choosing material, but then tears when things went wrong, like the needle that was supposed to thread itself. But stitch by stitch I’m getting my skills back and finding my way around the beast. So far I’ve made a tote bag, a top I like but the material isn’t very good quality, a gorgeous top that’s a size too big, but looks good on my friend and had my first go at stretchy jersey with a wearable result as long as you don’t look too closely.

Each item has mistakes, but most people wouldn’t pick them up. today I’ve finished these trousies, they fit, the fabric’s lovely and works with the pattern and I love them, hooray!

There’s still a mistake though 😉

Sorry for the ramble, this is my sewing journey so far 🙂


A little Sunday poem

A Blackbird fell

Have you ever wondered
what happens to the birds?
sparrows entertain us town folk
rewarding us for gardens treats
the seeds and nuts we deem delicious
dangling from pretend trees

a thrush will mine a snail
from its private caravan
but no bird seems to eat a slug
or prehistoric chuggy pig

daring robins flits beside us
hoping we’ll expose a worm or two
as we dig weeds and turn our soil
they love to splash en masse
in a plant pot saucer spa

but what happens at the end of the day?
perhaps our trees are secret cemeteries
with little niches full of tiny corpses in decay
have you ever wondered what happens to the birds
a blackbird fell at my feet today.

A small blue boy

The Blue Boy statue in Exeter has been around a long time. The original from 1733, was carved from stone by John Weston and place by the wall of a school to show that it was a Bluecoat, or charity  school.

When I was a child this cast iron version from 1850 stood in the old post war Princesshay, just off the High Street and I loved going to see it. With re-development of Princesshay in 2007, the Blueboy was given a shiny coat of paint and pride of place, he is a striking figure.

This is my first entry for July Blues, Becky B’s month of squares, pop over and see what she’s up to.


Serenity, peacefulness, tranquility, what a lovely way to be. But so many of us live our lives in a very different state and that includes me recently.

Luckily through my workplace I have been able to take a mindfulness course for the last few weeks and I leave each session totally relaxed.

How are YOU feeling today, why not take some time out for yourself?

Serenity is Tina’s Lens Artist Challenge theme this week and I felt totally serene in the meadow on Sunday.