A small sewing project




It is cold and foggy today, not a day for gardening at all which is good as I need to rest my arm having strained some previously injured tendons a couple of weeks back when I was planted the sorbus in the front garden. I have had two weeks of pain, lots of painkillers, heat pads, and even ultra sound treatment and things are slowly healing. However, resting doesn’t mean just sitting as if I sit too long in an upright position my arm hurts – I need to keep it moving but not do any heavy lifting or daft manoeuvres as I would when I garden. Even embroidering in the evening causes pain at the moment which isn’t frustrating as I’m not very good at doing nothing.

Today I found myself with time on my hands. I thought about reading, more, but I was too restless for that. I needed to do something creative, something that would exercise my mind and to have something to show for my efforts. So I decided to tackle a job I have said I will do for a least a year and make a cover for  my ancient Elna sewing machine. I had thought about doing some sort of scrappy patchwork but when I found those two pieces of material in my fabric scraps I knew I wanted to do something simple.

Since last summer I have been slowly converting the spare room into a sewing room. It has been painted white and I have made some multi-coloured spotty curtains so the spotty fabric for the cover will fit in well. I want the room to be colourful and bold as opposed to having a sophisticated subtle colour palette.

Anyway, having done some measuring I cut a template out of some leftover wallpaper, cut out the material and in the matter of an hour had stitched it all together. I went for a very simple approach – two sides and one long strip over the top. The only tricky bit was stitching the corners but they worked out well.

I am pleased with the result but I am more pleased that I have just got on and tackled a project without a pattern or any instructions and making it up as I went along. One of my aspirations for this year is to gain some confidence in making my own clothes. I used to be confident about this in my late teens but for a whole host of reasons I worry about fitting the garments, whether the finished garment will suit me, and whether I will feel confident wearing it so I end up talking myself out of things. I love clothes and like having items that are just a little bit different so I need to get a grip and tackle this in the meantime at least my sewing machine will be tidy!

Author: Helen Johnstone

I live in Malvern, Worcestershire and am a very keen gardener. I started the Patient Gardener Blog in January 2008 as a way of recording what was happening in my garden and connecting with other like-minded people. I started a second blog PatientGardener 365 January 2013 in order to try and post a photo a day to capture what is growing in my garden or places I have visited

8 thoughts on “A small sewing project”

  1. I sympathise with the problem of finding occupation – I have a troublesome shoulder at present, and anything I want to do has to be done in short bursts!

    Even if the cover is a very simple piece, it has turned out neatly and well. You have to (re)start somewhere!

  2. I like your description of ‘you’ bold and colourful rather than subtle and sophisticated! That describes me also!!

  3. The combination of the two fabrics is fun! They are so different, yet they work.

    Best wishes–I hope your arm feels better soon.

  4. Helen , you may be the only other person I have ever encountered who actually owns an ancient Elna. I wonder whose is more ancient ? It weighs a ton, it’s green and it packs away into a metal case (also weighing a ton) . I have not used it for years as I no longer have the patience for sewing. I can’t imagine getting rid of it though-machines are not made like that any longer.

    1. Hi KS
      I think yours is probably more ancient than mine as mine isn’t heavy and doesn’t have a metal case. When I say ancient I am talking of about 30 years old

  5. Hi Helen I’m loving reading about your sewing and embroidery projects I have a singer that I think will be over forty years old but don’t use it much now. I slipped in the snow last week and broke my right wrist so not doing much of anything it’s very frustrating

    1. Hi Annie
      Am sorry about your broken wrist, how annoying.
      I was surprised yesterday to discover that my sewing machine is actually capable of free motion embroidery, I thought it was too old but I found the manual and it appears not so am excited that I can try something new

  6. I love the machine cover! There’s lots of online support (and inspiration) for dressmaking, I’d say dive right in and get started – someone somewhere will have the answer to any problems you happen across along the way!

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