Posts Tagged ‘Sewing’

Memoirs of a grateful daughter

If you thought me digging out a sewing project I started in the NINETIES was o.l.d., boy have I got a doozy for you.

As an apprentice sewantista, I also dug out a project my mother always wanted to do. So this project was from the 80s. And if you weren’t alive in the 90s, not only did you miss a lot of good music but you weren’t even being t.h.o.u.g.h.t. about in the 80s…#justsaying (your parents were probably partying it up big time in the 80s #nothelping #stilljustsaying).

I hope it’s everything you wanted for it…

This project has serious sentimental attachment for a number of reasons: my mum died in 94, so she never got time to start or finish this project and it was something she wanted to do; my family has kept this in spite of everything: it’s one of the few things of my mum’s that my Dad didn’t donate to charity within a couple of weeks of her passing (yeah that #stillhurts); to me it represents a life not fulfilled: there were so many things she wanted to do, could have done, but never got the chance or the time or the space to…so I owe it to honour her; and – for a number of reasons – what she wanted to do was on the back burner for my sister and me, and our education and our future, so I OWE her one in ways you cannot even imagine. And I will never be able to repay that debt. Ever.

This project also has sentimental attachment for other reasons: there’s a story about this, which I will get to in the next paragraph. But here’s what we are dealing with:

The project

What you see in the photo above ^, is a series of strips. Each strip is hand painted silk, and together they form a whole piece. What they were was hand-painted silk wallpaper. My Uncle Roger (my mum’s brother, life partner of Uncle John of the onion pudding) worked in interior design in his mis-spent-but-excitingly-spent youth, and this is a souvenir from that time. One of the jobs he had to do, back in the day (I am assuming late 70s, maybe early 80s) was take down this glorious hand-painted silk wallpaper to replace it with something new.

Clearly that was hard to do, and he knew my mum would love it, so he lovingly razored it off the wall and saved it in strips. He either sent it to her, or bought it to her when he visited from the UK (where else in the 70-80 are you going to find people who not only have hand-painted silk wallpaper, but want to replace it with something else?), and it sat on a roll in her wardrobe ever since. It sat there waiting for the day she had time, a sewing machine and supplies to be able to turn it into a wall hanging. Because it is beautiful. And it is also – sorry to be a downer again – but a tragedy she never got the chance to start or finish this vision, and so many other things.

I took the silk when I moved out. So learning how to machine sew was the prompt that I could begin this project, because it needs to be done. Because I need to do it.

It’s quite daunting: so fragile and with so much personal meaning to it. I’d already pieced it out and worked out the sequence, years ago. Once I had bought a complimentary silk thread, I stared the journey:

In the midst of sewing…

The panels together:

I hope it’s everything you wanted for it…

The journey is not complete: I still need to decide on how I am going to back it, and how it will be hung: there is a wall for it in my father’s house. But it’s nice to know it’s come so far:


It will also be nice when it’s done. I have carried this with me for a while and I would like to complete it, and mark it as done. It doesn’t pay my debts, by any means, but it does honour something I need to honour and to mark.


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If you know me well, Dear Reader, you know I update this blog in fits and starts. That happens for a couple of reasons: I have to have time to edit photos, write blog posts…and that usually means holidays; and I also need time (and budget) to do things around my house, or cook, or…stuff, you know? I am on holidays now, so you are about to get a raft of obligatory catch up posts where I fill you in on what I’ve done, what I’ve discovered, what I’ve observed and…stuff, you know?

When I last left you in August, I’d cooked my Uncle (In Law) John’s amazing onion pudding successfully (since then I have cooked it slightly less successfully). Hot tip: don’t overcook it or it will turn into a crumbly but delicious mess. We did have a guest who was 30 minutes late, which didn’t help although she did have good reason for lateness and the pudding was still delicious, if slightly less aesthetically pleasing…so win-win?

Second from the front: a delicious crumbly mess…

Well I’ve been a busy little bee since then, but mostly on unrelated non-housie stuff. HOWEVER, I did get taught how to sew using a sewing machine (eternal thanks to the Garden Goddess), and with not one but two working sewing machines at my call, I spend much of September…sewing.

I sewed belt loops onto pants, mended skirts and dresses, turned dresses into skirts and…well. I did a lot.

I ALSO resuscitated a project I started in the 90s, where I hand-dyed a bunch of cotton with the aim of making a reversible quilt cover. The intent at the time was to make a patched quilt cover and pillows, like one of those hippie-quilts you could buy in those days (if you were even alive in those days) but much simpler and with less froufrou (e.g. no fucking tie-dye, no fucking prints of dolphins or fairies or peace symbols or whaf-fucking-ever. It was naff then, hasn’t come out of naff now. If you like that sort of tripe, I’m sorry you were offended but I am not sorry I wrote it. #rantover).

Segue #nuffsaid

Soooo, over 20 years on: I finished piecing together one side of the quilt with my newfound machine sewing skillz, but the other side requires more dye (I think I spent $100 of 90s money dyeing the one side, I shudder to think what it will cost to finish the other side in 20-teen prices…maybe a kidney?). Plus the desire to have it on my bed as a quilt cover and pillows has…somewhat abated. So now I am going to buy batting and a back cover and turn each side into a throw…eventually. You can’t rush these things, and I’ve only been working on this for about…two decades, so I’ll finish it when I goddamn finish it mmmkay.

The nineties are alive and living in patchouli scented Dianella


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