Taught – an old dog new tricks

Its been longer and longer between drinks over here at SNT! My enthusiasm for bloggging is waning in all honesty. The ‘to do’ list is overwhelming and I thought this year would be a breeze – hah!

We’ve had a huge month, following the departure of a much loved almost family member. Our families were new immigrants together, we met as friends of friends in the mid 70s. We were almost relatives. That happens when you don’t have any bona fide ones to hand I think! But really, this lady whom I refused to call Auntie (a stickler for genealogy me!) was a real goer. Progressive blindness impeded her somewhat, but she helped so many people in a social work capacity, and she was always on the end of a phone when I needed her – she will be missed.

My dear Mother came over from England for the funeral, and will be staying a month. We’ve had a lovely time together.

Mum was a proficient sewer in my childhood, beautiful party dresses, a furry white cape, a yellow velvet dress worn with white lace tights a la 1970s, lots of costumes – tutus, a witch costume and a beautiful snowflake comes to mind. Like so many of her generation she stopped making clothes for herself. I had my theory and it seems I was spot on. Mum started sewing because it was more cost effective, sewed for the kids, garments made for self didn’t fit, one disappointment after another and before you know it the stuff you buy at the shops is a superior investment over hours spent at the sewing machine resulting in yet another thing that doesn’t suit/fit. Also sewing is now not at all cost effective, fabrics are a luxury.

Mum and I wandered into Joy’s Fabric Warehouse in East Geelong. I keep visiting, hoping to find just the right wool to pair with an upholstery fabric I fancy fashioning into some kind of coat/jacket. No suitable wool, though they had a very appealing double sided wool blend, kind of felted and completely awesome in 2 colour ways; I may succomb!


We did however find the most delicious ponte in navy and red. Excellent quality, robust and soft. Its apparently the shops specialty, folks come from far and wide to buy this stuff. Well we bought 2 x 1metres for 2 skirts. Mum had travelled with a skirt she’s been wearing – out!  We took measurements from the her skirt and essentially its almost a rectangle x 2, front and back – I can do better!! What this skirt really needed was a bit of front and back interest – so we created princess lines in the almost rectangle. Next version we’ll take a bit of fabric out of the waist because my elastic isn’t as robust as Mum’s previous skirt – hence the slight gathering at the waistband.


Now my darling Mummy was looking askance at the overlocker with fear and trepidation, perhaps even memories of wasted hours spent making ill fitting garments? The monster with 4 cones of thread – gulp!

Hand hemmed, not sure if the coverstitch hem might have looked better or worse? Opinions welcome.

Well, all I can say is A1 student!! She made the skirt and I haven’t seen her look so proud since the last Victoria Scone! There’s just something about knowing you did a great job and she absolutely loves the skirt. It goes with a lovely wool jacket I’d bought in an op shop – Perri Cutten. I opened up the beast via the lining and not a skerrick of beautiful jacket construction. Not even a shoulder pad – so I inserted a couple and a sleeve head. Really the jacket could do with a lot more alteration for perfect fit, but Mum needed it fast – we’ve had temperatures in the below 5C range. I just love this temperature, but coming from old Blighty, I think Mum is over the cold!

Mum and Zelda the Legend – now 5 months old!

I’ve warned her not to keep it for ‘good’ – wear it out Mum, life’s too short to wait for special occasions.

“Good Bye” dear Margaret.


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  1. I’m so sorry your mum came for such a sad occasion. Enjoy your time together: blogging can happen whenever.

    The skirt is perfect (the extra seams are a great idea) and now she can wear her jacket knowing it’s had your touch of improvement. How lovely that you can remember the various things she once sewed for you. The yellow velvet dress with white lace tights sounds fab!

    • You know, my Princess has dreams of a senior formal dress and I can’t shake the image of yellow – wasn’t that the famous gown from Rear Window? Unforch she may have to take a ticket and join the queue!! Notice any differences now you’re a married lady M?!!! X

  2. Your mum looks just lovely in her skirt; I love the princess lines. You can tell how nice the ponte is, just from the pictures, too.

    I’m sorry to hear about your family friend, L. It gives one pause. I can understand your interest in blogging waning, although I would miss your blog (giving me something far in the distance to strive for!) if you were to stop. As M says, though, blog when you feel like it, with no time pressure at all, or don’t blog at all: personal choice.

    You have reminded me that I once made a jacket out of a jacquard upholstery fabric, purchased at an old textile mill.. It was a cool jacket made from a Vogue pattern even though I didn’t know how to fit things properly in my 20s and so it was a bit snug in the bust. (I think your mum and I have the same reason for the ceasing of sewing activity.) Funnily enough I gave it to a small-busted colleague in Australia when I left there after working in Canberra, because I had an extra bag to lug back and didn’t want to….curious to see what you will do

    Oh I just read M.’s comment and I love your idea of a yellow dress for Princess. Real wow factor there!

    • PS I appreciate the comment about life being too short to save clothes for “good.” Haven’t we all done that? I have a few clothes in the closet like that so I am pulling them out.X

      • I really appreciate your lovely comments Steph, thank you. My sewing has improved but I’m still a frustrated perfectionist! Fit stopped me sewing all those years ago too. I guess we have to be reminded that it’s a lifelong learning process.

  3. You Mum looks lovely in her co-created outfit. How nice to be able to spend some quality time, and some shopping and sewing, time together.

  4. The outfit is lovely. I am so sorry to hear of such sadness. Life does get rather complicated sometimes to be thinking of hobbies, doesn’t it?

  5. Love your mum’s new outfit, she looks great, and you’re absolutely right, wear it all, and enjoy! Write the blog when you want to write the blog. If it was your livelihood that would be different, but it’s for pleasure and sharing bits of your life, sometimes I like to think of it more as a sort of diary, of sewing, or of thoughts.
    I lost one of my best friends last year, I wasn’t finished talking to her, I still have unfinished conversations, I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Enjoy your mum sewing time.

  6. Glad to see photos of your Mum, knowing you are enjoying each others company. Not so glad to hear the reason she has flown over. Sad news. Regarding your blogging interest waning. Would hate to see you give up entirely. Why don’t you give yourself permission to have a break from it. No time pressures whatsoever. What makes YOU happy is the most important thing.

  7. It’s unfortunate that your mum is there for a sad occasion but you get bonus time together as a result. I’m sure your friend Margaret would approve.
    Your mum looks great in her outfit. Maybe now she sees that it ‘can’ work she will see for herself again?

  8. I’m right with you on blogging enthusiam. But stay with it as I enjoy your posts. The skirt looks great on your Mum.

  9. Beads and Barnacles 14/06/2016 — 1:33 am

    Sorry for your loss. Your mum looks lovely in her outfit, it must be so nice for her to wear something that will remind her of you.
    And wrt the blogging don’t sweat it. Just come back when you feel like it.

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