If anyone were to ask me to recall one of the most vivid memories of growing up, and where the creative energy flowed from in my family, I’d look up into the air and as if it were yesterday, paint the picture of me standing in front of my mother’s industrial sewing machine – trousers off, legs hip-width apart and arms hovering away from my waist as she pinned me into what was going to be my new school pinafore, pleated skirt, and whatever else she decided to pin me into. “Stand still,” “Turn around,” when I stepped into the sewing zone I became nothing but a little mannequin and here it was purely business. No time for fidgeting, moaning or groaning unless you wanted one of those awkwardly placed pins to prick you somewhere unpleasant.
The reverberating hum when her soles manoeuvred the foot-pedal would lullaby me to sleep if my mum was still up late working on a garment. Mingled into the droning would be the odd slam of her machine draw as she fiddled for another pair of scissors or that random piece of denim that she still uses to test the tension of the stitch. There’s not a patch left on the thing but what can I say? My mum was a fabulous dressmaker, she has wardrobes full of outfits that she crafted so while the sewing machine hasn’t left its cherished sun-lit spot in our front room, as tribute to my dear mum, it’s only right that I’m able to do more than run a stitch down two seams.
Cue our mother-daughter trip to the fabric shop a few weeks ago and my return this afternoon to pick up, what I learnt at the till was, viscose. The print instantly caught my eye as I perused up and down the eclectic walls, apparently it looks Tibetan but having only left the UK to holiday in the West Indies, I have no idea about that cultural reference to Asia, I’m afraid. The project is a simple high-waist swing skirt, mini of course, and a tunic top with slight curve at the side seam – that was also added by the same designer friend who made the Tibet comment – so what do we think? Bare in mind I only bought two metres of this, are there other styles that will do it more justice? Any sewing tips for an enthusiastic beginner? We love the print, yes? No?