Be warned – this is another non-science post. Normal service will return soon, I promise – I have at least three articles waiting in the wings. But I thought you guys might like to learn a little more about what I do other than science 🙂
In June of last year, I booked a class for myself and my friend Becky at Sew Over It – a fantastic sewing cafe near Clapham North tube station. Despite coming from a stage school family, none of us can use a sewing machine. We always depended on costume mistresses to make, mend and alter everything! But I’ve always had an aspiration to learn, so I thought this class would be fun – combining four of my favourite things – friends, cake, fabric and learning 🙂
It completely surpassed my expectations – the shop is beautifully-decorated, with lots of room for us all to work. And our teacher was lovely, very knowledgeable, friendly and stylish. She helped us select our fabric and walked us through every process. Before I knew it, three hours had passed and I’d made a lovely cushion cover!
I called my boyfriend on the way home, and I was buzzing – I’d actually made something really beautiful, and it felt great.
The thing about a science career is that it can be a bit all-encompassing. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE science, but I had started to let it take up all of my thinking space. I’m not good at relaxing, and am a bit of a control-freak. When I’m in the midst of an activity, a tiny part of my brain still manages to think about other stuff. Even when on leave, I write articles or plan my next sci-comm activity. Or I wake up in the middle of the night to add something to my to-do list. I even read two books at a time! I am a busy person, and most of that busyness has been science-focussed. So I’d been searching for an outlet – for something that I could fully focus on – that I could enjoy, and that would push everything else out of my head.
I did not expect sewing to be that outlet, but I knew, coming home that night, that I was hooked. So when my parents asked what I wanted for my last birthday, I asked for money towards a sewing machine. I trawled eBay for bargains, spoke to seamstresses to ask for tips. I wanted to get the right machine. And I eventually found it. A Singer Featherweight II, which had sat in the sellers cupboard unused for years.
It was love at first sight 🙂 Using my lil machine I produced over half of last year’s Christmas presents – I made “Home is where the heart is” cushion covers for my parents, my siblings, my boyfriend’s parents and my friend Becky. I made a lavender hot pack for my niece, and a make-up brush roll for my other niece. I made letter cushions for each of my unofficial nephews and nieces – the children of my best friends! And keyrings for others. I poured my heart and soul into all of the gifts, and thankfully, everyone loved them 🙂
I’m becoming known for my cushion covers – all thanks to Sew Over It! Everything from linen, to button-enhanced fabric, and, my favourite, Periodic Table cushions!
I made a scarf for my friend Jackie recently too – she loved it. And just a couple of weeks ago, I went to a six-hour beginners dressmaking course in Bermondsey and made my very first skirt! But I have my eye on another skirt class at Sew Over It, and am hoping to get to that in the next few months *hint hint Richard!*
I was also given a beautiful piece of Donegal tweed from Molloy & Sons – I’ve bought some contrasting lining fabric and some soft leather. Before Christmas, I will have turned those bits and pieces into a bag – can’t wait to get started! My ultimate ambition is to be able to make dresses for myself, and my lovely friends have helped by buying awesome books and fabrics. I’m learning lots, but still a long way away from my target. I’ll get there one day though!
Anyway, I think that’s enough sewing talk. Hopefully, despite it not being a sciencey post, I haven’t bored you all 🙂 And y’know, if you want a Periodic Table cushion cover, let me know!