A year of handmade – an update

A year of handmade – an update

At the beginning of 2015 I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t buy any clothes this year, apart from knickers and socks and maybe a coat if needed. All the rest including bras and jeans I was going to make. I had just got into making bras and had bought several jeans patterns so I was all set to go.

So how am I getting on, 6 months in?

Well I have made two bras and a pair of jeans as well as innumerable tops and dresses. However I seem to have a mental block about finishing the more complex things so the bras are near enough done, bit not quite , and the jeans are waiting for their buttons. I haven’t even tried them on yet. Epic fail in a way. I think I must be scared of these items not fitting as the pressure is so high to finally haIMG_9173ve a bra and a pair of jeans that fit me… I don’t know, it’s weird but I seem to have a real mental block about them. Every time I sit at my machine it’s other things I pick up. I have lots of quilt commissions on and have been making stock for a wonderful little shop Xylonite Arts, and I have made several new tops and dresses from new patterns (which are exciting to make as I like new things) and I am confident about the fit and they don’t take anywhere near as long as trousers or bras, and I have also made several versions of the Colette Ginger skirt and the April Rhodes’ Staple dress in classes along with my students.

This week I am going to try and get down to finishing those damn UFOs once and for all! Look at those funky bras…!















I did cheat when I went to see my parents in Holland in April and bought some clothes. I had packed super light and at the end of a really warm few days, and then when the weather turned in Holland I was cold. Very cold. I ended up buying a jacket which I wear every day, a scarf and a really cool tunic, all in the H&M sales. And my mum paid for it all, so it was kinda like a present and maybe that doesn’t count :-). It is totally do-able to not buy clothes (unless you go on holiday unprepared!) and make it all yourself if you have time and fabric and patterns and skills. It’s not cheaper but it’s much nicer, better fitting and satisfying to make your own.

I’ve also knitted and crocheted quite a few things this year; two ponchos, at least one pair socks and various shawls/ wraps/ snoods


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Let’s hear it for love

Let’s hear it for love

Not sewing or studio related. Not even a post about leaves or flowers or cats. But a very important post nonetheless.

Those of you who know me well and even most of you who’ve attended a class with me in the last 4 years have known me as resolutely and very happily single for a long time. I had my friends, my work, my kids and my cats, I didn’t want or need anyone else. I saw myself growing old living alone, still going out dancing with Sarah and meeting for cuppas with Cath. Mulling stuff over with the help of a glass or two with Chris. Hanging out with my other Sarah talking about boys. But not with a man in my life apart from my lovely male friends. Seeing me back on an online dating site in early March was more of a browsing thing, after being told of this cool (and free) dating site. Within a week I had grown bored of browsing profiles, exchanging desultory messages, or not, with people I didn’t fancy anyway. But there was this picture of this gorgeous long haired bearded man that intrigued me. I think I fired off a quick “nice profile” message, although really there was nothing much on his profile. Anyway he messaged me back quickly and asked if he could call me. I was not too happy about that as I tend to hate speaking to people I might meet for a date, it’s so awkward and weird. Anyway I said yes and he called me. We talked for over an hour. He had the most beautiful voice and a seriously sexy Glaswegian accent. I was hooked. He was so easy to talk to. But he lived in Paisley which is over 400 miles north of me. This didn’t seem to deter him and he called again and again. Soon we were talking for hours every day. I still didn’t get why he kept calling me because we could never meet and anyway he was so lovely and handsome, why didn’t he look closer to home and for someone who didn’t have three kids and seven cats? But of course I fell in love with him before we had even met. I couldn’t not, he was just amazing. And then we did meet. In grim Swindon of all places. We booked in to a hotel presuming we would get on in person too and if not, well he was enough of a gent to sleep on the floor he said. We need not have feared. After getting used to this real life man being the Sean I had been talking to so much we have hardly been apart since. I went against all my dating rules and he met my kids the next day, and moved in three weeks later! A true whirlwind but not in a stormy kinda way. More of a “I know a good thing when I see it” way. Everyone who has met him loves him, including my kids (two of whom are teens and hard to please!).

Meeting him was truly a miracle as he wasn’t really properly engaging with the online dating thing either and I think his profile was set partly under pressure from a friend (thanks Samuel!). He lived in Scotland. We would have never met. I was old and cynical. He was hurt and still reeling from what life had thrown at him these last few years. Against all the odds love flourished and I am grateful every single day I went to the pub that night with Sarah where a friend of hers told us about OK Cupid. Stupid name. If I hadn’t been a bit giddy with cider I would have never bothered signing up with a site that sounded like a dating site for teenagers.

I cannot imagine life without him. He recently went away for almost two weeks and it felt like I was missing a vital organ. He is the best and he is my soulmate. He keeps me sane and calm and grounded. He reads me his poetry and his prose and I am astonished at his talent. He is so beautiful I cannot believe he is all mine. He has taken all the kids and cats and sewing machines everywhere totally in his stride. He supports me and comforts me and makes me laugh. He cooks me yummy stir fry mash ups and talks to me of history and politics and I adore his passion and knowledge and intelligence.  My own poet. Whilst I went through the tiring process of building a studio he kept me going, looking after me and all of us. This is what I wrote at the time:  “…and thanks finally to my loving and supportive partner Sean for running me baths, making me tea, keeping the house running whilst I’ve been painting or in Homebase and tucking me in at night when I’ve been too tired to even do that myself. His unfailing kindness, love and practical help not just now but always made and makes all the difference”.

So here’s to love. It rocks and even though I thought I could live without it, I am so glad I don’t have to. Sean the brave, you are my sunshine, my rudder, my beacon.

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