The Heart of the Matter

Life has been a bit hectic round here over recent months, particularly since my darling dad went into a nursing home.  I now have elderly parents in separate locations needing lots of attention and support.

Next up was something more dramatic and scary, hence no blogging or IG posts over the last week or so. Ten days ago W (aka Mr Jane Makes) had a heart attack!  Anyone who knows him will be aware that he’s pretty active – skiing, roller blading, cycling, table tennis – but unfortunately a couple of his arteries weren’t aware of this.  I’m not going to dwell on the details because this is a sewing blog but thanks to some truly amazing emergency care at St Richard’s in Chichester and Queen Alexandra in Portsmouth he was home again on Wednesday with a couple of stents in his chest.  Some major lifestyle changes are in hand – specifically no more unsupervised eating – we don’t want to be back here again.

Hospital Bed

What I am looking forward to is all the things he is going to be able to do over the next few weeks as specified in the literature he was sent home with.  For example :

  • Week Three : Preparing meals
  • Week Four : Light housework and gardening
  • Weeks Five & Six : Vacuuming and washing windows
  • Weeks Seven & Eight : Light carpentry and DIY

He’s never been able to do these things before (apart from being a whizz with the vacuum cleaner)!  To encourage him I picked up a 1964 DIY magazine from the Vintage & Very Nice market in Chichester on Saturday.  It’s a classic, especially the adverts! Self adhesive wicker effect PVC to decorate your home, boat, car or caravan anyone?

Obviously I’m making light of what was a truly horrible experience for him and the rest of us – this is the second time he has traumatised us with a life-threatening event.  I’m just so very relieved to have my beloved back home in one piece.  He may not be a DIY expert but I love him very much.

Everything that has happened recently has certainly made me think very hard about life in general, and particularly the stresses we all face on a day-to-day basis.  Other recent events have also had an impact and whilst I don’t want to get into a political discussion here I do feel shocked and disappointed that those in ‘authority’ can behave in such a Machiavellian and self-serving manner when the future of our country is at stake.  From all the blogs and IG posts I’ve been reading it would seem that the sewing community is pretty much united so there is hope for us yet.

I’ve decided the only way forward is to keep sewing, an activity that has been rather sporadic chez Jane Makes recently.  I needed to break myself back in gently with something very simple, an A-line skirt.  I didn’t have a suitable pattern in my collection and really wasn’t up to drafting one so downloaded the free Annie A-line Skirt from Sew This Pattern.  It really is basic – front, back and a facing.  As it is simple it needed to be just right so I sewed up a quick toile with some seemingly never-ending fabric I bought in a charity shop years ago for £3.  I cut the size 12 which was a snug fit a few days ago, but stress and the elimination of all ‘bad’ food from our house means that it is now just right!  This picture makes the fabric look nicer than it is – it is very thin and has always had a slightly odd smell but it is fine for toiles.

image

The skirt fabric itself is an African cotton print I bought from Tinsmiths when I was on holiday last year.  It was a 5.4 metre length and I gave half of it away via the blog as I knew I’d never use all of it!  I had originally displayed it on Doris like this ……

image

…. so I knew an A-line skirt would work.  I didn’t actually follow the pattern instructions because I wanted to add a lining but one of the suggestions I did use was to finish the edge of the facing with bias binding which does look really neat.  I had just enough of some leftover Liberty binding which co-ordinated quite well.  I didn’t bother with pattern matching as the fabric is pretty busy and I wanted to have enough left over for another project.

The instructions do look pretty comprehensive and straightforward and this would be a great pattern for a beginner – it could make a nice gift with some fabric and notions.  It would also be ideal for embellishment – patch pockets, trimmings etc. so I’m sure I’ll be making it again.  There is a separate download for a pocket but I’m not sure it’s a design I would use.

I love the shape of this skirt and it is a great fit.   The only problem is that I don’t really have much to wear with it.  I decided to go completely mad this morning and wear it with stripes having seen a few examples of the stripes/floral combination around recently.  As W is recuperating he’s now around when I leave for work and gave his approval so I’m hoping he was right.  He did offer to take a photograph but photography isn’t mentioned on the list of new skills that he’s about to acquire!

Annie Skirt

Stay calm everyone and keep off the saturated fat!  Happy sewing!

STOP PRESS : My boss has just commented “that’s a pretty skirt”.  I don’t think he’s ever said such a thing to me before and we’ve known each other for over 20 years!

 

 

 

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40 thoughts on “The Heart of the Matter

  1. Love your positive thinking. Am having a laugh at W doing DIY and gardening. Well you never know! Anyway very best wishes to you both. I know life has been very difficult for you in recent months.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Best wishes to W in his recovery and to you as you cope with all of these difficult life events and situstions. That is a lot to deal with all at once.

    The skirt is indeed very pretty! It is nice to have an activity to turn to to take our minds away from other challenges, if only for a little while.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Stephanie. It has been a stressful time but sitting at my sewing machine is always good therapy – unless I’m trying to do something too complicated! Which is why I’ve made the decision to stick with simple projects for the time being.

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  3. Sorry to hear about your recent challenges and glad your partner is improving. And while sewing blogs are not political platforms it is good to hear now and then that we are of like minds, across the globe. Keep writing and sewing. It’s a great blog! Maybe W could do some sewing too? My other half tried to make some boxers recently – as an intro into sewing (what else can a man make as a beginner?) – they are still half made in a carrier bag.

