Match made in heaven.

Pure Italian Wool and Liberty of London, that is.

When I decided to close the store, I figured I should try to pare down my fabric collection. Harri really needs a Winter coat, and I was gobsmacked at the prices. So I thought I’d see if I could whip one up.

It was hard. It look, literally, 45 minutes to sew the first panel seam. I couldn’t for the life of me work out how the two pieces would go together, and cursed eating M&Ms all the way through Year 11 and 12 maths because apparently had I ever exercised that part of the brain, pattern deciphering wouldn’t be so tiresome. Or sew they say.

Anyway, it was OK after that, and I breezed through up to the third last step with much excitement. Step 23 (of 24) then read, “Repeat steps 1 – 22 for the lining”. The aforepictured jacket was thus shelved in much frustration and only brought out about two months later, i.e yesterday, when I had 3/4 of the day to myself in self indulgent heaven.

My Mum is a wonderful sewer, accomplished at all manner of things from dressmaking to embroidery and everything in between. She takes classes in stump work from Jane Nicholas, who herself is a rather ridiculously talented artist.

This is Jane’s stump work, and what you see used to be no more than a pile of threads. Yes, it’s so worked that it is three dimensional. One of Mum’s earlier pieces was this for my wedding.

I met Jane last year when I went to Bowral with Mum while she went to a class and I shopped. She asked about my newly found interest in sewing (about 12 months by that stage) and enquired whether I’d made the bag slung over my shoulder. It was one of my draft scandi bags, with some stitching yet to be unpicked and altogether a bit of a crock. I stammered that it was one of my draft bags but that there was some stitching yet to be unpicked and it was altogether a bit of a crock. She looked me straight in the eye and tole me NEVER to say that again. She said that it was lovely and that as an artist you need to be proud of your work and learn to accept compliments.

So, against that background, there are two things I need to mention about Harri’s coat. Firstly, you absolutely must, must, must do hems by hand, to tack in the lining and have them look utterly gorgeous. So I got out the machine, whacked on some bias and sewed it right up. It was either that or have it ready for winter 2011. And then there’s the matter of the button hole. I hate button holes. It’s not me, it’s them. You can make the most perfect item, only to screw it all up with the button hole foot deciding to have an off day.  The aim was to do one button at the neck – not right at the top (too hard to do up), but pretty close. Now, there is alot of fabric to sew through, but the damn foot jammed, and I ended up (after unpicking and patching) with a button hole about 1cm lower than it should be. I’m not bagging my work, because I have been taught not to, but I do need to acknowledge that it is a little roughly finished.

And the reason I think that’s important, is that I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with crafty blogs which show perfectly finished items made by mothers with a brood of children, “whipping up” designs while the kids do lego and the dinner simmers on the stove. Stop it. It bores us. And we don’t believe you.


About Sophie

Living in Melbourne, juggling a day job in medical defence with recious 7 and 1 year olds, and trying as best I can to raise money for research into paediatric stroke.
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