A Retrospective

I’ve had a weekend to relax after my challenge last week, so I’ve been pretty quiet on here and in the shop.

I got to thinking the other day about how much I have come along in recent months. It took me quite a long time to get into sewing. I remember as a young child doing sewing projects at school, not being too bad when it came to hand sewing. Although the first project when I was about 4 or 5, my teacher had to call my Mum to get her to let me know it was ok to use needles as I had apparently said I shouldn’t use them…

I still have one of my first ever sewing items – somewhere in my loft. A pale pink rectangle, probably just under A4 size with different types of stitching around the edge, a bit like a placemat. I have a feeling someone helped me with it as it just looks too good for a four year old! Then there were the obligatory Christmas decorations – a yellow felt star when I was about 6.

Then when I got to secondary school we did Design and Technology lessons, taking it in turns throughout the year doing woodwork, metalwork, cookery and textiles. I was truly awful at the first two, passable in cookery (I remember one lesson pouring cheesecake out of the tin as I had forgotten to add the cream and then pouring it back in and a rather gross attempt at mushroom pate.) Then textiles, what can I say? I was so far beyond awful there are no words. I think the first thing I made was a drawstring pouch. Navy blue with a red cord. I think I had under-measured and my original idea of it being a pencil case soon faded as all the pencils stuck out the top, so my teacher suggested maybe it could be a glasses case.

Then there was a pot holder, I decided to do a yellow circle with a bears face. My teacher ended up sewing it for me. My Mum still has it in her kitchen, it’s eyes are still only just tacked on with a couple of stitches. I couldn’t even thread the sewing machine properly and I kept asking for help (from one boy in my class in particular but I think that was just me flirting.)

My lovely Auntie used to own a craft shop in Stockport and every now and then she would give me bits and bobs from there to try. She got me interested in doing a bit of embroidery and I did a picture of sunflowers using mainly french knots. My Mum thought it was great and my Auntie framed it for me. I still have it – again somewhere in my loft!

Then some years later my Mum got me interested in cross stitch. I figured I couldn’t go wrong with something that had proper instructions to follow… I made a Charles Rennie Mackintosh style bookmark. Oh my life. I almost went insane with frustration and I think my Mum had to finish it off for me. And then some time later I did a Piglet bookmark – same frustration levels applied and I steered clear of sewing for a while.


Then probably about 6 years ago I bought a few of those sew your own toy kits. A mole, a koala bear and a lamb. The mole ended up looking like it had some serious nose disease. The koala was so wonky. The lamb however was pretty good. I bought another lamb kit to do for my then sister in law who was expecting a baby. My plan was to put a little bell inside for it to be a baby toy. My ex produced a sewing machine – he had amassed a few including an old Singer complete with table. I couldn’t be doing with the hand powered Singer so I gave the electrical beast a go. I started to sew an ear and got about a minute into using it thinking I was doing ok before it went beserk and the foot pedal started smoking and caught on fire. The lamb and the other toy kits I had bought with my high hopes all went away for quite some time. I daren’t even look at a sewing machine again.

Then just over a year ago I unearthed the toy kits and ummed and aahed about them. I dug out my needles and thread and I hand sewed them all. Then I started to think about what else I could sew and my lovely husband bought me some books and I was away!


I borrowed my sister’s sewing machine for a while before my husband got me one for my birthday last year. It’s still a learning curve for me. I am getting my head around thread tension and trying to not just do straight stitch all the time. Plus I bought a free motion foot a while back and have tried it out – was super weird but I really should experiment some more with it.

I probably still prefer hand sewing to machine sewing but maybe when I get a bit more experienced that will change. Perhaps one day I might take some classes to learn how to use a sewing machine properly!


2 thoughts on “A Retrospective

  1. Argh. I hate the sewing machine. A few years ago I decided to make all of our throw pillows for the couch. I could barely sew together one side of the square without the thing jamming up! Now, I sew by hand or not at all…

    Your animals are adorable, by the way. Much better than I could ever do.

    • Thanks Jennifer! Sometimes I really lose it with my machine, I have been known to cry and throw things.
      Sometimes it all works fine and I feel like a proper crafty lady, the rest of the time I eye it suspiciously as I skirt the room to avoid contact with it. Don’t even get me started on jams and the amount of needles I have broken!
      It is reassuring to know that even my super awesome Mum has bad days with her machine!

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