It's a grey afternoon here in Bedford - the summer holidays are nearly at an end, and, I'll be honest and say that I am a bit relieved. The school holidays have provided us with some good times and happy memories as a gang - but, seven weeks is a long time to spend in each other's company, and, I think we're all ready for the change that a new academic year will bring us.
Four children to hang out with hasn't left a lot of sewing time, so I have been very selective about what I have commited to sew (no bad thing, eh?).
|This fox likes buns!|
My eldest girl spied the Wild Things book the day the postman delivered it six months ago, and didn't waste much time in putting in a request for fox dungarees. With summer approaching, the pressure to make an obviously warm looking garment out of corduroy wasn't too big - she settled for a promise that I'd make them in time for winter. When Karen launched her Made Up initiative, I knew I had found the perfect nudge to pull my finger out and get sewing. I donated, and pledged to make a pair of fox dungarees.
Fox dungarees for my own avid reader seemed like the perfect choice of project to sew in support of The National Literacy Trust. Like lots of you reading, this is a cause close to my heart.
As a secondary school teacher, I have encountered too many children who struggle to read properly. It makes them less confident in class, and this then often shows itself in the form of disruptive behaviour, in a desperate bid on their part to divert attention from the embarrassing reality that they just can't read well enough to participate fully with the lesson. This was one of many factors that inspired me and my husband to start our own secondary school five years ago - we wanted a school that would not give up teaching children to read until they were ace at it, and could go on to enjoy it as a positive thing to do for fun for the rest of their lives.
As a mum, I cannot think of anything more magical than the process of watching my children turn into readers, Unlike a lot of things relating to parenting - feeding them, dressing them, potty training them, disciplining them - reading is something that has not lost any excitement in repetition. The year that each one goes to school, and then comes home with their very first reading book, and, progresses onto `proper, fat books' (as my third girl now says) is just brilliant each time. Typing this makes me tingle, and sort of strangely look forward to my littlest having her turn in a couple of years from now. (No, I take that back - stay little and cute with squidgy thighs for a bit longer, please, Charlotte.)
Anyhow, enough waffle. When Sophie asked me for the dungarees, I was chuffed that she wanted them. She is still a child, who asks me to make her playful clothes, and not remotely a fashion conscious teenager. Yet. Next summer, she will have grown out of these dungarees. Waaaaahhh.
One sign she is growing up is the start of a new school routine next week. One that will involve cycling to and from school without any grown ups. She is excited about the freedom that is about to come her way - I'm doing my best to focus on preparing her properly, and not pass on my own natural fears about her gaining some independence. Hence the practise going on you can see in these photos.
The dungarees were fun to make - and hopefully, the photos we snapped this morning show they are fun and practical to wear. The pattern instructs you to begin with the detailing - this takes a long time, but is worth it. As I was top stitching the face of the fox, I had a real moment of joy and was smiling at what I was making with my own hands. This is why I sew. Yes, I could have saved myself loads of time, and spent the cost of the book and fabric on buying one of Kirsty Hartley's stunning british made garments. The stitching quality would have no doubt been less shonky, and the end result just as cool to look at. But. I sew for pleasure - and, in this case, as a way of reminding my (sometimes stroppy) little biggest girl that I love her to bits.
|Look, Karen! We borrowed a friend's dog, Sunny, so that Ella can enjoy reading this post. :)|