Sunday, 22 May 2011

Fighting the Fear

"Sometimes it is good to try something new." I tell myself over and over again. "Don't get stuck in your comfort zone, give something else a go."

And so, many months ago, I decided that I would try something new craft-wise. Dorothy had bought a copy of Make (I've tried to find an online link and can't anywhere for some reason - it's a fancy crafty type magazine) and in there was a tutorial for a pretty wall-hanging/mobile for a little person.

Step 1 - Fold fabric in half, right sides together, and pin letter template to it and get cutting.

I knew that my niece's Christening was happening at the end of May and decided I would make one of those for her.

I'm a little retarded when it comes to fabric stashing. I obviously didn't get the memo that this was something I should have been doing so I don't have this magical stash that crafty people always refer to. But I did my best to pick up a little fat quarter here and there and decided I had enough to set about making it.

And then I stalled.

Step 2 - Get stitching! Stitch all the way around the outside (leaving about 5mm from the edge) until you've got about a 3cm gap. Then turn inside out, stuff with toy stuffing and then sew up.

You see, although I know it's good to do something new, I get scared of doing new things. Like really scared. And I do that thing where you just pretend that you're not scared and that there isn't an impending deadline - some might call it sticking your head in the sand.

Which is how I got to the point where the Christening was 2 weeks away and I hadn't done anything.

The problem? This project involved using my greatest enemy. A sewing machine. I have no idea why, but I'm scared of them. I've never so much as even touched a sewing machine before and I seem to have a pathological fear of sewing my finger to a curtain or something. It's silly I know and I just need to get on with it and learn but this fear was the main cause of the Head in the Sand situation.

So I decided to take the easy way out and hand-sew the letters instead. I know, I know. But it was the only way that it was going to get done so I stopped behaving like an idiot, pinned my letter templates to my fabric, wielded some scissors and a needle and thread and got my act together.

Step 3 - Hurrah! You have all your letters. Now attach about 25cm of embroidery thread to each letter so you can hang them from your twig/stick/piece of dowelling.

And pretty soon (like really soon, this process does not take long at all) I had one name. Hurray for me. But nothing to actually make a mobile out of. My saviour came in the form of a bamboo type plant thing that resides in my office. Part of it has died and my colleague was getting rid of the dead branches and they were perfect  for me. Way easier than having to forage in the park for a stick that a dog has probably had a wee on.

Add some ribbon and I do believe you have one finished wall-hanging thing.

Step 4 - Tie each letter to the stick making sure they've all got room. Put a wee speck of superglue on the string to make sure they don't fall off the stick. Try not to superglue a pair of scissors to your hand like I did.

I feel enormously proud of myself. I know I've technically cheated because I didn't use a sewing machine so haven't really conquered my fear but I have never sewed before so, you know, baby steps people, baby steps.

And although I know a sewing machine would be so much quicker, hand-sewing something this small doesn't really take that much time either.

Step 5 - Feel smug

Now. Who wants to commission me?!


  1. I will but I should warn you that when I have a baby it will be called Katherine-Elizabeth-Margaret as a first name and I'll expect all of the letters as a wall hanging :p

  2. Oh that is lovely... I had the FEAR too - but I have recently conquered it (a little) - I still don't fiddle with any of the many knobs and gizmo's - straight stitch all the way at the moment until my mum can come and help me!
    But DO IT - you will be pleased you did!
    PS No stitched fingers so far and I have now made 3 (nearly 4) dolls!

  3. That is adorable. are so talented. I can't even use a needle...I seriously have a 'repair' kit somewhere about here but I think subconsciously I hid it when I moved so i would have an excuse to NEVER pick up a needle. I am so lame when it comes to anything to do with nearly sends me into panic attacks!

  4. Wooo! Well done you! Ah just think, that little girl will learn to spell her name FROM YOU! Amazing!

    You're right, sewing machines are a bit scary, and don't get me started on overlockers...

  5. I know what you mean K sewed her finger with the machine and it was HORRIBLE. I had to cut the threads and hoik out the thread and everything. Yuck. But seriously, well done with the mobile. It looks fab and she will be able to keep it forever! x

  6. I really like this. It's so charming and the shape of the stick makes it look really lovely. I'm sure your present will be treasured for many years to come. Have a lovely time at the christening! x

  7. That's so cute :-) I am scared of sewing machines too *shudder*.

  8. You know what, hand sewing that project is probably easier than sewing it on a machine that is designed to go in straight lines. When you decide to overcome your sewing machine fear, try things with mainly straight lines, take my word for it, much easier than curves!

  9. It's really cute well done!

  10. I would have hand sewed it too; not from fear but just because anything that small is really faffy to machine stitch unless you're really good with a sewing machine (and I'm not).

    I've mostly conquered my fear of the machine. I recommend getting a small cute one (it helps, honestly) and sewing lots of straight lines on a pillowcase till you realise that the needle won't leap out and eat your fingers. It gets easier after that.

    ps - the mobile is tremendous. You crafty soul you.

  11. Its beautiful - I love it. x

  12. I think it looks great. I also think you were wise to sew by hand. If you're going to brave a sewing machine I'd suggest a nice squarish project to start with. Large, without curves. Maybe a tote bag?

  13. Oh my god it looks AMAZING! I want to sew now!!! Hope they love it! xxx


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