There I was innocently watching ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ last year with my daughter Eloise, when she gave a big sigh and said: “I wish Tamara was my mummy and that man was my daddy, then I would have lots of lovely clothes to wear.”
The sound of the gauntlet crashing down was still ringing in my ears as I was madly googling ‘sewing classes near Bishop’s Stortford’ the next day.
Now I think it is only fair to say at this moment that up until that point, my sewing skills only extended as far as sewing on a stray button or a brownie badge, possibly taking up a hem, although I had even discovered wunderweb to avoid the horrors of that particular sewing task.
My mum often reminds me of my first sewing project as a child, when after hurtling down the driveway with my brothers on the back of our 6 wheeler scrambler toy, I tore my pleated woollen skirt – and after much shouting from my mother, I flew upstairs in a rage – determined to prove this was no biggie and fix it myself. Well… the results were not very impressive and my relationship with sewing took a rather sour turn after that.
Aside from making a fried egg bean bag at school, I was never taught to use a sewing machine, and they terrified me. I didn’t understand them, how on earth can a single needle going up and down possibly produce a row of neat stitches. And from what I had seen, you spend the far more of your time untangling and unpicking than you do sewing.
So sewing and I had parted company at an early age.
Until now, until my own flesh and blood decided that no matter how many things I did for her, it was a mother that could SEW that was what she wanted. And me, being of quite stubborn stock, thought well fine… in that case… I shall learn to sew.
How hard can it be?
Lucky for me, I stumbled upon Rebecca Woollard’s wonderful sewing school: and it wasn’t very far away and I could do a one day course on dress-making on my day off.
Arriving at her shop on that Friday morning with my daughter’s £39 John Lewis sewing machine I was surprised to find the whole experience a wonderful retreat of peace and calm and creativity. I made a blouse. Me… a whole blouse! With princess lines and buttonholes and set in sleeves… oh brave new world…
Since then, I have made 4 summer dresses for my daughter, I have altered and added borders to curtains, made an applique pirate curtain for my son’s mid-sleeper bed. A picture of a tree and some greetings cards.
Sewing – I love you! All is forgiven. Now, armed with my new best friend – a Janome electronic sewing machine, I am venturing out into the unknown… oh happy days…