Saturday, 10 September 2011

My life in stitches

In honour of being awarded a "Versatile Blogger" award by my blogging friend (hope you don't mind my calling you that) and talented craftswoman Urban Rustic , I thought for my seven facts about me I would list seven of my most prominent crafty sewing life stages.
1. Age 5, sewing a pair of white cotton, lace trimmed pants for my "Michelle" baby doll.  Michelle came with a pair of red legging type tights and a white angel top.  My best friend Caroline had her own Michelle and we stitched away together.  I admired Caroline greatly.  A precociously artistic age 5, she could already draw a straight line without a ruler!

2. From the ages of 5 to 10, I really was the quintessential Blue Peter child, and I cut, glued, stitched and stuck my way through the second half of the 60s.  I loved the Jean Greenhowe toy designs in Woman's Weekly magazine and made the peddlar doll out of a clothes peg (still making peg dolls today - see my peg fairy above!), various rag dolls and one memorable Christmas, several families of hamsters which quickly took over the house.
3. Aged 11, we were let loose on electric sewing machines in our "Dress" class with the fearsome Home Economics teacher who referred to us as "my gels".  I made a cord pinafore, a skirt, a blouse and by the age of 16 was making a lot of my own clothes.  Sadly, in those pre-mobile phone & digital camera days, I really don't have any photos of me wearing them. 
4. By the age of 20, when not decked out in Laura Ashley or Marion Donaldson, I was wearing my own design gypsy type skirts along with vintage fair isle cardis, checked shirts & granny coats & jackets I had bought at jumble sales.  I was studying in France & one fellow student, trying to insult me, told me that I was dressed in the way that French women dressed 40 years ago.  I was delighted!
 5. Fast forward to 1985, I sewed Clothkits suits & jackets to wear to work in the City.  I had made numerous curtains and some enormous ruched Austrian blinds for windows in my first flat in North London.  1988 saw me stitching two little bridesmaids' dresses in pink satin & embroidered organza using patterns from the Ann Ladbury bride's sewing book.  Sadly the dresses probably lasted longer than the marriage.
6. In the 90s I was tremendously in awe of my adorable French neighbour, Yann, who made ballgowns, wedding dresses, costumes - I was even allowed to help with stitching on a few sequins when the going got tough.  He even stitched amazing velvet chokers decorated with tiny diamonds for an antiques dealer friend of his.  My own stitching pulse was a bit weak during those years.
7. Finally, late noughties, I started stitching again.  Happy in the deep English countryside with my darling Mark and my dear little dog.  Tentatively at first, with items such as my deco daisy corsages.  Gradually some more projects, like my jewellery .  Then I found Sew Retro and my stitching story began over.  Thank you fellow stitchers for inspiring me anew. x
Hope I haven't bored you with my stitching story!  I will award my five blogging awards in a separate blog as I need to consider my main influences (has been a mega busy week as I was at the Autumn Fair in Birmingham - wow!)


  1. It was interesting to read this and your life of sewing and crafting seems to mirror mine almost exactly from peg dolls to home economics teachers to Austrian blinds!!!
    If you look on the BBC website and search Ann Ladbury there are a whole series of programmes and clips in the archive of Ann Ladbury sewing which are really interesting still to watch.Or at least I think so.
    Thank you also for considering me your bloggy chum!!

  2. I enjoyed reading your history!


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