A bad day for stitchery...

Today has been something of a sewing disaster...my Mama had bought swathes of black linen so that I might make a skirt for her...but we both quickly came to realise that a skirt is not like a smock or even a wrap dress....a skirt has to fit perfectly to be acceptable day wear, and a mermaid skirt that fits snugly on the hips, cinches in and then kicks out from the knee is by definition a precision-fitted garment. Blogsters, it went wrong. I had used one of my mother's existing skirts as a template, and even though, when placed one on top of the other, the cut appears identical, once on, my skirt had the effect of making my dear mother look a very strange shape indeed (which is not her way at all, for she is quite lovely!). On discovering that I had temporarily turned my mother into an upside-down pear, I also realised that I had only 15 minutes in which to get to the post office to pick up a parcel before it closed and raced out of the house in something of a fluster, nearly crashing the car no less than three times on my way there (lesson learnt: never drive immediately after a stitchery disappointment...it causes one to make poor judgements). However, on my return I raced up the stairs to find that my sweet mother had tidied up the fabric, pins and lint that only half an hour earlier had been littering much of the floor and there was instead only the happy smell of just-hoovered carpet (a smell of warm cleanness...or is the warm smell just our overheating vacuum cleaner, the result of Mr Teacakes throwing a vital part away when emptying the bag one day?).

I think we were both a little disappointed by the skirt debacle, but if one must draw positives (and yes, one must) then I should tell you how very satisfying inserting a concealed zip can be when you have one of these special feet above....its design means you simply cannot do a bad job...your stitches stay in a perfectly straight line and are as close to the actual zip as is humanly possible, while preventing you from ever going so close as to get your stitches stuck in the teeth. So much fun.

Looking for other positives (for the day was bad in other ways too...poor Dinosaur-boy had to be wrenched from me, and his fingers unpeeled from my clothing when I dropped him off at nursery...his trial afternoon at school seems to have induced a severe case of separation anxiety), then seeing my jeans lying on the bed this evening next to this Missoni foulard scarf would be one of them. This was bought for me several years ago, pre-children and packed away with so many of the clothes that I boxed up the summer that we moved house when I was pregnant with Zebra-girl. It was only last year that I re-found this forgotten piece of loveliness and I have since been utterly delighted by it, for it isn't something that I can imagine choosing now, but there is a youthfulness that I find in the wearing of its lovely strands that reminds me of our old life in London.

But this weekend has not felt so dissimilar from that life, for Mr Teacakes and I went to a wedding, had old friends sleeping on our sofas, read the Sunday papers in bed, enjoyed a long lunch at our favourite restaurant and slept away the afternoon, as the little Teacakes visited their grandparents, rode on the beautiful Christmas (pictured below, a gift that my father bought for my mother a couple of years ago) and visited the seaside on a shell-collecting mission. They returned home tired and happy and full of stories of what they had been up to...but then nearer bedtime full of tears for a weekend that had passed too quickly.

So today after the upset of dropping two crying children off at their respective educational pods, ruining a skirt, and being unsettled by my own bad driving, I am also finding these matryoshka tins (there is also a blue and a red one) to be quite the most perfect thing to gaze upon in order to bolster flagging spirits. Isn't she gorgeous?

Oh, and the rose at the top of this post - I am quite in love with it. I took a picture of it when we were out walking near my parent's house last week - and now it is for Mama....with much sorriness about the skirt and with appreciation (in equal measure) for her laughing with me about it. x


  1. I'm so sorry about the bad sewing day, especially when you have a lovely 'visions of sugarplums dancing in your head' idea of what the skirt will turn out to be. Can you salvage it? Reuse it? Turn it into something else?

  2. sorry you had such a bad sewing day, I hope it doesn't put you off for too long..
    and I hope the little ones settle down too, crying children is not easy, it makes us feel guilty for something that isn't even our fault - motherhood.......
    love that rose it is just gorgeous.

  3. I know that horrable feeling of the bad sewing day, the rose is perfect, so beautiful.

  4. I know just how you feel about your sewing disappointment. I have learnt that the best way to learn is by our mistakes - at least you now know not what to do!

    Your little tin is adorable.

  5. I haven't tried making clothes for some time because nothing seems to fit properly. Never mind - your next one will be perfect. Where did you get that gorgeous tin??

  6. I'm in awe that you even attempted something that sounds as intricate as that skirt. I've just learned to patchwork (3 quilts so far!) so a skirt like that is many years into the future for me, I think.

  7. Oh dear. That sounds like a terrific shame, but yes you must be positive. This (and by this I mean a tailored skirt) may be one thing that just does need a pattern in order to look like it's meant to look. Maybe the trick is to start with a different kind of skirt if you are determined to be patternless (and I think you are)... Can you salvage the linen?

    Oh and it's not you it's the car. It's always the car. (I haven't driven a lot lately. My car is covered in cobwebs. Literally. I noticed today and felt so ashamed.)

    I love that foot. How freaking clever is that?!

  8. I've not made clothes since I was at school when a vile six gored wool skirt put me off for life!! So well done for trying, it'll work out better next time.

  9. Oh dear the amount of terrible fabric disasters in my past- i am having flashbacks now- this can't be worse than making a silk nightdress for a friend's wedding night that ripped as she put it on! Sound like a lovely sunday afternoon to me- the rest of the week will be delightful i promise!

  10. It is just a phase due to Planetary Alignment or some such similar thing. I am sure that Teacake Palace will be restored to cosmic harmony very soon.

  11. Oh god what a nightmare for you.
    Poor little ones pulling at your heart strings, bad sewing and driving all in one day.
    Things can only get better. Your get there with the skirt making I'm sure and Dinosaur boy will settle down soon.
    Thanks for your lovely comments over my own worries fro Molly's first time at playgroup. I'm looking hard for the right now.
    Many hugs.
    Catherine x

  12. Sorry you've been having a bad day. Parting tears from little people are so hard! I remember a similar incident with my little girl at her playgroup and I could feel my own eyes pricking with tears at seeing her so upset. It's not easy!

    Bad sewing days are awful too! I have sometimes thrown things across the room when they go horribly wrong.

    Lovely rose though, and scarf and tin - keep thinking about those instead!

  13. first of all, your writing is beautiful, even if it was in reference to bad day, secondly, i identify with you on the skirts issue. I try to stick to simple a-line skirts, where it really only has to fit perfectly around the waist, very simple. your blog is amazing, inspiring, thanks!

  14. (i am very behind on the flossie teacakes news!)

    so sorry for the stichery-nightmare. i can identify oh so well with the experience. how i wish i could magically have the all-knowing pattern-cutter's eye when it comes to things like this! when all seems to be going swimmingly i think some pesky sprite comes to jinx the project. thank goodness for fairy godmother mums who make things seem so much better...yours sounds like a special one! xx

  15. Now that's the foot I needed when sewing my skirt! I fell in love with some Amy Butler fabric which I ordered from America and made an A-line skirt for myself. I haven't attempted to make any clothes since my school days, not including the kids dressing up clothes that is. I love the skirt, except the zip - I didn't have one of those foots and my invisible zip is not quite so invisible. Fortunately I made the skirt a little on the large side, so one of these days I may get around to buying the correct foot and refit the zip in the excess fabric. Thanks for the tip!


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