In my defence, I have never used an electric sewing machine before.
My trusty old Jones sewing machine (By Appointment to Queen Alexandra - yes, it really is that old!)
is operated by hand. Which means it can only go as fast as I can turn the handle. The electric sewing machine I drove yesterday was something else altogether. It had what's called Pedal Power.
There I was
in my friend Sue's sewing cabin, all ready to participate in a bunting workshop. In just two hours, Sue promised Daisy (my fellow pupil) and me, we would each create a string of bunting as beautiful as anything you'd find in a shop. She indicated an example
of the finished article, strung up across one of the cabin windows. Daisy and I looked at each other doubtfully but you have to trust your teacher, don't you?
To begin with we were set some exercises in basic
sewing, firstly in straight lines, then along curved lines. Which was my first experience at the sewing machine. Now I do drive a car, so you would think, wouldn't you, that I would be able to control a simple foot pedal. Not so, as we were about to find out.
Off I set at the equivalent of a hundred miles an hour, the needle moving over the fabric scarily fast. I hastily eased off the pedal and the needle stopped moving altogether. Try as I might, I couldn't seem to manage a good, steady speed. Sue said to remind
her never to go driving with me, based on this showing.
Daisy and I each chose our material, already cut into triangular shapes - so many beautiful patterns, we were spoilt for choice. I hadn't actually thought
about making a children's banner but Sue had cleverly included triangles of beautiful fabric, some with alphabet letters, some with pirates, some with sea creatures. She knew I would not be able to resist it. It meant that Daisy's bunting and mine would be
equally beautiful but very different.
We were each supplied with a set of sewing tools, including a pin cushion bracelet which fastened on the wrist with Velcro. It made us look like professional seamstresses.
Who needs a Pandora bracelet when you can wear a pin cushion? Carefully we pinned together our flags - seven in all - and prepared to start sewing. Sue found a lower seat for me in the hope that it might increase my Pedal Control. I think it might have improved
We pinned, we sewed, we turned inside out, we pressed, we pinned, we sewed some more. Step by step our bunting started to take shape until, lo and behold, by the end of our session, both
Daisy and I were, as promised, able to display our beautiful bunting. OK, some of the sewing might not have been completely straight, especially when the sewing machine ran away with me - but I don't think anyone would notice. Daisy and I felt really proud
of ourselves and of each other.
We did have, of course, an excellent teacher. Someone with the patience of a saint and an ability to allow her pupils to make a mistake before gently pointing out the error
of their ways. I always think, don't you, that you learn more from mistakes than when you get everything right first time? Just as well in my case. Sue is, it must be said, multi-talented - for many a long year now she has wall-papered my bedrooms, sewn my
curtains and cut my hair into the bargain. If I was into corsetry she would even make me a beautiful corset. Now she is teaching me - and anyone else who wants to sign up for her classes - the art of sewing. This week, bunting. Next week, an oven glove.
Apparently the making of the oven glove will be a bit more difficult and will involve me in sewing in curved lines, rather than straight ones. I will need to remember to stop, make sure the needle is in a downward position,
lift the lever to raise the foot from the cloth and turn the material in the direction I am going. All the while not forgetting to taking my foot of that darned pedal.
Sue has given me some homework to do
before next week's class. She has sent me home with one of her precious sewing machines to practise my pedal action. I must endeavour to perfect both straight and curved lines before I report back to The Cabin for next week's sewing session.
I'm looking forward to it already.