Wednesday, 17 April 2013

My daughter's sewing


I haven't been around quite as much recently due to the Easter break, but my sewing machine hasn't been entirely neglected. My daughter and I had a day to ourselves and she decided she'd like to sew. She chose some Liberty Tana lawn and I showed her how to insert a zip. She did everything from cutting the fabrics with the rotary cutter (eep!), ironing on the interfacing (double eep!) and sewing the zip in place...the only thing I refused to let her do was use a match to singe the end of the velvet ribbon zip pull. Not because of any incompetence on her part, but more because of my own inability to deal with a potential fire near her (if you follow me on Instagram then you'll know that I had 'an incident' recently where my handmade Liberty oven gloves caught fire and I suffered a total memory blank as to how useful water can be in such a situation).


She took such care over every detail. When I looked at her little zipper purse afterward I realised that there was no part of the machining that I thought I could have done better myself - such a lovely feeling.


She seemed to really enjoy the process: the aha! moment (not of the Morten Harket variety) when you discover that the counter-intuitive order that the lining and outer fabrics are placed in when you're inserting the zip really does work; seeing how the different sewing machine feet helped her to do the things she wanted; the satisfaction of seeing the lining sewn neatly in place so that it can never be caught in the zip. Her innate neatness and perfectionism seem so well-suited to sewing.


We also had a day to ourselves in London. I took her to Liberty - she fell in love with every part of it and wanted to stay so long that we had to briefly go and revive her aching back in Le Pain Quotidien with a pastry before she could return to complete her third tour of the stationary department.


We also went up The Monument which marks the Great Fire of London. The top was 311 steps up a spiral staircase. As everyone else (including toddlers and the elderly) happily raced up and down, I seemed paralysed by vertigo and was nearly violently ill. But at the top there were amazing views and even buildings that seemed to show quilt patterns within their walls.


During the holidays we were also sent a review copy of Ruby Loves, a craft magazine aimed at 8 - 12 year olds. It contains a mixture of baking, paper craft and sewing. It's the perfect thing for a rainy afternoon, especially if (unlike us) you don't have cupboards already bulging with craft supplies, as nearly everything you'll need is included, from pastry cutters to buttons and fabric. 



Our verdict was that we both thought it was a really lovely magazine, but that it would appeal to a slightly younger girl (my daughter is 11) . However, when I was out with my son one afternoon I came back to find that she'd used some of the fabric and ribbons included with the magazine for her own purposes: hand sewing a toy mouse for Honey.


The holidays are now over and the slight rise in temperature has turned my thoughts to dressmaking. I've bought the Colette Laurel pattern from Backstitch and am looking forward to eventually wearing something that isn't woollen or made of heat-tech fabric. It may require a few more degrees of warmth to enable that though.

Florence x

17 comments:

  1. I wouldn't know where to begin to insert a zip and the finished bag is simply beautiful!

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  2. now feel really daft that haven't yet tried a zip....well done to your daughter that looks fantastic...still loving your new machine by the way?...i still cant make up my mind what to go for!

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  3. We love the purse! The flowers are just lovely :) xx

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  4. adorable! love that you're passing the tradition down :)

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  5. Definitely a chip off the old block Florence! You must be so proud of her skills and determination, that little purse is exquisite. x

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  6. I am very impressed - not only with the lovely zippered bag, but also with the deluxe cat toy! Always nice to share our crafts with those who truly appreciate the effort :)

    And kudos to YOU on that staircase - just thinking about it makes me feel dizzy! I used to think a spiral staircase would be the perfect space-saver if ever I could add an upstairs room to my tiny house. Then I was in a shop with such a staircase, and after climbing up and down twice, realized there'd be a far better chance of me just shinnying up and down a rope!

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  7. Your daughter did a great job. I love Liberty and her choice of fabric is very pretty. I included a photo of the Liberty flowers on my blog a couple of years back :)

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  8. Good skills. My 5 year old is glued to the BBC sewing bee and constantly requesting a go on the machine. Too keen! I have subscribed to 12 weeks of Ruby Loves as a consolation prize for not going on the machine yet. I have seen it on a few blogs so she is looking forward to it.

    http://joeveryday19.blogspot.co.uk

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  9. Wow! This looks so great! I've never made a bag-- for some reason the thought of putting a zip in something that small stresses me out! But your daughter's emboldened me. I'll have to give it a try. It's so sweet that you guys are able to enjoy sewing together.

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  10. Well done! And beautiful.

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  11. How lovely! I can't wait to be able to do the same things with my daughter! I'm trying to hold myself back a little. I don't want to put her off sewing by being too pushy! She's only 3!

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  12. Passing on skills and giving them the freedom to be creative in their own way is one of the greatest joys of motherhood. You are creating memories to last you both a lifetime. Look forward to seeing what she makes next ;)

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  13. I'm tempted to say how jealous I am since I have three sons, but soon enough my nine year old may want to learn how to fire up the sewing machine. My attempts at teaching him finger knitting were met with damp enthusiasm, but maybe if I offer to let him sew a camoflauge zip pouch to store his boyish odds and ends he'll be more receptive? Love your blog. Leslie xx

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  14. Do you find that Liberty fabric is different these days? I find it seems to have a 'finish' on it which I don't like at all and makes it seem somewhat synthetic and rather nasty to the touch. The same goes for Kona cotton - beautiful colours but I can hardly bare to touch it as it doesn't feel like cotton at all! It's certainly different from other pure cotton I have, which is fresh and well cotton like and the Liberty is worlds away from the soft beautiful smoothness of yesteryear - it seems quite like a polyester on the surface. I am very disappointed in it. The fabric has come from a few sources, so I don't think it can be that. I am not going to use the Kona again as I dislike it so much but am finding it hard to find an alternative.

    My daughter is so far off being a perfectionist in anything practical. She has never shown any interest in sewing but did learn to do knitting which she would do, happily dropping stitches for hours. It is I who messes about over tiny details. Sometimes too much, as I think it can inhibit.

    Well done for passing those skills on - it is important and your daughter has made an excellent bag and little mouse.

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  15. What a beautiful little bag- well done your daughter! I have made several zipped pouches using the pattern on your blog and wanted to say thank-you xx

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  16. What lovely work! And how alarming about your oven glove incident... Was that what inspired the visit to The Monument?!

    Are you planning to whip your Laurel dress up in time to enter the contest? I'd love to hear what you think of the pattern - I set my sleeves in yesterday and had all sorts of trouble, mainly far too much ease in the back portion of the cap. I did make some pattern alterations around the shoulder and armhole, though, so perhaps I messed things up. x

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  17. Oh what a wonderful zippy pouch! I hope she treasures it. There must be a key development point, where children have the patience to learn and parents the patience to teach, we are a way from there yet! Lovely blog as always Florence.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x