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.


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 ……


…. 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!