Are you ready for some amazement?
Because I know that I wasn’t at all ready for it this time last week. I was halfway through putting together this sewing pattern:
I picked it up from eBay for cheap because it looked simple yet smart, and it’s from Essentials Magazine (which I believe is still published).
I doubt it could be any more Eighties if it tried. By the way, do you like how the girl on the bottom right looks a little like a faded horror movie poster? You might think it’s a combination of my camera phone and her eye makeup, but it’s merely the latter.
So last Sunday night I had the whole thing done apart from – you guessed – the buttonholes, and I decided to leave them until I had had a chance to practise the little feckers some more.
On Monday there was naff-all sewing, just an early night to make sure I had plenty of time in case the snow disrupted my travels the following day;
Tuesday the snow did not affect me at all – I travelled down to London and spent the most amazing day at the Natural History Museum.
There were dinosaurs! Beetles! Giant fossils! Little fossils! Rocks! Giraffes! Termites! Stuff in jars! Skulls! Jaw bones! Lots of stuff in jars!
There was also amazing chinese food, caffeine and all kinds of gems, both in and out of glass cases. It was, someone said, one of those days that you remember forever, and I am not going to argue with that.
Wednesday I came home from work, had an early tea, grabbed two scraps of the fabrics I used in the blouse and spent a good three hours (and a delightful episode of Cabin Pressure) practising buttonhole, after buttonhole, after buttonhole:
I mixed different sets of instructions from different places (Judy‘s manual, blogs and YouTube) and wrote down every single step I made in each attempt.
This wasn’t just a homage to my favourite line in Withnail and I (“Let’s approach this scientifically”), but a way to make sure I changed only one thing at a time and to be able to find out what I was doing wrong.
And I did find out! Suffice it to say that the instructions in Judy’s manual make up 80% of my chosen method, but that was only after I realised that I should actually have been reading them rather than just glancing at them and winging it.
I know I haven’t been doing this sewing malarkey for long, but I am constantly amazed at the difference that Reading The Effing Instructions makes. You see, I am a recovering smartarse.
Thursday I worked an insanely long day and pretty much dozed off on a friend’s sofa, whilst Friday I worked a ludicrously long day and spent the evening thinking of many things other than sewing.
On Saturday I got some rest and in the afternoon sat down to make one last attempt at a buttonhole before making some *real* ones on my blouse, and guess what?
It worked so well that I made a buttonhole on the blouse. And then another one:
They’re not perfect, but they’re mine, as they say.
And frankly they were so easy that it was all a bit of an anticlimax and I started wondering what it was that I was so scared about.
So I went on to make five more and sew seven buttons on my blouse and whilst I was in the middle of what I could describe as a sewing downer, this happened:
Yes, I have loved Tales of the city so much I read each of the books twice.
Yes, I am very excited about the upcoming adaptation to be broadcast on Radio 4 next week.
But I had also been to the library a few hours earlier to borrow The Night Listener, so I was pretty much beyond stoked when I saw that email.
Now, I could mention that I initially intended to make View Two with the short sleeves but mangled them quite spectacularly, but why should I ruin The Week Of Awesome?
In the past seven days I have seen dinosaurs, mastered buttonholes and got followed on Twitter by Armistead Maupin. If this isn’t awesome, I don’t know what awesome is.
A lesser woman than I would now be worried that 2013 has peaked way too soon, but I am not.
There are three-hundred and thirty-eight more days to go, and I know sure they will be as awesome as the past week.
Fabric: Printed cotton, bit too flimsy for my taste. Quite how and why I came into owning four metres of it is beyond me. The why rather than the how. The how it’s easy, I went to the fabric shop and handed over my credit card. Scraps of that curtain instead of interfacing. I really think I should eventually tell the story of that curtain.
Pattern: Essentials Magazine blouse pattern, marked as E4 on the pattern sheet.
Year: 1980s. Let’s not get into painful detail (although I am sure it is the second half of that wretched decade).
Notions: Thread, buttons, elastic for the sleeves that never were and scraps of some other bias tape for the armscye that made the cut. Everything came from stash.
And the insides? Mostly zig-zagged with my new overcast foot, which I luuuuurve.
Hours: Two afternoons and an evening.
First worn: I tried it on and it’s fine, might wear it to work tomorrow but the office is bitter cold on Mondays so I am not sure.
Wear again? We’ll see. There was an odd reaction between the Eighties shape and my usual widening at the hips.
Make again? Doubt it. The shape is just too Eighties and the instructions for attaching the collar were so bad I ended up playing with it for the best part of two hours and then guessing.
Total cost: Everything came from stash! I am not doing too bad with my resolution to stick to a budget.