A few weekends ago, I was given the gift of time – a few hours to myself, with which to do whatever I pleased. Sometimes I feel dizzy with the responsibility of how to spend this precious time, but on this occassion I knew it was time to get the sewing machine out and ‘actually make something’.
I leafed through my lovely little sewing book for an easy beginners project, and decided to make a tiny drawstring bag. It was really designed for hand sewing, but I was sure it’d work on the machine too.
I’m keen to make things we can use. There doesn’t seem to be any point in reducing my general consumption (as I’m always trying to do), just to produce a lot of crap we don’t need in the name of learning to sew…but a tiny drawstring bag, in all honesty, is of limited use!
However, I knew the kids would enjoy it. They are (surprisingly) fascinated by my sewing machine that just sits in its box for most of the time, and I knew they’d appreciate me making something for them. It would also allow me to learn to make something that I could give away as part of a gift for other children. We have endless parties that we take presents to, and I’d love to limit the amount of mass-produced ‘stuff’ that is made abroad.
A while ago I bought some fat quarters in Hobbycraft. I managed to forget that I was aiming to buy UK material, in the hope that it is made under fair working conditions. However the label says ‘Designed in England’.
I went on to the website and couldn’t get further information about where the material was actually produced. Having already purchased it I’ve decided not to pursue that as the deed has been done, but should I wish to replenish my supply, I will follow it up, and avoid it if it wasn’t made in the UK (which I strongly suspect it wasn’t!). Jen Gale of My Make Do and Mend Year has written a really wonderful post which covers purchasing UK and ethical materials here. I have no excuses the next time!
Anyway, I selected a dinosaur design (which came in a variety of colours such as cream, pink and blue) as it was a bit more appealing to both boys and girls than most of the fat quarters I come across. It will probably be of no surprise to you that I’m not keen on gender-specific toys where they can be avoided (my kids don’t necessarily share this opinion though!)
I got my sewing machine out and then took a look at the material. Whenever I look at sewing blogs there are always ironing boards set up in the background and now I know why – there were heavy creases in inappropriate places.
I followed the instructions and pinned the material into place, then started sewing, while removing the pins. (Does the novelty of pressing that pedal and zipping down the material ever wear off??)
I’m not going to pretend it was totally easy. For example, I had to stop when I got loose threads caught inside the machine…
…and I got some ‘bobbly’ stitches (I can’t remember how I managed this!) but I had to take the bobbin out – because of said bobbly stitches! – and like the last time, couldn’t get the damn thing back in again!
Some of my stitches went decidedly off straight and narrow.
But finally my bag was made…and it even looked a bit like the one in the book!
My kids loved it and immediately filled it with their mini lego figures, so the bag turned out to be hugely useful!!!