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Tales from my kitchen table…

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Once upon a time there was a girl…

I don’t know when I started to like, even love, to sew. I do know that I hated it at school. Needlework for the girls and woodwork for the boys. I remember that we had to choose a pattern – mine was a Butterick pattern of a smock top. I was clearly a style icon back then. I chose colourful flowery pattern on a navy background in a polyester fabric. Yes I said it out loud – polyester. Choice. But at school needlework was beyond boring! I just wanted to go outside and run around or cartwheel across the playground (I was champion cartwheeler in my class I’ll have you know). All that cutting and pinning and marking and more cutting and the tacking! I never finished making that smock. I also failed needlework. And I still hate tacking. Hey ho.

I’m not one of those crafty people who can’t wait to get on the sewing machine to see what amazing creations I can whip up. Truthfully I sometimes go for weeks on end without so much as a pinprick. Then I beat myself up mentally for not being more focussed and driven. But then I remember that I work…hard (teaching at a boys school. Say no more), and I run a household (when I say run I mean ‘gentle stroll’ but you understand don’t you?) that currently is host to my two gorgeous growing-up daughters. I have social life of sorts, places to go and people to see. My life is fairly full, trust me.

What I do know is that when the bug takes me I am well and truly hooked. If I get a germ of an idea about a new design or something I can transform then there’s no stopping me and I cover my kitchen table with fabrics and findings. Since my mother taught me to use her Singer over thirty years ago I have surprised myself (and her to be honest) at the creations I’ve made. I do a couple of craft fairs a year and I try to sell some of my bags online. I’m hardly setting the world alight.

But there’s a smouldering on the horizon…


About Reddskin

New name! New chapter! Follow me over at My name is Ms A. I'm a mother, designer and educator.

24 responses »

  1. @kohsamuirosie

    WOW! we have so much in common! I teach, run-ish a household and was taught to sew on an antique singer! It had a treadle/ pedal thingy. I had so much fun on it.. My first project a beige crimplene(!) dress that had peculiar ties to hold it together at the sides- like a wrap round bit not quite

    • Oooh a treadle/pedal thingy – would have loved to have a go on one of those! polyester and crimplene are definitely Fabrics of the Gods! Thank you for taking the time to not only comment on my first post but managing the FIRST comment too!

  2. You have a lovely writing voice, a pleasure to read and I look forward to visiting your little space on the world wide web in the future.I for one am inspired

    • Sue that’s very sweet. I take an age to get around to do things and this bloggitty blog thang is no exception. Hopefully (when I can work out how to master the technology part) I’ll go from strength to strength!
      *claps hands in an over-excited fashion*

  3. Welcome! Delighted you’ve finally taken the plunge and blogged! I also learned on a Singer too when I was 8 – my nana gave it to my mum. I actually wish we’d held onto it as I’m sure it’s worth a lot. I started out sewing ‘couture’ outfits for Barbie & Sindy. My brother learned as well and now works in fashion so we definitely had the bug. I love sewing but go through bursts and major draughts due to being time poor. Must get my mojo back.

    I love that your ‘realness’ comes across. Keep it up and look forward to more posts xxx

    • Nat you have NO FREAKING IDEA how much of your influence and inspiration is in this venture. Thanks for your welcome its so much appreciated! In fact you’ve reminded me that I used to make dresses for my Barbie and Tressy (with the ‘growing’ hair!). I’m sure I made a leopardprint fur coat for one of them once…or maybe that’s just wishful thinking!
      Keep pushing me, lady!
      k xx

  4. I love your bags! I was the same at school – in fact it put me off, even though my Granny taught me to sew when I was little. I used to watch her on her old Singer for hours.

    Love your new blog! x

    • Thank you Liz! I love that you use to watch your Granny sew! I wonder how many other people were put off sewing my their tedious needlework lessons at school. Funnily enough I currently teach textiles to boys. Making sock monkeys and cushions! They seem to enjoy it as much as I do…hope so?! *slightly worried face*

  5. Lucie Murtagh

    Great – lovely warm writing style.

    I haven’t forgotten our summer swaps – some print for some sewing expertise. Xxxxx

  6. Yay! You now have a blog! I’m so happy I can read all your adventures in one place πŸ˜‰ I hated needlework at school I don’t think they taught real sewing at all. I managed to teach myself to sew in 2005 after discovering Etsy and craft blogs! I thought it was my destiny to make a living sewing. Obviously that didn’t happen mainly because I’m nowhere near technically good enough but I do love being able to make fun things for my kids.
    Congratulations on your fab new blog and we’ll catch up soon x

  7. I know it’s a bit exciting isn’t it? Got lots of ideas for posts just need to see how it all pans out. School and boring needlework lessons seems to be a recurring theme here! Such a shame.
    Thanks for lovely comments and your never-ending support, Isa.
    k xx

  8. I throw things out rather than sew and repair, I hate it! I don’t even remember doing it at school but at our middle school the girls did woodwork aswell!

    • Yes I fear I may have attended school in the medieval times. As for throwing out, I come from a household where that was impossible! My mum can find a use for almost anything way past it’s original one. I do throw (don’t tell mum) but not without pangs of guilt and a silent sorry!
      Thanks for your comment!

  9. Well done you, lovely post! Being 5’3 I have spent a lifetime taking up the hem on pairs of trousers. Now starting to contemplate fancy dress outfits (for the kids, not me. Maybe me).

    • Thank you! Fancy dress are a fairly simple way to practice your sewing skills without worrying too much about perfection. Fabulous idea! And you should *totally* make fancy dress costumes for yourself… maybe just wait a while before you, say, wear them out ok?

  10. Congratulations…I am very proud of you and do wish you good luck. lovely post.
    I too hated needlework at school and I am sorry now that I did not take it in.
    I really enjoyed reading your tales from the kitchen
    table, you know, you could write a book.

    • Thank you Aunty Marion that means a great deal. Glad you enjoyed my first post. I hope to write a great deal more and hope you like them too! Book wise? I think I shall stick to reading.
      Go safely.
      k xxx

  11. Yay! So glad you’re writing and I found you!

    I can’t sew. I learnt to hem trousers last summer. I haven’t done it since and not sure I’ll remember how! I ❀ wundaweb πŸ™‚

    Maybe you'll inspire me!

    • Hemming trousers isn’t as easy a task as you make it sound….especially if you’re not a natural sewer…so well done you for even having a go! I hope I can inspire you – perhaps you can suggest something (easy) you’d like to make and I can write some instructions? you never know you may fall in love with sewing just as I have?!
      Thank you for your lovely comments.

  12. great stuff. And I also learnt on an old singer treadle, and made clothes for Barbie and Skipper (Barbie’s younger sister, still have her) Childhood in rural Australia was exactly the same. My treacle sewing skills have come in handy in the past few years. I LOVE sewing. Only the computer keeps me away from it. xxx

    • Susie I am humbled in your presence! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m impressed you still have Skipper! Does she have a whole wardrobe of beautiful clothes now?
      k xxx

  13. I am so, so pleased that you have started blogging. Love you and love your work xxx


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