Category Archives: dress

Summer in the City

As the temperature cranked up to ‘scorchio‘ last week I realised that I needed another dress for the summer as it was clearly going to last for more than three days at the start of July. So I abandoned my auntie-Mabel dress and rushed out to Fabricland for  blue polka dots (about £3.50 a metre – total price for dress £10).
Less Cox and Baloney. More Mud Dock Café.
So that’s where we went to cool off when the thermometer hit 32 degrees, sitting on the balcony overlooking the water after my (un)trusty machine  had done its best and knocked together a frock for Friday. Again. Against all odds. That machine shouldn’t really be here at all. It’s a functioning miracle, still working away when it should be sitting with its metaphorical machine legs up watching ‘Cash in the Attic’, enjoying a nice up of tea and a digestive biscuit. Oh, and what a surprise, it’s churned out another V8555. Like all old machines it’s not good with change…

no jacket required (isn’t that an album by Phil Collins?!)


I hate to say it but say it I will – ‘ship shape and Bristol fashion’. There. I’ve said it and I promise I’ll never say it again…


Move over Mr Darcy the Mud Dock cappuccino is here…

Workmen and tools…

Excuse the unintended euphemism. No, the title of this post is more to do with the quality of my seamstressship ( 3 s’s…?!). No, let’s re-write that – ‘seamstress-ship’. Hm. In fact let’s completely re-write that – let’s say ‘quality of my sewing’. I have for weeks, to those unfortunate enough to be around me, gone on about the substandard nature of my sewing machine. Inherited from my father who had given it to my mother who had given it straight back to him, no doubt in horror, I have used the 40+ year old Brother machine to indulge my new-found passion and I fear that it has been holding me back.
Indeed, to say it has served me well would be a lie – it’s slow, limited and … slack. I accept that the tension should be something that I could remedy myself. Add to that  my mother-in-law’s criticism of  my knitting as ‘slack’  which forever haunts me ( ‘ a problem there is no cure for’. Apparently…) and you can see why I also fear that the ‘needs improvement’ grading for my sewing might be my fault. Not the machine’s.
Despite my protestations and taunts of  ‘Stupid machine’ I can sense that the menfolk in my house think that it’s me.

And Thursday night was no different. The machine was playing up. Really playing up and I was threatening to replace it. Then, as I was nearing the completion of a pink gingham frock (ready for Friday),  just one side of the zip to sew into place, I saw a light. Not ‘the’ light , you understand, that’s for my other Blog, but ‘a‘ light.

 I took my foot off the metal pedal ( can you see where I’m going with this yet?) , looked around and could see nothing. Odd. I put my foot down again, hands in position to feed the zip and fabric through. My head was down, willing the machine not to fail me now.  Instantly I caught a lightning flash from the corner of my eye.

I stopped again. This time I could smell burning. I looked around. No extra light to be seen. Hmm. I felt sure that it was the ‘stupid machine’   but as I couldn’t actually see the problem I decided to press on ahead. I’d nearly finished after all. I bent over to rub my bare foot ( got it yet?) . At least alert to a possible problem at this point, when my foot pushed on the pedal I looked down and saw what I initially thought were flames coming from beneath the floorboards. Yes, flaming floorboards. Thankfully my instincts are sharper than my brain and I swiftly removed my bare foot from the metal pedal.  The now overpowering smell of burning compelled me to unplug the sewing machine and put some slippers on.
But as I looked down at my nearly sewn in zip I contemplated, albeit fleetingly, wrapping a towel around the metal pedal and carrying on valiantly. Gloriously. Stupidly. I picked up the metal pedal and sniffed it. Hopefully. But it was ‘dead’. I told myself that I would never have done anything so foolish as to forge ahead. Ha, ha, ha. Flaming floorboards…

I placed the metal pedal on the table laying it out gently as if it were a dead bird that I hoped to resuscitate. Half-understood stories of phoenixes, flames and ashes invaded my mind. ‘I didn’t mean it,’ I said, ‘I didn’t really want to buy a new machine.’

Still, I had to finish the dress for the following day.  I hunted down a sewing needle, threaded it ( after 3 minutes of trying, nearly sick with the concentration of focusing to see the eye. Bizarrely no time to find my glasses…) and spent the next hour sewing in the rest of the zip by hand. Very badly. 

My Flaming Floorboards Dress

Reminds you of a pair of curtains? There could be a reason for that…
Pink Gingham for Frock Friday
Material from the curtain selection at Calico, Bedminster, Bristol
about £7 a metre.
I usually wear a cardigan with this one…
POSTSCRIPT – for those of you who are seriously concerned about the metal pedal, I did not manage to revive it, nor did I even try. Instead I have replaced it with a plastic one. Much safer.
The Brother sewing machine lives on to sew another dress.