Want made-to-measure clothes? Well, once you’ve accurately taken your measurements there’ll be no stopping you!
First, understand that for an unfathomable reason the measurements on a pattern envelope have as much relevance to actual dress sizes as Jeremy Clarkson does to post-80s fashion. With that in mind, take a measuring tape and record these sizes:
Shoulder: measure from the base of the neck to the shoulder edge. For the love of God get someone else to do this, unless you fancy being found dead and decomposing by police bashing down the door in three months time because you’ve accidentally throttled yourself;
Bust: measure around your back and baps, essentially where said funbags stick out the most. Do it while wearing a half-decent bra, though. That is unless you want the darts of the blouse you’re making to rest somewhere near your knees;
Waist: now, you could measure where your waist naturally sits. However, you should measure where you can wangle the smallest possible measurement even if it renders every handmade garment crushingly unwearable for years to come. Oh and suck in that breath, will you?
Hips: that’s right, the widest part of the body if you’ve so much as sniffed a crisp in the last twenty years. It’s also known as ‘the arse’. So feel free to call it hips if you like but we both know that it includes those mahoosive leg balloons you’ve been lugging about;
Crotch depth: in other words from the waist to the arse. So sit on a firm chair and measure from your natural waist to the chair seat. Alternatively, just make an appointment with your smear nurse;
Back waist: this is from the prominent bone at the base of the neck to the natural waist, going all the way down the centre of the back. And yes, it’s going to tickle and yes, you’re going to laugh. Always wear a Tena Lady for this part of the process;
Sleeve length: place your hand on your hip as if you’re about to bollock the driver who just cut you up. Measure from your shoulder, along your arm, over your elbow to your wrist. Now, offer him the bird.
Barunka McFlange has been teaching Mile High Sewing for the last 36 years. Here she tells us how to take our stitching on holiday with us.
More and more of us are loathe to leave our sewing behind when we go on holiday these days. Not only do we find that it relaxes us by the pool but it gives us a great excuse to not have to play with the kids. If you want to do the same, take a project that won’t take up too much space. I suggest something small such as a ball gown or a yurt that sleep 16 middle-class people. That way you can keep down the amount of equipment you need to one sewing machine, one overlocker and a crate of scissors and pins.
When you book the holiday don’t forget to check that it’s OK to cordon off the entire left hand side of the pool so you can lay out your 10 metres of chiffon. I’m sure your travel agent will be happy to oblige, including when you ask if you can use an airgun to take pot shots at anyone who splashes water on your fabric. Don’t forget that children are harder to hit because of their diminutive size and surprising speed so get practising!
Of course, if you can take your sewing on the plane – especially long-haul flights – it helps alleviate boredom while you’re waiting for that creepy couple to finish dry humping in the tiny toilet. You’ll have to negotiate airport security first though. I find that hiding a blade and needles in my bra works a treat (if an alarm goes off please do mutter something about a pacemaker) and never forget how useful it can be to store metal bobbins in your vagina.
Of course, once you are on holiday it pays to be organised. Never start sewing until you’ve lined up enough all-inclusive cocktails to fell a rhino and never ever start sewing until you’ve drunk at least three of them in rapid succession. This is an invaluable warming up period. Only then should you attempt to set in sleeves or narrow French seams.
It’s important to pace yourself though. Don’t go at it the stitching all day every day. You are on holiday after all! Take breaks to eat and, more importantly, to drink, ideally stopping at sunrise so that you can sleep, collapsed on a sunbed somewhere around breakfast. Alert the kids’ club attendants that your children have no suitable supervision for the entire fortnight beforehand though. Being labelled an unsuitable parent can wreck havoc on your ability to resize patterns!
Finally, when it’s time to come home make sure you safely store your hard work. Place your neatly folded project or new garment in a breathable bag while also being wrapped delicately in tissue paper. Then dump all of your holiday clothes in a restaurant bin to stop your efforts getting crushed on the flight home. If the bins are fill, just toss them into the sea in the dead of night. You can do the same with the kids clothes, toys and books too.
So that’s how you can make the crafting most of your summer holiday! This year I’ll be taking my Janome 525SS Special Edition to the base camp of Everest. See you there!
Despicable cushion covers!
Want to make cushion covers that you’re proud of? Want to make your mum-in-law feel utter disgust for you? Here’s how!
- Start by making your cushion covers, sending hours of precious time choosing a print, stitching seams, turning fabric and inserting piping to create a set of six covers;
- Invite your mum-in-law over for Sunday afternoon tea;
- Place cushions on sofa and plump them up as she rings the doorbell;
- Proudly direct her into the living room;
- Feel instantly deflated by expecting her abject joy but only hearing a silence that could fell a polar bear;
- Watch, crushed, as she imperiously announces, “So, you’ve finally tried to tidy up this room with new cushions. Oh, and I can see from the seams that you made them yourself!”;
- Wait patiently perhaps forever, for her to say something encouraging or complimentary;
- Slink from the room as she lifts a cushion, peers at your piping and shakes her head with a disgust that she can’t wait to share with the friends from the WI;
- Cry in the toilet while hearing her ask your partner whether he’s ever thought of getting in touch with that lovely girl he dated before he met you.
Real life: I masturbate in thimble factories
Mandy Slingshot-Greeves, an avid burglar of haberdasheries, claims that since she swapped her husband for a sewing machine she no longer feels attracted to human beings. Instead she uses her pinking shears to pick the locks of the doors of factories that make metal finger-jackets before diving headfirst into industrial sized thimble bins for a little light bean bashing.
“I just can’t help myself” she admitted. “I tried to stop my cravings by visiting Anne Summers but they had nothing under three feet long. Then when I asked for something approximately 1.2cms in length and girth they laughed and had me forcibly removed”.
Mandy believes it’s time for her to go to rehab, however. “I’m starting to rattle,” she said. “And airport security has become a right bastard”.