This week I have sewed all day, every day. On Friday morning as I sat down at my sewing machine, with a lovely clear blue sky at the window, my iPod playing favourite songs, a cup of tea on my desk and pattern pieces ready to sew I realised how very happy I felt. I have been making up orders of make-up bags, tissue holders and pin cushions. All things that don't require the stroky beard moments that I get when making something with applique pieces and I found the opportunity to have a week in front of the machine, rather than on the floor surrounded by strangely shaped scraps of material, to be completely restful.
I am never keen on the pattern cutting aspect, but I now tend to spend about five hours once a week in an evening cutting out pattern pieces to sew during the week, and this way it seems quicker and gets the boring bit out of the way. Whenever I have an order to make something, I find it hard not to feel compelled to make several more for my shop at the same time, and so gradually summer stock has built up without any real conscious effort (although none of it is yet photographed for my website as that is another job which feels slightly tiresome, so I'm waiting to do it all on one day).
The other good thing about sewing in bulk in this way is that where something has been unpicked and put right on the first item, the next is quicker to make as what I've learnt is able to put into practice straightaway with the next set of pattern pieces (and not forgotten, as would be in my usual way!). When a friend asked me to make her a make-up bag like this one, to give as a gift, my heart sank a little for zips scare me, particularly when I haven't put one in for a while. However, the following week she placed an order for two more, and with those I made another two for my shop...and finally I felt I knew exactly how the zip should be put in and completely confident about doing it. My sister, Laura, read here that to be completely proficient and successful at something one must have spent something approximating 10,000 hours practicing it...so I still have 9,970 hours to go, but I'm feeling positive because I can already see the rightness in this and can only imagine how dreamy my zips are going to look at the end of this learning curve.
I, on the other hand, will look anything other than dreamy. I have realised that sewing is not good for general health. My sewing desk has always been in the same place and the small clock that I always glance at (for even at 10am I worry that time may have run away with me and that I might have missed picking the children up from school) has always been about 2 metres away across the room. Two years ago, I used to look up from my desk and would see the numbers on the clock perfectly. Now when I look up my eyes take a couple of seconds to focus before I can make out the figures on the clock. My mother says that this is because I am spending too much time staring without blinking at short range and that I must exercise my eyes by glancing out of the window every minute to give my eyes more opportunity to change between short and long distance focus. I am now doing this religiously - I have always had perfect eyesight and it terrifies me to feel this deteriorating by something so obviously measurable as the clock that I have always looked at.
And the two pictures of linings in this post? I use this range all the time. They are beautiful quality, have a low, subtle sheen to them, the colours are gorgeous and appear to change slightly depending on what angle you are looking at them from. And I have just learnt that they are no longer being imported into this country for what I can only assume are reasons of credit crunchery. Oh lawks...whatever next?! On a gravely serious side so many people are losing their jobs, but on a more superficial side, our high streets do seem to be being depleted of so many of the bits of loveliness that I'd previously always assumed would be available. It's a shock to find this happening and I feel distressed by the idea that potentially we could lose some of our favourite fabric houses, designers, or shops to this...arg...there's never been a time when it's so virtuous to spend large in this area! x