Hello and welcome …

When I thought about making this blog, I wondered if there would be any pictures of me when younger actively engaged in sewing.  Thatme with a little friend’d be a great place to start. My mum holds all the childhood photos though as I tend to lose things through a process of attrition and well meaning clear outs with each house move. I could call her and go look through them, but the problem is I am pretty sure there are none. And there should have been. There should have been lots of photos of me with a sewing machine, me with a tape measure around my neck, me with pins in my mouth, me scratching it up with a block of tailor’s chalk. I really really always wanted to be a good sewer. I really get absorbed in the activity of figuring out how things go together and creating something three dimensional from a roll of fabric that just hours ago (yep I am ambitious too!) was just a flat weaving devoid of inspiration.

I practiced really hard. I desperately wanted to become someone who could casually whip up an outfit.  I sewed in classes for years and even got a second hand machine and tried for a very brief while to sew at home. The home sewing lasted until the machine tension messed up and I was left with every seam forming massive loops below the fabric. Not even my grandma could figure that one out. And she sewed for years. The school sewing was just plain embarrassing. There are no pictures of those projects either. I made things that were just plain dreadful and always had something wrong with them.


One of the first projects was a baby bib that would have strangled all but the tiniest preemie (this one was embellished with wonky hand embroidery spelling out BABY in pale blue cotton). I can’t remember if this particular beauty was given away as a gift, donated to an op shop or thrown out. I suspect it might have been the latter. I did pay attention to details though – the wonky blue stitching denoted it was for a boy. There is no picture of this bib as I mentioned earlier, so I have done my best to reproduce the project below.

Sketch of the infamous bib





Or I could recall my first adventure into the land of serging … when I got over the terror that the knives would chop my fingers off at the same time as making a tidy seam line on the fabric side, I created a monstrosity in pink that my mother still refers to in hushed tones. I was so afraid of making the pattern too small, that I bought a pattern much too big for me and scaled it back a bit (pretty advanced really).


Unfortunately, I had no experience in pattern drafting whatsoever so the whole thing was doomed for failure. In front of twenty classmates at a bitchy Catholic school. The sweatshirt turned out at least a size twenty two. And I was a fourteen year old girl with a size ten to twelve body. That one I wanted out of the house … so I suggested Mum give it to her fat friend. She fought it for a few months and then gave the pink monstrosity to her mate, whom she’d known since primary school. Her friend took the sweatshirt willingly and seemed pleased with it BUT we never ever saw her wear it in public or at home for that matter. And she started to distance out of the friendship. A few years later she died. I am sure when my mother remembers her,  she somehow implicates my sweatshirt gift in her death.


The problem is, I can’t sew.



I SHOULD be able to sew – if sewing were genetic, I definitely would be able to. I come from a long line of competent and indeed talented sewers. My mother could whip up a quick skirt or dress for a Saturday dance. My grandmother made me an intricate full length First Communion dress. My great grandmother apparently could look at a dress in a shop window then go home and draft it from memory for my darling grandmother. And my great great grandmother was a professional tailoress. So it is kind of an irony that I have the urge to sew but just not the ability. If it were solely genetically passed on my genes would be bathing in sewing expertise. Unfortunately it isn’t though.



A few years ago I picked up the bargain of bargains – a whole box of vintage sewing patterns from the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s and even a couple from the 1980’s. I have been drooling over them for years and wishing I could make them. The wishing stops here.


Join me as I massacre these classic styles with my inept sewing skills.


Oh I forgot to mention, the only reference guide we’ll be using is the 1960’s McCalls Illustrated Sewing Encyclopaedia it really will be a disastrous journey.


It will be slow … it will be painful. It won’t be like all those other blogs where the owner produces a perfect replica in a few hours. It won’t be anything like that. There will be frustrations, ripped seams, pricked fingers, several litres of Chablis and probably a whole lotta swearing … and that’s just while the pattern gets cut out!


As we travel, please feel free to share your own sewing mess ups. Let’s consider this a memorial to the projects that never got finished, the ones that were abandoned halfway in disgust, the ones that never got a photo – let’s remember them all here for they all enriched our lives and our character in some amazing way.


Your thoughts?










  1. November 3, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    You’re blog looks like it’ll be really interesting! 🙂 I’m trying to pick up some sewing, I just tried to make a Star Trek dress out of an oversized red shirt, but I couldn’t even get the sewing machine to work in the first place :s

  2. November 27, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Hello from Ralph! I shouldn’t be here because I’ll never take up sewing. But I see this photo of you with your eyebrow being tickled by your Master’s ear, and I’m reminded of some years ago when a playful squirrel climbed upon my shoulders while I walked around our lower yard. I always carried peanuts in my jacket pockets…just in case!

    If you’re a fan of Dean Martin, come see my own blog about his TV show from 1965 to 1974. It is http://draaiorgelfan.wordpress.com, and we’re trying to get the show out of the vaults and into the Public Domain. Enjoy!

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