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Sunday, 24 January 2016

Why Do I Want to Sew? - an Intermezzo

I'm not really quite such a New Grandma any more, the three granddaughters are growing fast. We've had one second birthday, one first birthday, and another second birthday very soon. But I still love to sew for the girls. I suppose it's pouring a bit of the love out. I used to make tiny clothes for their mothers, too, as my grandmother and mother had made clothes for me; though for them, as well as loving to do so, it was at least in part out of necessity in those days. But my own efforts at baby nightdresses for my daughters soon dwindled out, as I went back to work, and there just wasn't any time, and as teenagers they were less interested in having clothes made anyway, than having someone who might be persuaded to do running repairs on a favourite pair of jeans. Suddenly, they were grown up with children of their own. And my mother long past. Now, I have more time, and the old sewing machine was resuscitated (and a new one purchased) almost as soon as my first daughter was pregnant.

It's been a sad time recently, as we have not long had my mother-in-law's funeral. A wonderful woman much loved by all her five grandchildren, in the UK and far away in Australia. She was 94, and as people say, she had a good innings. But the saddest thing is that for the last few years, she suffered from dementia, and in the end could barely remember who her children and grandchildren were - though she still loved to hold her little great-granddaughters, with the idea that they were in some way connected with her. Fortunately, her grandchildren still have wonderful memories of her as an active women in the prime of her life, who pushed them on their tricycles, cuddled them when they fell over, played silly games, swam on her back so as not to get her hair wet, and baked delicious apple pies.

I'm not much of an apple pie maker, I don't suppose any of my grandchildren will remember me for my superb cooking! (And they certainly won't remark on my swimming accomplishments.) They probably won't remember the baby clothes and wigwams and quilts, either, though they may have photographs - and maybe my blog! So I'll keep sewing my love into garments and accessories for them until my eyes give out, or my fingers are too stiff, or my mind wanders off to where I no longer recognise them. Let's hope those possibilities lie a long way into the future, and I have plenty of time to make lots of things. Heaven knows, I've got a lot of material in my fabric boxes, and a lot of patterns I've yet to make up!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Birthday Outfit - Dress, Jumper and Leggings

It seems we hardly have time to get over Christmas and the New Year holidays, when our birthday season starts again. Our youngest grand-daughter, Baby 'a', will have her birthday in January, then the middle one (Toddler 'I') has her second birthday in February (and it's mine in between, but I won't be saying which one, or making myself anything!).

Baby 'a' will be getting a whole new outfit, of a stretchy fleece jumper and matching leggings, and a pinafore dress to go over. It stays pretty chilly here until at least Easter-time, so I hope she'll get some wear out of it. Each garment was made using a free-on-the-internet PDF pattern, and the appliqué pattern was also one I found free. You can find fuller details below.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Rules for Perfect Baby Quilts

Don’t do as I do, do as I say!

I broke most of the rules in making my latest quilt, but I have ended up with a decent quilt in spite of this, rather than because of my shocking imprudence. Here are the rules for perfect quilt making (and why I don't do this to make a living):

  • Go to quilting classes first.
  • Use a proper quilting sewing machine.
  • If at all possible, use ready cut quilt pieces.
  • If you aren’t going to use ready cut pieces, don’t compromise on the quality of the fabrics. Especially don’t buy very loose-weave fabrics.
  • If you are going to cut your own shapes, use proper tools.
  • If you are left-handed, get proper left-handed scissors with the blades reversed, not just the handles.
  • Don’t lay out your cut pieces on carpet to pin them. You will get creeping pieces.
  • Do check as you pin that your lines are straight and the pieces already attached are perpendicular.
  • Don’t be afraid to unpick and re-sew seams or bits of them.
  • And finally, don’t trip over your pin tin.

I broke at least half of these. Find out more about the rules below.