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    • I am smiling (actually laughing) as I imagine Mr Jane Makes sewing! It is even less likely than the light carpentry but you never know. We could start with a shopping bag so that he has something to carry the groceries home in when he goes for his therapeutic walks.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow what a time you are having at the moment. Things do seem to come in clusters. These events really focus the mind as to what is really important. Keep sewing it’s good for your blood pressure. Look after yourself too!! K xXx

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    • It has been a bit of a challenge lately but I’ve borrowed the stress-busting CD he was given in hospital to listen to! Sewing is definitely the answer – there is something about whizzing through a seam that is so absorbing it takes your mind off anything else. Perhaps I should just make duvet covers for now so that I’ve got nice long seams to sew! xx

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  5. Glad to hear your sewing is helping you through this tough time, we all need time for ourselves to keep our sanity even when our families need us. Sound’s like the hubby won’t have time to dwell on what’s happened to him in the next few weeks, his recovery schedule sounds hectic with all those chores! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I don’t know how he’s going to fit it all in! I keep pointing out things that he’ll be able to deal with but I’m not optimistic. Once again your colleagues in the NHS were amazing – the speed of response and care was incredible! They were also very tolerant of my travel sickness in the back of the ambulance!

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  6. So sorry to hear what you’ve both been through but glad that you have a plan of action for the future. I love the list of things he is allowed to do – does he?! No wonder your boss felt moved to comment; the skirt really is lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’ll keep everyone posted on the DIY front! I think carpentry might be the way to go. His father was a master carpenter and he’s still very active at 85, he fitted a new loo in the bathroom the other week!

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  7. Oh Jane you have all been having a tough time! Hopefully you’ll all enjoy a period of calm now, and that things will go back to whatever normal is going to be for us all.
    Like minded is indeed what the sewing community is, but I don’t actually know anyone who voted otherwise??
    Your skirts are lovely, you know by now that I’m addicted to a good floral, and with the stripy top it looks great. Happy times and happy sewing

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Linda. I am just so glad to be part of such a lovely supportive group of people – some of whom, like you, I’ve never even met in person. I really enjoyed wearing that skirt yesterday, it is the shape and fit I’ve always wanted and once I’ve made one with pockets I will be even happier!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry to hear the news but glad things are improving and that you have kept a sense of humour as its so important. Your skirt is fab, simple works for a busy print and looks like it fits really well.

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    • Thank you! It really is one of the best fitting skirts I’ve ever made and I didn’t have to alter the pattern at all which is even better. I’ve already got the next one lined up to make. A sense of humour is definitely essential at times likes this!

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    • Thanks Becky. We never know what life is going to throw at us but there is always fabric to sew! I can’t believe how pleased I am with such a simple skirt – I’m definitely not one for frills but I’ve definitely developed a fondness for a bold pattern so this skirt is the perfect canvas for them. I may have to get hold of some of that lovely boat fabric you’ve just used for your dress. x

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  9. Hi Jane, It makes me feel so happy that the skirt was a project that helped you through these tough times. It is such a simple sew and that’s probably all you need right now. It looks lovely on you. Annie xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Annie. Thanks so much for commenting. I’m so pleased I discovered the pattern – it is exactly the shape and fit I wanted and I love the bias binding finish on the facing. It will definitely be used many times. xx

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  11. Gosh Jane what a rotten and scary time you are having. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse! So glad to hear he is back at home and doing well. Look after yourself too. xx PS- great skirt, love that print.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you Sharon. It was a shock but everything happened so quickly once we got to hospital that I didn’t really have time to think! He’s behaving very well so far! x

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  13. Jane, so sorry to hear about everything that is happening. I watched my mom go through the hardships with her parents and know how tough it can be but I’m happy you have a little relief in sewing. Your skirts are beautiful- I love the fabrics and the floral with stripes looks great! Speedy recovery to your husband!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Trish – I’ve just remembered that it was your dress to romper refashion that started me thinking about stripes and florals together! Mr Jane Makes seems to be making a good recovery, although he does have to be careful for a few weeks. It is so very sad to see one’s parents struggling but we’re doing everything we can to make things as bearable as possible.

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  14. I’m so sorry to hear about your hubby Jane, but glad he’s getting better and things are slowly getting back to normal. Your skirt looks lovely, and sewing is just fab for therapy isn’t it.
    My hubby had a suspected heart attack about fifteen years ago….turned out he had cardiomyopathy instead, and was told to avoid ‘strenuous exercise’ in future. To date, this has meant he is now ‘unable’ to wash the car, decorate the house or mow the lawn. Lucky for him though, apparently it doesn’t affect his ability to play golf!!!! So best of luck with the hoovering and housework 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you Karen! Glad your husband is still able to manage his golf!! I have no doubt that normal sporting activities will be resumed here long before any housework is tackled. Glad you like the skirt and – yes – sewing is definitely the best therapy.

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  16. I was thinking about this fabric just the other day. I haven’t touched it yet! I was planning a tilly and the buttons delphine skirt – which is pretty much what you’ve done. Good choice I think! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  17. My mother is thankfully still in their own home but it is all very sad. Mr Jane Makes is doing well so far which is a big relief. The smelly fabric is prettier than I remember it – perhaps I should just add a lining and hang it outside for a serious airing!

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  18. so sorry Mr JaneyB has been through the wars, but sounds like he is doing well. I love your attitude and sense of humour and the skirt that got such a positive remark from your boss. At my hat making class this weekend, as we discussed US, Australian and UK politics we all felt pretty depressed. So we just said “Don’t panic: Make a hat” or a skirt.

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  19. Thank you Kate. I still can’t really believe it happened but it has certainly been a wake up call! I was very envious of your hat making class when I saw your post on IG. I hope we will be seeing the outcome on your blog?

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  20. Hi Jane, so sorry to read about W. Your positivity is contagious though and it sounds like you’re coming through it together which is great. Glad to hear you’ve managed to fit in some sewing too, it’s can be so therapeutic! (Well, when you’re not frustratingly unpicking after the third time like I usually am haha) Georgia x

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