MIY March 2020 Intro

Hello, it’s been a while since I blogged. In truth that is because I have been going through a bad patch with my health and haven’t been sewing so have withdrawn in order to protect myself from the disappointment that inability brings. I’m knitting though as it can be done on the lap though not when one is supine, I’ve tried it but it doesn’t work.

I’m prompted to blog for MIYMarch which has been a sewing community challenge hosted by Wendy Ward and Emma Miles over the past few years. It’s the thing that gave me the confidence to dip my toe into social media and post along and was a great way to see what other makers get up to given the daily prompts. It’s not like that this year, it’s slower – a weekly thing and more considered and Wendy is encouraging us to blog if we can in response to the prompts. I think it’s a good idea to take it into the blogosphere and off the grid because Instagram is generally a very busy sensory overloaded environment where the written word is often overlooked. The intention behind a post can get lost in the imagery.

So here I am, Josie from Lancashire but no longer living there. As you might have gathered I’m a shut in maker, of the knitting and sewing persuasion mainly. I have multiple autoimmune syndrome which has a degenerative effect on my abilities, for example I can achieve less now than I could a year ago, that sort of thing. I make mainly to maintain a sense of worth that I can have control over something where I don’t in the realms of health and things I can’t achieve in a regular sense. It’s a compensation. A pay off. Though I’m able to do little of that of late, especially sewing, knitting is thankfully a saving grace. It’s important for mental wellness to be able to have the distraction of making I find, if not anxiety can creep in. So that’s why I’m a maker.

I’ve always made though, even as a child – out of scraps. That’s probably why I do so now because that’s how I’m wired up. I know in years past my pieced together garments of many colours have been frowned upon, deemed clownish. Not that I have ever cared. Lately though, I’m seeing a lot more patchworked and refashioned garments popping up on my window to the world, Instagram. It doesn’t seem too uncouth by the general populous to use their scraps, it’s becoming the norm even. I get why that is, it’s such a buzz making something from nothing!

I’ve made lots of experimental shit in my past, some of it has worked and some of it hasn’t so when that happens I tend to remake my blimps. Up until I joined Instagram, I had never taken part in a sewing challenge and nowadays I’m very unlikely to again. For example I made this hideous pinafore using one of my Grandma’s curtains:

It wasn’t really that bad but I only wore it twice

So when that went only twice worn I decided to refashion it for #remademay but this wasn’t much better either:

This was a Grainline Farrow, the baby cord just didn’t sit right in the centre section – too much bulk and pucker.

Then, disgusted with myself for making such a hash of this with my Grandma’s fabric, I pieced together what was left and used scraps of terracotta overdyed fabric to make a self drafted button front dress, in the style of what I had wanted the Hinterland dress pattern to be:

This is now a dream dress and gets lots of wear and was worth the third time of making it took me to get there.

I suppose what I’m driving at is, I try not to give up on my sewing projects and move onto something easier or fresh because I’m hardwired to make the most of what I have.

Sewing can be quite an expensive pursuit from what I’ve observed and making the latest pattern in the nicely photographed (and filtered) fabric from sewing retailers can cost a small fortune. It needn’t be this way, to sew you don’t have to have a disposable income. You can make unique garments by sewing with what you have to hand or sharing with neighbours for example. Only yesterday did my neighbour Ann give me another Abraham Moon sample book of wool (I’m saving them up to make a jacket at some point – it’s healthy for me to still make plans despite not being able to undertake them)

It terms of wearability my most worn items are my pyjamas because often dressing for the day is beyond me. These too are made out of scraps. And a donated curtain that’s been overdyed. I’ve also used some tea towels for the yoke, cuffs and pocket.


Anyway, that’s enough from me for now. Thanks for reading.