So this was me all set in front of the machine ready to go, what a scary moment!!
First touch of the pedal was terrifying, first I didn't press hard enough so the machine just whirred and clicked, then I pressed too hard and just about sewed my finger. But eventually I found my pace and was actually sewing!!
The first thing I realised was that my Mothers sewing machine HATES ME.
Looks all nice and white and innocent doesn't it, but it's don't let that fool you, this machine is evil. The little bit that sticks out the foot kept hitting my fingers, the thread kept tangling up even though I did nothing wrong and every time I relaxed a tiny bit the machine would very slowly sneak my fabric into a different direction.
Note to self: when your Mother is holding the fabric right under the needle and says 'put the foot down' she means the foot on the machine, NOT your foot on the pedal. I tried telling her that it was the machines fault but she wouldn't believe me.
After lots and lots of swearing (mostly me at the machine) I really got going, flying down the long seam straight and steady feeling very proud of myself I then realised that it wasn't actually putting any stitches in the fabric. Mother to the rescue as my bobbin had run out and in her words
'I'll do it, you'll just break it. . . again'
I haven't broken it yet! How am I supposed to know that if the levers not at the top when you take your fabric out it will tangle up and stick?? I am a complete and utter novice which my darling Mother keeps forgetting.
A couple of evenings spent doing battle with the machine and I've sewn all my main panels and the pole casings, just the front panels to do then the complicated bit will begin!!
When this is all over you will find me curled in the teepee clutching a glass of wine and weeping with relief.
After A LOT of procrastinating I've finally started work on this project, I've always worked better with a deadline looming and I now have one month to make this teepee.
I've read quite a few blogs where the authors have made this in a couple of days but they actually know how to sew so have a distinct advantage!
Armed with a shiny new pair of scissors Mum turned up for my first sewing lesson. Where we quickly discovered I know absolutely nothing, Mrs Campbell's home economics sewing class 15 years ago has failed me completely.
After Mum repeatedly telling me she would help me but would not do it for me it was time to pin the pattern to the fabric, one pin in and I've already done something wrong. According to Mum there is a certain way to put a pin in
This is wrong:
This is correct:
Really?? What's the difference?! Both hold the pattern to the fabric so why does it matter if it's pointing to the corner or not. But Mum has the knowledge so I carry on pinning the way she tells me (feeling like a little child again!)
Scary moment now! Time to start cutting,
Mum: "stop pussy footing about and just cut it"
So I did, apparantly my hand was in the wrong place and didn't make big enough cuts each time but I got it all cut out, 3 brown panels, 2 green and contrast panels for the doors.
Before removing the pattern from each piece of fabric Mum informs me I need to do tailor tacks to mark the points on the pattern
Me "tailor tacks?"
Mum "yes, just put in tailor tacks"
Me "repeating it's not going to make it any clearer, what the hell is a tailor tack"
At which point I think Mum is really regretting agreeing to help.
One quick lesson later and I'm busy putting in my tailor tacks. By the last panel my pattern has become really weak and is starting to come apart in places but I get there.
So I've now got the entire pattern cut out and tailor tacked. Now I just have to sew the teepee (and learn how to use a sewing machine) easy?!
On a more positive note how cute is the hedgehog fabric!!
So we've finally settled into the new house and unpacked!
I've even found the fabric samples!
One of the main reasons I wrote this blog was to give me the motivation to keep going with this project and not just give up (as my mother is expecting haha!)
So I'm back on track and going to order my fabric this weekend,
I WILL DO THIS!!
I was determined to make this teepee on my own sewing machine gifted to me by a seamstress in the local kilt shop whilst I was at university. Mum thinks that we should use her new shiny machine that she got for christmas.
But mine is just beautiful. . .
However having turned the house upside down and cleared out every cupboard I have definitely and without a shadow of a doubt lost the pedal and plug for it. So unless I can source one soon, mum will be winning this round. Let's hope eBay doesn't let me down!
So lots of lovely little packages have been arriving and in a break from packing up the house I decided to have a little peek.
I'm leaning towards a woodland theme at the moment as there really are some beautiful patterns and colour combinations out there and these are a lovely high quality.
However the next parcel I opened contained a beautiful starry fabric which glows in the dark, how magical would that be?!
This is a lighter fabric though, so not sure how strong it would be.
So I took the pattern to Mums to show her exactly what it was I had recruited her to help with.
This did not go well.
Mostly it involved Mum cackling with laughter whilst I got increasingly confused, the pattern pieces became even more mixed up and the air increasingly blue with my language. (I think if I introduce a swear box at this stage I'll have covered the cost of the materials and more before I've even started)
By the time Atholl woke from his nap I had made a few discoveries;
1. Mum works in inches and yards whilst I work in cm and meters, this means she has been reading the English instructions whilst I have been struggling with the French.
2. This pattern uses A LOT of material.
3. Patterns are confusing! Especially big ones. There are bits to attach to other bits, bits to be doubled and some other instructions that might as well be written in another language. (Other than French)
I also have to be careful with the ridiculously fragile paper as I have to use some of the pieces 5 times over. This means I'm going to have to be patient and delicate.(haha)
When we eventually put the pattern away and started to discuss fabric it really hit me exactly how much I am out of my depth, when Mum asked me which material Id like to use I think she was expecting more than 'Fabric' as a response. Having spent a long time looking at various fabric online I've decided that a trip to town will be required as there is just no substitute for being able to see/ feel the fabrics.
Some of the online companies do a great free sample service and I'm expecting quite a few little parcels over the next few days.
Ebay was also good for browsing fabrics with many sellers also offering sample services, except for one particular Ebay seller whose response to my sample request was
"We don't do that, letters cost money don't you know."
There's no need to be rude.
Cant wait to pick the fabric, although this will be a challenge in itself as there are so many pretty ones out there!
Having bought butterwick pattern B4251 I then began to think about what I was actually considering and this brought up a number of issues…
Making the teepee myself is in no way a money saving exercise, fabric is expensive! Especially when you have to buy a large amount and can’t rely on end of roll off cuts.
Atholls 2nd birthday is in July, I have a lot on between now and then, not to mention the fact we are in the middle of moving house.
I can’t sew. There I said it. My sewing experience is limited to first year home economics and even then I wasn’t very good (well according to one particular witch of a teacher anyway).
And lastly. .
There is no way I can do this without some help, so I approached the one person I have always relied on, my Mum, who has (with a lot of doubtful laughter) agreed to ‘help’
"I’m not going to end up doing the whole thing for you like that bloody scarf idea you had last time”
Whilst I love my 20 month old little boy and cherish every moment with him, my favourite time of day has to be that little time just after lunch when I get to drink an entire undisturbed hot cup of tea as he sleeps soundly recharging his energy for his afternoon adventures.
It was during this little break, whilst enjoying my second cup of tea and doing the usual daily Facebook trawl that I came across a wonderful little company called Just For Tiny People. (See link below)
They produce amazing wooden hideaways, hand made cushions, bedding, bunting and most of all the most beautiful childrens teepees. The talented Effie who runs it really understands how much children enjoy having their own space to let their imagination run riot.
After returning to the page on numerous occasions and browsing through the many individual designs and pricing plans I eventually persuaded my husband that this was something our little boy NEEDED.
I found myself obsessing with teepees, looking online at all different designs and colours when I stumbled across butterwick pattern B4251 for childrens teepee and for some impulsive reason clicked buy it now. So it begins. .