Thoughts on a toddler’s skirt (and other things)

I am short, fat and old.

I haven’t always been either fat or old – in fact, those two seemed to creep up on me hand in hand, along with whiskers on my chin and cataracts.

I’ve always been short, though, and had difficulty getting clothes that fitted me, being barely 5ft tall, So it was sensible for me to maintain and extend my sewing skills first as a student, then working in medicine and technology. I suppose I’ve been sewing for a total of around 50 years now – with a couple of multi-year hiatuses (hiati?) when I was not in a situation where I needed to sew, such as living in Asia with access to cheap, competent dressmakers.

For many years, though, I sewed almost ‘in secret’. Well, not quite ‘in secret’, but no-one talked about it, did they? Sewing for oneself was thought to be a bit weird; doing a bit of mending and alterations was an acceptable reason to have a sewing machine, and if you lived in an old house with non-standard windows, you hoped that your mother still had hers and remembered how to use it, but anything else was a throwback to hippy days and a warning sign that you might start knitting your own organic wholewheat yoghurt at any time.

How things have changed – thank goodness!

Sewing still doesn’t have the internet presence enjoyed by knitting and other yarny arts – for one thing,it’s not as portable or spontaneous, thus making a smooth transition between on-line and real-life socialising somewhat less easy than with knitting or crochet, where Ravelry reigns internationally and it’s easy to say to someone you meet knitting in a cafe or the park or on the bus ‘I’m so-and-so on Rav’.

But even despite this … the information, the patterns, the fabrics, the trims, the haberdashery … for all and every type of sewing imaginable!  Just … BRILLIANT!

And, of course, the blogs.From the ridiculous to the divine, from haute couture to horrible and corsets to camping gear, theirs a wonderful world of creativity with needle and thread out there.

And also – forgive me –  the utter crap out there, too..

I find it … interesting … that someone who’s only got a couple of years experience in sewing would think they are knowledgable enough to draft and sell patterns. Still, I suppose the old adage applies, that in the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. How are the blind to know that their king can’t see properly either? It’s easy for a beginning sewer to get pulled into the clutches of a ‘sewing personality’, especially with the proliferation of reality-type TV shows featuring sewing that havepopped up all around the world.

How is a beginner to know whose instructions to follow, which books to buy, where to get the fabrics? A young mum in the village wanted to sew a little gathered skirt for her toddler daughter and asked me to recommend a book or tutorial, as none of those she’d found herself made any sense and she was overwhelmed by conflicting advice and instructions. I told her I’d write one for her.

I did, she followed it and was over the moon with her success. She printed it out – with my permission – and handed it round all her friends who had little girls, so they could make a skirt for their little one too.

She wanted to know why I didn’t blog such things. I told her, because it’s such common knowledge who would need to know?

Well, I did, for one,” she retorted.


She wanted clear, written instructions right from the get-go, and she was nervous about using the old sewing machine – she’d mended a tear in something, but said she couls only sew straight seams, and most of her friends couldn’t even do that.

So tomorrow, that’s what I’m going to post – the instructions I gave to Laura so she could make a skirt for Ruby. A dinosaur skirt, no less!

There weren’t any photos in the original set of instructions, but if the weather brightens up a bit, and if I can find the SD card for my camera, I’ll do some. I can always use a toddler’s little skirt, even if it’s just to give to the Barnado charity shop.

And I’m trying to make sense of the ongoing Aime comme Marie sewing pattern saga/scandal, so that I can write a couple of sensible, interesting blog posts summarising the history and the ongoing ‘affair’.

Bye for now!


2 thoughts on “Thoughts on a toddler’s skirt (and other things)

  1. I too hope you continue to blog! I love your wit. Are you Dutch by chance? I’ve heard the ‘in the land of the blind’ reference several times from my Dutch national husband!

    I am in whole-hearted agreement on the ‘utter crap’. I am now reviewing the credentials of individuals before I buy patterns after more than once plunking down $10+ for a pattern, $25+ for fabric to end with a completely unwearable garment. There’s a down side of the internet….people looking for information are just as likely get to find “bad” information as good.

    So, keep blogging–would love to read about your makes– candid reviews of patterns for women of age!


  2. So glad you decided to continue this blog beyond the initial reason of that debacle on PR. I read you where I can (GOMI and PR) and look forward to your musings here.


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