Today I made a skirt

Yes I know amazing isn’t it!

I used to do loads of dressmaking about 25 years ago and I want to start making clothes again but I need to find my confidence.  Back in the day I was a standard skinny 10 so dressmaking was easy now I am not so skinny and certainly not standard or a size 10 so more challenging.  However, the advantage of making your own clothes is that you should be able to get a good fit but then again to do that you need to have an idea of what you are doing and I have forgotten more about dressmaking than I can remember.  Anyway, having made a simple top a couple of months ago and some dolls clothes I decided that I was brave enough to make a summer skirt for my holiday.

The observant amongst you will be thinking hang on didn’t she go away the other week and you would be correct.  I bought the material and pattern in plenty of time but then I wasted many hours worrying about getting the pattern to fit properly.  I attempted to measure myself and the pattern indicated I was between a medium and extra large.  This made not sense as even I know I’m not that large but it also sent me into a flat spin about how to get the skirt to fit especially as I had bought reasonably expensive fabric.  In the end I cut out the medium pieces from an old sheet and tacked it together and decided that it fitted fine and I really needed a lesson in how to measure myself properly.   By this time there was no time left before we went on holiday to make the skirt and it has taken until now for me to get my courage back.

Anyway, today was forecast to be a wet day so I decided before I went to bed that today would be a sewing day and I would try to get the skirt made.  The pattern itself was fairly simple – Kwik Sew 3951. The material I bought from Gone to Earth and they are both Joel Dewberry designs.

Once I had cut the pattern out the skirt sewed up really quickly.  It is a simple wrap skirt with two buttons securing it at the top.  The hardest part was trying to remember how to do buttonholes on my sewing machine – it took about 6 attempts before I had managed to succeed with a practice one.

I am quite pleased with it, though I wonder if I should have  lengthened it but we shall see.  I think it will look quite nice with a black or navy top and navy sandles.  Hopefully the weather will now improve and we will have an Indian summer so I can brave wearing my creation to work!

A Wet Easter

Whilst I have been looking forward to a long weekend in order to potter in the garden and tackle the allotment (note the difference in the choice of verbs!) I have to admit I am relieved we have had so much rain this weekend.

Unlike my gardening friends in the South and South East we are not currently facing a hose pipe ban but needless to say the dryness has begun to tell and the water butts were worryingly empty.  All the talk at the allotment has been about whether the council will turn the water off and what we will do if this happens.  I for one think if the council do turn the water off due to the excessive costs now the site is fully occupied it will  be because of people wasting water through needless over watering  but I will save that rant for another day.

Saturday was a very wet day here in Malvern, although no rain was forecast!! Virtually all day we had that fine drizzle that seems to eat into you without you really realising – I think this is what the Scots call ‘smirr’ well according to Ian Rankin in Black & Blue it is.  It was one of those days that resulted in me pacing around not achieving anything and then getting cross.  I started well with the weekly shop and I painted two doors but then I had the afternoon to fill and I am terrible at doing nothing.  So I sewed.  By the time my youngest came home from work I was desperate for some fresh air so we went for a quick walk up the Malvern Hills.  It had to be quick as the sun was setting and we hadn’t taken a torch!!  (see top picture)

Sunday was a better day.  The sun was shining and I started with a couple of hours at the allotment.  I forgot to say that I had spent a couple of hours there on Friday as well.  Anyway, the allotment is really coming on.  It is beginning to look neat and tidy and there are crops appearing.  I sowed carrots, parsnip, salsify, rocket and some lettuce.  The pakchoi and spinach sown last week has started to germinate.  The peas and broad beans are looking sturdy and all the potatoes are in.  I cleared another bed of last year’s debris, top dressed with some of the free green waste and planted another gooseberry bush.  I have been planting fruit bushes along one side of the plot to make a loose wind break.  Before I left I harvested my very first crop of rhubarb from the site.  I have waited a year to harvest this, letting the plants establish themselves but this weekend I brought home a huge bunch which I made into a crumble.  I also harvested the last of the parsnips and another bunch of purple sprouting broccoli – wonderful.

The weather stayed fine in the afternoon allowing me to plant out lots of recent acquisitions.  With all the rain we have forecast for the coming week I wanted to get them in so they got a good start.  In went two epimediums, a primula, a hydrangea, a peony, some nepeta and lots of digitalis ferruginea which I have grown from seed.

My handiwork is supervised these days by the cat, Maisie, who I consider to be the under- gardener but as you can tell from her expression considers herself the supervisor.  She loves it when we are in the garden, stalking us and becoming quite a distraction.  Sadly I am coming to the conclusion that I may have to give up on having good displays of grasses as she seems to be eating them all but never mind.

Monday and the rain was back – more smirr.  Plans for a visit to the local flea market were curtailed so we ended up going to a DIY superstore.  Not an original idea but we did get some handles we have been meaning to get for months so not a complete waste of a morning and we did have a laugh.  I do miss going out with my sons now they are adults with busy lives so I relish any outing however mundane.  More rain in the afternoon although the greenhouse proved a useful refuge for a while until I ran out of space.  I am going to buy one of those plastic cold frame/grow houses tomorrow.  So I retreated and continued sewing.  I have now finished the second phase of the sewing project – only the bloomers and bonnet to go.  In case you are wondering these aren’t for me but are a replacement set of clothes for a soft toy belonging to my mother which I made her originally some 20 years ago.  It’s the first sewing I have done in years but I am loving it and am all fired up to start dressmaking again.

A wet Easter weekend maybe but a quietly satisfying one.