tempus fugit

Time and tide wait for no wo man – something I was starkly reminded of last weekend, working at a residential event for young women with secondary breast cancer. During a highly emotive breakout session, focusing on women talking to their children about their diagnosis, one woman volunteered the only positive thing that came to mind about her illness – that it gave her time to put things in order. For most of us, thoughts of death and dying are not at the forefront of our minds as we navigate our way through our daily activities. But what if they were – how would the immediacy of our mortality affect the tenor of our day?

After three days in Manchester, ensconced in a work bubble of event organisation, I woke up on Sunday determined to seize the day and squeeze the value out of every minute. Propelled by this sense of urgency, I set myself the challenge of fashioning an item from start to finish. I’d already done the spade work – it being my third attempt at Jumper Dress G from Stylish Dress Book: Simple Smocks, Dresses & Tops. My first foray with this pattern was underwhelming but I had capitalised on lessons learned with a denim version for a friend.

I found the fabric in the kilo bins at Manchester Aberkhan and my first thought was that it’s stiffness and structure would lend itself perfectly to Megan Nielson’s Brumby skirt pattern. However, it seemed a waste not to make something more substantial from the 2.5 metres I’d bagged for a tenner, so I opted for a final showdown with Dress G.

Having learned that the fabric choice is all important in terms of fit and finish, I graded  up the denim version to achieve a roomier fit for my un Japanese-like frame. On top of previous adjustments, I added an extra 1.5cm under the arms at the bodice, increasing to 2cm by 28cm down, to accommodate my bottom heavy figure. To achieve my desire for a Bibaesque interpretation, I chopped 10.5cm off the unextended pattern leaving a 2.5cm hem allowance. I also included my stab at self-drafted pockets and 10 hours later … mission accomplished.

Whilst I’m pretty chuffed I managed to knock up a smock in a day – I did notice my mind becoming more and more agitated, as I raced against the clock to achieve my aim. Working at breakneck speed also had a negative effect on the execution and precision of my chosen craft. I’m happy that my age and work environment, have given me the confidence to spend my time in company and pursuits I find meaningful. But I have to concede that when it comes to my adventures in stitch, there are no short cuts. For my next project, my challenge is to favour process over outcome. Tempus fugit indeed but as the saying goes – softly, softly catchee monkey.

4 thoughts on “tempus fugit

  1. fabulous fabulous fabulous – the fabric is perfect – and the weight is giving it a great fall, the pockets are beautifully set – quite jealous of your attention to detail. I try the odd time to sew in a day (think it must be the most stressful part of the sewing bee), but its a bit of a grind. The only things I have run up in a few hours are the baselayers and tees, but its always nicer to take a few days over a project and enjoy the process Adore your docs! great combination of tones


    1. ahhh – thank you – I really have tried with this pattern and finally I’ve got an outcome I’m pleased with – it’s one of the most wearable things I’ve made yet – I can’t find enough excuses to put it on. I won’t be attempting to ‘sew in a day’ again – I don’t work well against the clock at all. However, it was good to see what I could do when I put my mind to it but from now on I’m going to take my time as one of the things I love about sewing is the meditative aspect. No sewing bee for me – ever!! As for your jealousy of my attention to detail – I have equally in awe of your inventiveness and pecuniary approach to sewing – it’s truly inspirational. The shoes were an early Christmas present to myself and I equally can’t find enough opportunities to get them on. Happy autumnal sewing eimear!


  2. I’m really surprised, knowing how particular you are, that you chose to put yourself through this sewing mill! It would have taken me a whole weekend to complete.Your job sounds very thought provoking and I’m sure you put a lot in and get a lot out of it. I do follow “The Sewing Bee” but find the time constraints very frustrating. It’s inspiring but you can’t help feel the anxiety of the participants when they are struggling with the deadlines. I wouldn’t last long. Your choice of fabric is excellent this time, and on sitting, it sits well with you. It looks soft and and feminine and any faults that you mention are not apparent in the photographs. You are your own task master and have just gone through the learning curve barrier. I’ve never been happy hitting the ground running and I think that’s something we share. And those boots look gorgeous on you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Terri! It was a challenge I won’t be setting myself again any time soon – me against the clock is no fun. But I am really pleased with how this smock has turned out. It’s one of the most wearable things I have made yet. The fabric was a tenner from the kilo bins at Aberkhan as was the fabric choice for my next make – I’m looking forward to your review already! And what about the boots?! An early Christmas present to myself – I was worried I’d been rash with an impulse buy at first but I’m starting to think they were worth every penny. Thank you as always for the support and following my sewing adventures 🙂 x


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