Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Raccoon Scarf/Stole By A Sewing-Competent Mum

I've been a busy(ish) girl. I can now announce that I am competent on my (what was intimidating,) sewing machine!

I should have overcome this fear many years ago. It's my mother's trade, after all; dressmaking, craft, embroidery... but I always avoided the loud stuff and opted for peaceful creativity instead.

As my profile says, I love to crochet, especially now that I have a little one to give my creations to. 'Friendly Floppy Fox', my own design, accompanies little man's various trips in the pram, and occasionally takes a trip to the woods. Here he is slumped nonchalantly, at his favorite spot:

Living in Cyprus, the weather reaches some crazy-hot highs. I love it, always have. However, this creates a teeny tiny problem when it comes to baby-wearing, which I also love... a lot. Obscure items are not readily available in this country, such as baby slings made from swim wear material, so I knew it was time for me to grow a pair and run to Mum for some sewing lessons. An easy mini-cushion, with plenty of help. Then a baby bib, a bit of advice along the way. Then I felt overwhelmed, so I took a break and went back to crochet... until a couple of weeks ago, while organizing my craft project folders, something jumped out at me...

This fox scarf by Prudent Baby

 It was a project I fell in love with many months ago, at the time just a wishful dream; "I can't really sew, but I'll print it out anyway". I didn't want to forget it, but I also must have had some belief in myself, somewhere, that I'd one day be capable of creating such a cute creature (although in my mind I saw him as a raccoon).

It's funny how things work out. Before becoming a mum, I'd always imagined myself as a mature, sensible parent, a true nurturing type. An earth mother, in natural, bohemian clothing. One who perhaps used organic, cloth nappies. A woman who tended to her vegetable plot but who also pruned her roses, complete with sage green gardening gloves protecting her clean soft hands. In the oven, a hearty casserole, the smell of 'home' radiating from the kitchen. The cook wearing a floral apron with a lace trim. As I write this, I realise I'm mostly describing my Grandma and my Mum. It's what I recognize as home. Although when I became pregnant, I didn't really feel like I was any of these things. Definitely not maternal. I also strongly believed that I wasn't going to try and change, it had to come naturally (I didn't think it would at all). But slowly, beyond my control, things ARE changing.

So there it was, now with a baby boy by my side, this strong urge to create a friendly animal to cuddle his delicate little neck in the winter months. The times when we'll take trips to the forest in our wellies.

Out came the material I had set aside, including the faux fur from a gorgeous coat. A coat too hot for Cyprus, but too sentimental for a second-hand shop. The coat that got me the nickname 'Eskimo' at school, as I paired it with a pair of black Dr.Martins (I was more influenced by styles from 8 years before, than I was by the modern time's fashion - my older siblings are to blame - I idolised them all). And I just dived into the deep end and got on with it!

Tracing patterns, adapting from a fox to a raccoon, cutting out, forgetting to account for seam allowance, trying to sew too many layers of thick fabric together, googling 'sewing machine tension problems', fixing problem by re-threading machine too many times to count, sewing the tail on backwards, unpicking, re-sewing...

... This, in my opinion is the best way to learn, getting lost in unknown territory and finding your way out, so to speak. I believe I'll never forget how to thread a sewing machine again. The below phrase comes to mind (it adorns my positivity board):

So, here he is, in all his imperfect glory (he is yet to be named), adorning my wall of stuff!:

Sleeping on the bed head:

Hangin' around:

Showing off his lighter underside:

I have Prudent Baby to thank for this, although I've made some changes. I suggest you head over to her, then if you like the raccoon look, let me know and I'll upload the additional pieces. What now? Now I'm in the mood to make a floral apron with a lace trim. Hmmm...

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant! Welcome to my world!!! I learnt exactly the same way. A little by you tube as well! I think maybe he should be called Bert Raccoon? After the cartoon character of Raccoon's? He's "the main hero of the show" who "always likes to seek out adventure and to live life to the fullest."