school dresses, jeans & patchwork evenings

Life has been busy lately and my very shoddy patchwork is my way of re-claiming some slow-pace, relaxing time for myself. DSC_4464

I’m using any scraps of material that appeal to my eye and hand-sewing large squares very simply together. Patches of Ruby’s first red gingham school-dress is being added to some sixties style fabric leftover from an apron I made for her; there are scraps from an old dress of mine that had too many holes even for gardening, a stripy apron that even I had to admit was too torn for use but that I’d loved and a few baby dresses. I like mixing the prettiness of some of these fabrics with patches from old worn jeans.

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They’re all sewn together in my very basic style, the idea being that I can mindlessly sew while listening to music or watching TV in the evening. My patchwork is growing very slowly (the busy work stuff again) but I’m hoping that eventually it’ll be big enough for a small throw that I can back with fleece and that Ruby can snuggle under to watch a film or read a book.

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I was prompted to start my patchwork a few months ago after reading an interview with Emma Bridgewater in ‘Country Living’ magazine. I’m very partial to her hand painted mugs and jugs and was inspired to read about the quilt that she’d made for her daughter, Margaret. Made out of much-loved bits of fabric collected over the shirts from scraps of her late mother’s purple sarong to old shirts from Provence belonging to her husband, Matthew Rice, the quilt had a similar homely charm to Emma’s lovely earthenware.

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But what I really loved about Emma’s quilt was the memories entwined in it. Emma said that she’d sat sewing the quilt, which is finished with the words, “Keep very cosy, darling Margaret,” while watching favourite films over the years. When she looks at it she can hear the soundtracks from those films as well as treasuring the memories of her loved ones wearing those clothes.

Hoping that one day Ruby will be kept cosy by a mixture of her first school dresses and my old aprons. Sewn together by her shoddy but enthusiastic Mum using the pin cushion made from an old yoghurt pot that Ruby made for me at Rainbows for Mother’s day.

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Thanks to Chava again for pics taken when she visited (all apart from the pic of Emma Bridgewater from Country Living feature). My camera has recently completely given up. I’m hoping to buy a new one very soon – so my amateur pics will be back shortly!

 

 

 

 

 

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19 thoughts on “school dresses, jeans & patchwork evenings

  1. Andrea, that’s beautiful! Are you sewing all the pieces together by hand? That’s a very big job, but I can certainly understand how it would be therapeutic! I once made a crazy quilt skirt – do you remember that fad? 🙂

    • Yes by hand – maybe I am a tad optimistic! The pleasure’s as much in the making of this one though. I do remember patchwork skirts, how fab! Wish I was better at sewing & could tackle something like that.

  2. Lovely post, childhood is so fleeting, what a precious memory you are creating. I have very fond memories of the things made for me, in my childhood.Wonderful stuff !

  3. That’s a lovely idea and I’m sure Ruby will love the finished project. My sister crocheted a large bedcover for her daughter – it took months, but my niece is absolutely thrilled with it, and the thought of all the loving hard work that went into it will always remain.

  4. The best sort of quilt is one that holds memories – much better than when people buy fabric just to cut up and sew together (never really understood that). I made a quilt for my niece in Australia and on a piece of paper stuck little squares of the fabric with their history – her cousin’s dress or leftover fabric from granny’s cushion.
    Don’t forget to sign and date your quilt.

  5. I’m terrible at getting round to sorting through old clothes, we do give some away and take carrier bags when I remember to charity shops but I still have lots in the attic. At least my disorganisation is coming in handy now!

  6. I don’t think I have the patience for sewing a quilt like this but would dearly like to try. There’s something about a quilt that a duvet of a blanket can’t rival especially one filled with memories. That pin cushion is so precious too.

  7. Given my (very) limited creative skills, I’m admiring your quilt, and feeling slightly guilty that my daughter won’t have the patchwork of memories that Ruby will enjoy.

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