This week my dreams have been plagued with dreams of bias binding. I wish I was joking or at the least, exaggerating, but I’m not. Every time I’ve set my head on that pillow and steered a course for sleep, I’ve dreamt of sewing. It all started last week when I decided I wanted to make a 50s style pinny. A rather rainy and turbulent Saturday morning led me to sequester myself in the house protecting myself from the elements; and it seemed the ideal time to get the sewing machine revved up.
Now I’m no sewing prodigy (aside from being too darn old) so I had bought a pattern and once I’d cut out the pieces for my chosen option it became immediately clear that something had gone awry. Where was the pocket? Was I meant to cut out two pieces for the main skirt? Had I missed a piece? Why had the number "6" appeared ominously in the instructions but not on the list of pieces to cut out?
And then a wonderful thing happened. I started to improvise. Not by glaring at the pattern and wondering whether I could make this bit work if I used that bit, or finding other bits from the papers and trying to overlay them to the pattern. No, I tore up (metaphorically – you never know when you’ll need it after all) the notes, and started working from my own imagination. I wondered if this was how Kasparov felt when he first started playing chess beyond the text book.
It was liberating, but also daunting. All those creative ideas that have lain dormant during the last few years of office life, suddenly started stretching at the edges again, albeit in a very “sleepy mole in a hole in the midday sun” sort of way but certainly something was happening. I felt as if a small part of my brain was unfurling and it was a great feeling. The daunting bit came from the knowledge that any mistakes would be my mistakes; I couldn’t blame them on the pattern being off or the instructions being wrong. It was all down to me.
After a couple of hours measuring, drawing onto tracing paper, muddling through, I had the various pieces that I needed, and had a better idea of where I was headed... and at that point I got lured out. It was Saturday night and it seemed a good idea to have a glass of wine and a mull over next steps. So to Sunday morning and bouncing out of bed at 8 a.m. raring to get going. Three hours later and I had a pinny. It was pretty much exactly what I wanted. The finishing was rather wonky and I’d managed to leave about 2mm without bias binding at the top of one side which I know will irritate me every time I’m hovering by the hob with it on, having a ponder while I’m stirring and seasoning. Nonetheless, I reason that it was my first attempt and, despite it being very simple to make (no zips, no pleats, no darts etc) one doesn’t get a check mate without some practice first.
And the bias binding dreams? For some reason, on a dark and rainy Saturday afternoon, I could not for the life of me figure out the best way to get the stuff sewn onto the edge of the skirt. On Sunday morning, after spending most of the night dreaming about different ways of attaching the binding (although in one of my dreams one of the bindings was a lovely Broderie which I was quite disappointed to find on waking I didn’t actually have), I’d cracked it.
My appetite is whet now and I’m ready to take on a new challenge. A friend is moving into her new home this weekend and I’ve already designed a new pinny. It will have a contrast waist band, and a three section pocket (including one pocket to perfectly fit the handle of a wooden spoon – an homage to the new domestic sophistication of the noughties) and with a cat motif to keep her going until she is able to have a cat of her own. Am also mulling about knitting her and her husband matching egg cosies. Why the devil not, eh.
In other projects, this week I sewed the sleeves onto my dress. I actually had the sweat of fear a couple of times and found it pretty stressful. The easing is the bit that really threatened to fox me, and it didn’t help that I’d forgotten to put two of the corresponding dots on the back of each sleeve but I muddled through and Egads! if I didn’t have two sleeves at the end of it.
The baby jumper I started knitting last week is also coming on apace – I’ve finished the front, am halfway through the back and the sleeves look pretty simple so I don’t anticipate them taking too long. Sock knitting needs to be bumped back up the agenda now as I have a lesson in two weeks on the fine art of cabling and I promised I’d have a sock at the point where cabling was a distinct possibility.
Am seriously considering taking a few days off work so that I can focus on crafts full time for a bit but all those exciting HR type queries don’t answer themselves you know (they do, actually). There’s also a bit of mulling going on about buttons. I think it could be guilt at my current obsession with vintage buttons and the pounds I may or may not have spent on a few different, end of line enamelled and filigree buttons recently. I’m hoping that writing about it will act as a form of catharsis for the spending guilt - honestly, living on baked beans for two weeks but surrounded by beautiful buttons is not how a grown woman should live. They were just too, too beautiful to leave behind – never leave a good button down, that’s my (current) motto.