all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann

Reflections on lockdown

It’s week 8 or 9. I don’t know. I’ve lost count.

I can say quite categorically that without the ability to craft, and in particular to sew, lockdown would have been an intolerable waste of my time, and almost certainly caused mental damage.

I live on my own, and retired 6 weeks before lockdown. I was in the process of establishing a new lifestyle, when woosh!, overnight almost, everything that i had set up got taken away, and continues to be the case.

I have lost 3 weeks of walking holidays, for which i had made a number of new clothes. I have also lost a course in screen printing and batik, and more recently, a weaving course. And the big sewing show at the NEC has been cancelled once, and will almost certainly be cancelled again.

Despite that, i have kept busy.

I haven’t blogged either of my favourite makes yet.

The rucksack is B6121 again (no longer available), made from genuine Sanderson William Morris offcuts, and all beautifully pattern matched down the front! This fabric came from my Mum’s stash of bits, and i suspect originates from a charity shop find. I used this the other day, and i’m pleased to say that it fits a bottle of water and a folded up jacket, so is great for a bit of a walk.

The other bags is self drafted, with the method based on TMA Book Bag (how many times can i mention that pattern on this blog?) I was given some sari pieces, packages by Oxfam, for Christmas, so the bag is made from some of those. I’ll call it my International bag, as the other side and the straps are made from grey gaberdine bought on Hanoi textile market in Vietnam. It’s lined with some striped lining fabric that i picked up at SewBrum a couple of years ago.

I’m going to keep both of these!

Isn’t it amazing what you can do with ‘bits’ that you’ve already got and i profess not to have a stash. I don’t have a big stash of new fabric, but i have loads of potentially usable leftover bits! I also stocked up on interfacing and lining just before this all started, although i usually buy too much of both, deliberately.

I have been reluctant to buy fabric online, as i’d prefer to feel its weight and drape before buying, and of course, Birmingham has some good bricks and mortar shops which i would like to support when they re-open.

However, and i am sure we have all faced this – i keep running out of supplies – often quite inexpensive supplies which i would often have sourced on the market. For example: lace for trimming lavender bags, thread, zips, both machine and hand stitching needles, both of which have been over-used in the past few weeks. I’ve been waiting over 3 weeks now for delivery of some cushion pads, and now i have toy stuffing on order for a half made bear.

Half made bear

How many more uses can i find for soft furnishing offcuts? Oven mits, for example x 2. So far two rucksacks and 3 TMA Book Bags. Cushion covers to come…….

What else have i made from left over fabric?

  • Two children’s aprons, although one was a prototype for the second one.
  • Several lavender bags, until i ran out of trimming, but i haven’t run out of lavender.
  • A matching jacket for my Aspen summer dress.
  • A sweatshirtfor my great niece.
  • A pocket in my blue jacket, as i was regularly trying to put my car keys into the non-existent pocket!

I used the free access to Bluprint courses (ex Craftsy) and particularly enjoyed Alison Smith’s Couture Sewing courses. I also did the Introduction to Weaving, which helped a bit with my most recent craft exploration.

And now to my least favourite sew:


Yes, a face mask. It’s horrible! I cannot breathe when wearing it, which does render it rather pointless. As recommended by Good Housekeeping, it’s made from a cotton fat quarter, which i think i won in the SewBrum raffle at some point, and two layers of non-woven interfacing. I am a bit short of bias binding supplies, but i had enough to make two. The other is made from cotton dress offcuts. Each will sit in my friend and my handbags, just in case we ever need them. Hoping very much that we don’t. Sorry, but that’s the truth.

Which brings me onto the subject of Scrubs…..

I did make enquiries. I was very concerned that anything i made was from an approved ‘medical grade’ textile, and that it was going to be used somewhere, preferably local, that needed them. With the added complication that by the time i enquired, online deliveries were regularly taking 2 weeks, and, i’m pleased to say that, by that time Birmingham had the virus under control and in fact, had never been short of scrubs.

So in conclusion, i dont know what i would have done without being able to sew and generally craft in the last few weeks. And that isn’t a generalised statement. It’s true.


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This entry was posted on May 18, 2020 by in Handmade, Lockdown, Sewing and tagged , , .
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