23 September 2007

Sewing and mending

I moved into my new sewing room yesterday. I haven't got everything exactly as I want it yet, I'm using pieces of furniture I'd rather not use, but I'm in there. The room used to be Hanno's office, it's where he did all his after hours work for the shop, and even now he has a cupboard in there, and drawers, as well as space on the desk. In Australia we have to keep business and tax records for seven years, so all that is being stored in "the sewing room". I'm pretending it's not there. : )

The room overlooks the front garden and there is a radio, so I expect to be quite comfy as I work on my mending and sewing. I'd like to eventually replace the melamine furniture with old wooden pieces and I have a friend, who is like a hawk collecting old bits and pieces, on the lookout for me. I'd like two old tables, a cupboard and a chest of drawers. But in the meantime I'm happy to work with what I've got and I'm thankful that I have this room as a workspace.

In the past few years I've discovered the "stash". I know those who patchwork and sew will smile at my innocence. Who knew there would be such beauty in all those pieces of fabric.

Early on in my search for a simpler life I realised that sewing, mending, knitting and homemade gifts would play a big part in what I did. I'd never been interested in crafts before, although my mother did try to teach me and my sister is a talented quilter. I toddled off on my own path, convinced they were old fashioned and would eventually catch up with me one day. LOL Oh the shame. I think my mother would love to see me know. I'm living like she used to, and what a fine roll model she is for me, even though she's been dead 14 years. I still remember how it used to be in our pre-plastic days and the skills my mother taught me all those years ago are finally being used. I am a slow learner sometimes.

I am trying to improve my sewing and knitting, I think they are skills that develop with repetition. Often when my sister visits, I get her to teach me how to do something I haven't been able to manage on my own and slowly I'm becoming more confident and happier with my finished work. Suzanne, who runs the sewing circle where I work, is going to teach me how to darn. I have a couple of jumpers that have small holes in them and they will have many more years of service when I fix those holes. Darning was the way women used to mend socks, jumpers and precious hand made clothes. Most women knew how to darn and mend but along with a lot of other useful activities, it's no longer common. In the past, women made do with what they had and it was seen as wasteful to throw something away simply because it had a hole in it. We need to get back into that mending mindset because the true cost of "cheap" clothes is damaging our environment.

One of the handicrafts I've discovered is stitchery, or as my grandma would call it, fancywork. I love drawing patterns and stitching them to see what they look like. They make wonderful gifts as they can be tailored to suit the person who will receive it and although they look complicated, they're quite simple and straight forward to make. Pictured above are two works in progress that will be given as Christmas gifts this year.

I have big plans for my little sewing room. I hope it will be a place of homely creativity, where clothes are given a second life, where my sewing talents develop, where fabric and stitch combine to produce beautiful gifts and where all aspects my simple life will continue to emerge and sustain us.



  1. Rhonda Jean,
    Will you then teach us how to darn? I know my nana did do some darning, I remember seeing an "egg" that she used. I remember seeing her put it into a sock and stitching, but I was so young, I don't know how she did it.

  2. What a peaceful looking room Rhonda. Enjoy your creative time in there.

  3. How wonderful to have a whole room devoted to your crafts! I have a corner of my laundry that is my scrapbooking space, but it needs a good tidy up right now. I have a friend who is a wonserful sewer, so in the past she has darned things for me. One day I will get around to learning :)

  4. the yellow walls look great! Your room is set up well.

  5. Your sewing room looks good! I too started out w/tables that were not my first choice but worked. I found an old kitchen table, the kind w/wooden legs and a metal top w/drawer at a flea market. I have my sewing machine sitting on this. Have lots of fun creating!!!!!


  6. I love your sewing room too, you have it arranged quite nicely. So pretty to see your rows of fabric sorted by colors.

    Oh, I would love to know how to darn too. I have been shamefully tossing socks with holes in them and even contemplated before I did it, but since I didn't know how I thought it would just sit there. Time to go learn.

  7. Ho Rhonda;

    Boy do I wish I knew how to sew! maybe one day I will master it, I wouldn't even know where to begin. Your room looks very inviting...can I come over and you can teach me how to sew?:) Have a great day!


  8. When I was a kid we were taught to darn, for socks we put a light bulb in it to darn.My Mom always said where there's a will,there's a way.Nothing went to waste, we recycled before we knew what recycle meant.
    I have my little corner where I sew and craft ,I have to work hard at keeping it organized.I think its the best spot in the house.:o)
    Happy Sewing.stitching

  9. Wishing you many happy hours in your new sewing room. Oh,I should tell you I love your stash.


  10. Your sewing room looks very nice. I just recently got my own room for sewing, floral work and crafts. I was sewing in it today I really enjoyed my southern window to sew under. I still have a lot of work to do in organizing it, it looks nowhere as neat as yours. Your room is inspiring!

  11. I'm a little late here, but I so (or "sew") wanted to wish you a very Happy Moving Day! I hope that the time you spend in your sewing room will be a blessing to you :) Love, Q

  12. Hello, I have come to visit and am so happy to see your love of sewing. Come visit me.

  13. Rhonda - I do hope you can give us all a tutorial on darning when you've learned how yourself. Once upon a time I tried to darn a sock, but it did not turn out well at all. This is a valuable skill that I would love to learn. In fact, I checked through a couple of my older sewing books last week looking for instructions to no avail.

    Your sewing room is great! You'll have many happy hours spent there, I'm sure.

  14. Hello everyone, thank for dropping by. The sewing room has been empty today as we've been busy in the garden planting for the summer and after lunch I finished off a knitting project on the front verandah. Tomorrow and Tuesday I go to my volly job, so it looks like Wednesday will be a day for the sewing room.

    And yes, when Suzanne teaches me to darn, I'll take my camera to work with me and take photos of her darning. Then I'd be happy to pass it all on to you.

    I hope you all are having a good weekend.

  15. Your sewing room looks lovely, Rhonda. And your stitcheries are so sweet. I'm sure you will have many happy hours in that room :)



  16. My mother has always been careful about saving things for mending, etc...but as she is also the full-time breadwinner in my parents house (she's a doc) it always seemed to pile up to unmanageable levels before she had a Saturday to sort it all out and tackle the pile. I have to admit that it sort of turned me off to sewing for a while, but now I've got a pile of my own...there's something really compelling about the textures and colors of different fabrics slipping through my fingers. Wish I, too, had a room to devote to it!

  17. Nice sewing room you've got Rhonda Jean!...i'd learnet to sew when little and you'll see that to darn is not as difficult as it may seem to. I'm in my way to knitt (when i was at my parents i'll always have had my mothers help and did not tried to do things out so now i have to teach myself into the knitting thing and whised she lived near me (she lives 5 hours away). I really apreciate the simple things that in todays world eyes looks odd and a thing from the past. By the way how do you transfer your stichers patterns?... i've my own method but like to know the way others do.
    Have a great day.

  18. pura, I pin the pattern to the back of the fabric, and using a strong light and a soft dark pencil, I just trace the pattern. Generally I use cotton or linen that you can do this with. If I have a few to do, I use my DIL's light box. : )

  19. I love your sewing room. I am slowly turning a small room in our house into a sewing room. Its not in the right place, but will use it anyway! Debbie J.

  20. lovely! Enjoy your new sewing room!!


Blogger Template by pipdig