Sunday, 3 November 2013

Sewing: a bountiful harvest

What on earth is this slightly blurry pile of fabrics? My mum and aunt sorted through my Nanny's old sewing things. She was one of 11 girls and many of them sewed for necessity, some for a job. Most of the fabric is from the '70s or earlier, polyester or similar, from markets or sewing factories in the East End of London. Now that may not sound too exciting, but this is my heritage dear readers! And this is also future superhero capes, dressing-up outfits and dens. Now that's exciting.
 Look at that: just for the record, the pile of fabric reached 80cm on my metre rule. That's a lot of synthetics my friend. You can also see the top fabric which is my favourite, and one of the few that I would have actually bought myself. But hold on, is it just fabric in my bountiful harvest?
Ribbons and zips, elastic and trims, threads and ric-rac, bias tape and lace. Oh my! My mum thinks most of the thread will snap if I try to use it, old as it is, but I'm keeping it anyway. I think she thought I'd throw half of it away but I feel strangely attached to this motley crew of sewing leftovers. I never thought I had a lot in common with my Nanny, but the older I get, the more I find to attach me to her. And I like the thought of those 11 sewing sisters, only one of whom is now left, passing that sewing heritage down through their blood and history to me. Even if it is a polyester heritage. I won't be a snob about it - half of me is Essex after all!
I've already made the Little One a pirate costume, and crikey if that synthetic fabric isn't brilliant for a quick dress-up sew. No hemming required, hoorah! And I have plans to fully embrace my heritage by turning the fake white leather into a handbag. Hello Essex in me, it's nice to have you around.

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