stretching it… and winning!


Sometimes sewing is simply about keeping a household ticking along – seeing to practical needs that don’t require much flair or fanfare but are no less important for it. Arguably – these unsung sewing tasks are the most important kind, and I was humbled this week by the outcome of a project that I admit didn’t excite me very much but had the deepest significance to someone else…

The week before school sports day, Dilys announced that she needed shorts. Cue flashback to Rose at last years sports day: The only child in the whole school wearing sweatpants and looking rather hot. Galvanised into action, I tried a quick charity shop run but to no avail, and resorted to buying a ladies pair of black leggings for chopping up.

I set to on Sunday thinking I’d have it licked in under an hour… but I hadn’t reckoned on Dilys’ particularity and the weight this project held in her mind: ‘They need stripes down the sides Mummy, two stripes each side’- I guessed she was thinking of those Umbro footballer shorts that some of her classmates have. Four lengths of narrow satin ribbon later, I thought we were done… but no – the stripes were NOT supposed to go all the way up the sides and no one, especially Dilys, seemed to be sure whether they should start from the top or the bottom and where they should stop. (It was sunny outside and I felt I should have been finished by now…) Nevertheless, gritted teeth from me, an accomplished fashion sketch by Dilys and some irksome unpicking of satin ribbon from jersey later – the ‘go faster’ stripes got the nod.

…and go faster she did! At sports day she came an easy first in the flat race. All that graft and grumpiness on a sunny Sunday felt well worth it when I saw that winning grin.

On a thrifty green note – I made a glaringly obvious discovery while making these shorts: It is totally feasible in elasticity terms to stitch together all those short bits of elastic that take up space in your stash waiting to be useful. I try to save intact waistband from old clothes for re-use, but how utterly satisfying when three short bits of elastic are joined together to fit a waist.  I obsessively save every last scrap in decreasing size order: ‘big’ projects, adult waists, kids waists, dolly waists… mmm 5cm? er – fairy waists? Well you dollys and fairies won’t be seeing skirts in a while… and I may soon be able to fit the lid on my elastic box without it pinging off.

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