Monday, November 21, 2005

pins and needles

I have finally twigged why I have this seemingly unreasonable aversion to the idea of acupuncture... years of my Granny Dunford making me summer dresses which involved trying on half made items full of pins and alterations being made whilst wearing them, half the pins going into me as well as the material (Dad is bound to say I'm exagerating about half, but believe me at the time it felt like it, and anyway he wasn't the one feeling a live voodoo doll even if I probably didn't know what one was at the time).

What brought about this stunning revelation? Well today I am feeling ridiculously proud of myself and wishing I could ring up Granny to tell her (I'm about 14 years too late for that). Quite where the sudden burst of creative energy and inspiration came from I'm not entirely sure - one minute I was sitting on the sofa reading a book, the next rifling through a pile of old bed linen that had been set aside for dust sheets...

There is only one duvet cover in the house for my bed (being double, all the others are single) I am assured that as washing dries so quickly here, and anyways there's a tumble drier now in the garage, that one is quite sufficient as it can be off the bed, washed, dried and back on again the same day. Now this assumes that I remember to put the washing on early enough, that it doesn't get left out in the rain and that I remember to bring it in before bedtime - so far my track record is not looking good. So I had been wondering about making a duvet cover out of some of the odds and ends of bedding that is kicking about in a cupboard - stuff that never gets used as none of it matches etc (which when you are running a bed & breakfast matters more than I'd worry about usually). I'd been decidedly uninspired on the duvet making front but had found some 70's print sheets and pillowcases which were they in better nick would probably fetch a fortune in the retro shops in Edinburgh, great material (honest!) but not exactly what I want to wake up to every morning (nor big enough once you'd cut out the worn patches) so they'd stayed in the cupboard.

As I said where the inspiration came from I've no idea - the book I was reading was set in the 50's and year 2000 (one of those flashback plots) so I can't even blame that - but I got the idea for making a top out of some of the material. Having not done any sewing in terms of clothes for about 15 years or more, and never having made a top in my life, not to mention being totally bereft of patterns I had a go first cutting up an old plain white pillowcase using a top I had as a guide figuring that if I stuffed up it wouldn't matter. Voila (several hours later) a sleeveless top that fits, even has darts in (and this is me who can't even plait my hair looking in a mirror managing to put pins in without drawing blood) and whilst the material has seen better days it doesn't look that bad and might even get worn in public! Feeling somewhat emboldened by this success I tried again with some print material, it's pink and flowery - yes, you did read that right, the kind of thing I'd never have been seen dead wearing for so many years that even Mum gave up trying to persuade me to go for something more girlie. But sadly my pale pink blouse that I've worn sooo much over the last three years has finally given up the ghost due to the less than gentle breeze blowing the washing on the line and I was feeling deprived of what probably amounts to the only really girlie thing I owned. So now I have a (get this!) fully fitted halterneck top - darts back and front! I've never had one before 'cos I'm the wrong shape for the ones you buy in the shops, I never seem to go out far enough in the bust or in far enough at the waist. Ok so I now have a rather impressive collection of fine scratches on my back which looks like Banjo has been sleeping on top of me again (my cat back in Scotland for those who don't know and might have been getting worried!) from trying to get the thing on and off whilst still full of pins, but hey they'll heal (hopefully before I try wearing the top outwith the house...). Well that should sort out some of the stripiness of my suntan anyway, or at least add some interesting variations.

I'd been thinking about having a go at making my own clothes after being so impressed with Alice's 'plain clothes' at WGYF. I'm not sure I'd go completely for the traditional style (similar to the Amish) but lets face it if I'm making it it sure aint going to be fancy (and one of her bonnets sure would keep my hair out of my face in the wind - and today it is enough to put wicked witches in danger of being squashed by houses). The white top when worn with my long grey skirt does make me look as though I have gone down that path (but I don't think Plain Friends tend to go for hipster waistlines) and I've been asked often before when wearing that skirt if I 'have to wear it' because I'm a Quaker which makes me laugh as it was bought in the cheapy clothes shop in Dalkeith - hardly a hotbed of puritanical thought or practice.

But as another part of my personal commitment to simplicity was to not own any more clothes than I need I'll probably not be making anything else for a while, unless of course I can figure out how my grey skirt was made in which case I could be tempted...


kt said...

remind us with a photo of the skirt and I'll send you a pattern :)

Anne Dunford said...

I'm impressed! Your Granny Dunford would have been proud of you.
(I remember a certain pair of trousers made from orange striped curtain material when you were a student - latent talent coming to the surface again - what next?)