Sewing rules from Mum

Mum was a making genius. Not only was her imagination incredible, she also had a special talent for bringing these ideas to life. From home sewn school dresses to mathematically correct Egyptian pyramids, fairy castle birthday cakes and all that’s in between. Craft was her thang. She was particularly talented at sewing and was determined to pass on her skills. At the tender age of 5, mum walked me down into the village to visit an antiques shop. She’d had her eye on a vintage hand turn sewing machine. Mum made a solid £10 investment and I started to make my own clothes, bags and dolls outfits. I was addicted to sewing.

Alongside all the other mountains of wisdom mum imparted, were some serious rules and regs when it came to textiles. Here are some key making mantras to consider:

Tidy up FIRST Yeh, I know right? Why would you tidy up when all hell is about to break loose in your dining room?! I’ll tell ya why – Making should be a calm, fun activity. Imagine the stress of being halfway through a tricky seam and discovering that you’ve lost your pins! Stay calm, enjoy your craft and keep things tidy. 

Scissors on the table When cutting fabric, keep your scissors on the table. Waving your blades around in the air makes for dodgy curves and even dodgier sewing!

Trace your patterns You’ve just bought a brand new pattern for that timeless shift dress. Don’t chop it up! Trace it off and use the pattern again and again, or pass it on to pals. Sharing’s caring.

Match your threads Sewing up a grey tote bag with white thread isn’t going to look too hot, especially if your new to this sewing thing and your seams are on the wonk. Avoid future disappointment and cover up those “whoops!” moments with perfectly matching threads.

Pre-wash your fabric Wash that lovely linen or perfect cotton before you cut out your project. This allows for fabric shrinkage and side step that awful moment when you put your garm back on after a wash and you feel like that pizza at the weekend was a bad idea. Pizza is always a good idea.

PRESS PRESS PRESS No, seriously. Pressing your project at every stage will make your pattern pieces fit together better and your seams neater. Sometimes ironing does the job of pinning too, so it can save so much time.

 “This is all very good advice, but why should I listen to my mum, she can’t sew?” I hear you cry! 

Everyone’s mum has something special to pass on. It might be the recipe for her famous blueberry pancakes, or how to fold a fitted sheet (no really, any help on that one is appreciated). You never know when you’ll need those nuggets of gold! So take my advice, sit down with your mum this Mother’s Day, or give her a call, and ask for some wisdom. I bet you she’ll be chuffed to share it with you.

Rosie Drake-Knight