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!

8 Comments Add yours

  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. Yvonne Ryan says:

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

  3. hb says:

    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. ks says:

    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. Helen Johnstone says:

      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. annincumbria says:

    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. Helen Johnstone says:

      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!

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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