My mum taught me to sew when I was around 6 or 7 years old, by guiding me through making myself a skirt – by hand. It had an elasticated waist and was cut to the selvedge, so no need for a hem! Just a laboriously back-stitched centre back seam and a turn over around the top for the elastic. I wore it with pride for many years. The following Christmas, Santa brought me a gorgeous black Singer sewing machine dating from the 1880s. I loved it – and still do. It is hand-crank and straight stitch only, but I used it for making countless items of clothing for myself and for sewing Christmas and birthday gifts for friends and family for many years.
As my skills progressed, so did my need for zigzag stitching and automatic reverse, so eventually my mum allowed me to use her Frister and Rossman 504, a machine that was state-of-the-art at the time.
Time passed, and I used my mum’s machine to make my wedding dress, my bridesmaid’s dresses and the waistcoat my dad wore to my wedding. My soon-to-be Mother-in-law saw all this activity, and her wedding gift to us (me!) was a Brother Jones machine with plenty of whistles and bells. When the time came, I used it to make my children’s christening robe.
I am an active person, always on the go, and I find it difficult to sit still. Sewing is completely absorbing, and it has kept me sane whenever I’ve had too much time on my hands: following serious illness, recovering from injuries, following redundancies, and during the current lockdown.
JeaniusBags was born of the need to stay busy and raise funds for causes that matter to me. I will continue to sew during lockdown, and will continue to post bags out to clients for as long as the Royal Mail and my local Post Office (a very short walk from my home address, and on my daily exercise route) are operational.