Monday, January 3, 2011

It's the end of that Christmas - New Year week. 2am and I can't sleep. Either that last cup of tea was a bad idea or I have spent most of the past week in such a state of extreme relaxation that I have actually - gasp - caught up on all the sleep I need.

Let's talk sewing then, shall we?

After the rush to sew Christmas presents for all and sundry, I had a strong need to sew something selfish. (Oh Elaine, where have you gone?) Actually I chose selfish and practical. Presenting my pincushion caddy, from Anna Maria Horner's lovely book Seams to Me.

I actually take pins out of my fabric as I'm sewing now and put them directly in here, rather than in a precarious scattery pile on the table next to me. Yay.

I did have a couple of construction issues and at one point pulled it almost completely apart again to add more interfacing and sort out some wonky seams. "Only a pincushion" went through my mind a bit but so did "staring at this lump every time I sew for the next umpteen years". I could have used some rather more seriously sturdy interfacing for that inner tube. I got the strongest available at my fabric shop and in the end used two layers. However, they'd said a lot of their stock had been ruined by a roof leak in recent rains, so I am supposing now that stronger, non-leaked-on stuff exists.

Post-Christmas I was hit by a strange virus that had me nauseous and mostly sleeping for two days. Thank heavens for a husband on holidays so this was actually possible. I mention it only because bizarrely, I felt nauseated by looking at sewing patterns, blogs etc... like it was some rich indulgence that my body was unable to handle. Especially bright colours! Has anyone else ever experienced that?

I was snapped out of sewing aversion by the need to make a new nightie. My present one ripped at the back of the arm due to old age. (The nightie, not my arms, although....)

I had a length of Anna Maria Horner voile (yeah, I'm a big A.M.H. fan) that I bought as a remnant (such a great excuse for buying fabric), that fit the bill. I used her popular and beautifully simple 'museum tunic' pattern/instructions.

I was a trifle worried during construction that I was making, as my husband commented, a muu-muu. However, committed, I ploughed ahead. A few extra rows of shirring and making the armholes a little smaller and the vision all came together.

Experimenting with photo locations, although still only on my unimpressive phone camera.

Detail showing shirring and front V-bit reinforcement.

I was a bit worried about the resilience of the front and back v-neck joins, since they're just a seam that separates for a bit to make a neckhole. I played around with various scraps of lace as reinforcements and settled on a couple of tiny pieces of - oh what's it called? the cottony stuff with embroidered holes? - sewn in on the inside, peeking out just a little and making that v-part much stronger. Well, it's survived a couple of nights of wear so far, anyway.

Trouble is now, with myself and Andy in our nice new handmade sleepwear, our bed linen seems a bit sad and manky. Okay maybe not manky (I do wash) but the fanciest we have came from Ikea probably two years ago.

So, am I now about to look into making my own bed linen? Or will that be a depressing exercise in realising how much fabric it will really require and the limited options out there for sheeting widths? Hmm... to be continued, I think.

The other constructive thing I've done in the past few days is sanding and re-oiling of most of our outdoor timber. It's quite a pleasant job actually because the oil smells lovely and the timber really 'appreciates' the love, if you know what I mean.

This is one of a set of doors that came from an old newspaper office. I think they're oak, and now the old lacquer has all peeled off, with a sand and some oil they're coming up beautifully.

And this is some of the western red cedar of our window and door frames. I love how the grain comes out.

Well, that ended up a long post. I really need to dig out our good camera and work on my photos if I'm going to make this much worth looking at. Anyhow, thanks for reading if you've come this far! Bye for now.


  1. Hi Jane! There's nothing like commenting on Peter's blog to boost your traffic. :) I love, love, love your charming blog title, and so far the blog itself lives up to it!

  2. Thanks KC! I just read your post about sewing blog titles, nice analysis. Sewing books tend to follow the same 'sew/seams' pun trend. I wish you happy sewing on your beautiful 'new' old machine. I should get around to doing a post about my machines sometime soon.

  3. On occasion I dream of making my own bed linen (especially out of linen!), but I suspect it would end up with seams in annoying places due to lack of reasonable width. And since I can usually find nice sheets for not too unreasonable prices, I think its going to remain a dream for now.

    Would love to see how you go if you try it out though!

  4. Okay Sarah, thanks - I think I'm going to have to start looking into bed linen fabric sources.... Google here I come


Hey, I would really love to know what you think. Go on!

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