Why I schlepped my sewing machine to London: Exhibits A and B

28 Jan

So my generally decent ability to pack light went flying out the window on this trip, resulting in excess baggage fees, having to take two cabs from airport to flat, and my poor husband exercising remarkable self-control with his temper and frustration at how much I insisted on bringing with us.  It also resulted in, upon unpacking, lots of holding things up and exclaiming, “why on earth did I bring this?” or “I definitely could live without THIS.”  This was fairly disheartening, as I like to think of myself as someone who could very happily live with very little, but one thing I definitely do NOT regret bringing is my sewing machine.  This was a production and required a special suitcase.  And of course I had to bring all the notions, scissors, thread, and a rather considerable stack of fabrics I’ve been anxious to find projects for.  And I’ve already been very pleased to have all of the above here in the flat.

First, I had to set up a serviceable, but much like the kitchen, smaller than ideal, workspace.  This is in the second bedroom which also serves as the nursery (for changing, dressing, and sometimes playing, he’s still sleeping in our room), occasionally an office for Eric, and eventually the guest room.

My first project was a pair of little shoes for Everett.  I made some for him before Christmas and then proceeded to leave them at home (go figure, given the packing saga described above).  So I wanted something to hold his socks on!  I made them a bit bigger than the old ones (which his Mombee just sent, thank you!) and they’re actually too big now, but I like how they turned out.  The fabric is from a pair of my favorite trousers that got worn out in a few places.

Next, I decided I really needed to make some pillow covers for the throw pillows that were here in the flat.  They were just awful, made from some woven fabric in orange and brown.   Besides being ugly, I shudder to think what kind of dust and stuff must have collected there, who knows how long  they’ve been here, and we were rather reluctant to lay our heads on them.  I brought lots of fabric with me and made some very quick covers in just one evening.  My goal was threefold–1) cover the pillows; 2) make them fast so as not to waste precious London time; and 3) make them in such a way that as much of the fabric as possible can be used again after we leave.  They’re all envelope style, so basically I just took a piece of fabric that was the width of the pillow plus a little seam allowance, and long enough to wrap all the way round with a several inches overlapping to make an envelope style case.  One hem on each end (or in the case of two, just the selvedge–now that’s cheating!) then folded over and sewn up each side.  And, voila, pillows I actually want to lay my head on and a much brightened apartment!  Here’s how they turned out:

Before: the ugly orange and brown scratchy pillows


The first three recovered!

The last three recovered!


Two new pillows in the window chairs

A close-up of the selvedge edge that I didn't even re-hem to make the two biggest pillow covers (I love this fabric from Hobby Lobby of all places)

This pillow was slightly different because I made it from a wrap skirt my mom got me on some trip but which never fit me well.  It’s also what’s draped on the ironing board above.  I rather like it as a pillow!


Posted by on January 28, 2011 in At Home, My Projects


3 responses to “Why I schlepped my sewing machine to London: Exhibits A and B

  1. Andrea Baldwin

    January 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Hey—that’s hand-batiked fabric from……some island in the Caribbean…can’t remember which. It was a very cool place where they have big vats of dyes set up, they drop wax on the parts of fabric they don’t want to soak up the dye in a multitude of patterns, then soak the cloth. It’s a multi-stepped process and they make the most beautiful, colorful fabrics into all sorts of shirts, dresses, skirts, etc…and sell them to the tourists. Anyway–glad to see you finally found a use for it!

    Love your pillows, and the little shoes. Glad you’ve been able to set up there! Thanks for blogging….MomBee loves it! Need some Everett pics…and a Skype soon!


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