Sewing in Different Circles

Phew, it has been a while hasn’t it?!  It’s been a crazy couple of months, and so, so much has changed, some things forever.  The last time I popped in, I was sewing for the Great Module Sewalong.  That all came to a grinding halt when I got the news that my Dad had passed away suddenly at the end of the first week in March.  I got on the next available plane home to South Africa with my girls as support to do what I could for my Mum, all thoughts of sewing left behind.

Then the world went mad.  Luckily the girls were able to get home just in time before the barriers came down and the walls went up.  I had had no plans to sew much, my thoughts were of paperwork, loose ends (of which there are still many) and support for mum.  Naturally I missed my favourite activity, as well as my allotment, which I had to leave just as seeds were germinating – along with millions of weeds.

I had planned on fabric shoping however.  But in the crazy first two weeks out here, there was no time for that second favourite activity.  Then the government announced a nationwide lockdown, all but essential services allowed to operate, and fabric shopping went completely out of the window.  Now we’re into May and a relaxing of the rules, fabric shops are allowed to be open to sell fabric to make masks and winter clothing.  Yes, May in the Southern Hemisphere is winter, although with temperatures this week in the mid to high 20s, it’s not anything like a UK winter.  Or summer!  😀  Thankfully winter means no humidity, just nice warm sunshine.

Anyway, back to the shopping!!  A typical South African cloth is produced here in East London in the Eastern Cape, Shweshwe.  I wrote about it a couple of years ago, if you want to know more.  The Da Gama factory isn’t open, but the factory shop in town is, so, under the guise of requiring lots of cotton to make face masks, Mum and I went shopping.  As it’s “winter”, I decided I needed another couple of pairs of longer than cropped length trousers.  I got two lots of  2m of Shweshwe for some Style Arc Kew Pants, I’d bought the pattern in their Easter Sale with the Como Top and the Teddy Top, to go with the Teddy Pants.

But – I’d completely forgotten that Shweshwe is only 90cm wide…  2m will make one trouser leg, not a pair of trousers!  Of course, that meant we had to go back!  This time I had better plans, get another 2m of one of the fabrics to actually make the pants, and 1.5 to make an Ogden Cami to go under a thin jumper I’d brought with me.  But then I spotted a waxed cotton fabric while waiting for the assistant to cut the Shweshwe, and fell in love!  So I bought 4.5m of the best bold, but neutral print wax cotton they had.  And 7m of Shweshwe with a cream ground with brown and orange print for daughter No1.  I hope it all fits into the suitcase…  Daughter No 2 has yet to put in her order.

So, lots of shopping, but what about the sewing??  Well, I think we’ve finally reached that part of the lockdown when we’re done with most of the big jobs, and now I feel that I can take a bit of time to myself and make something.  Once I’d realised I’d made a boob with the fabric amounts, I thought I’d make a top with one of the pieced I’d bought originally.  The fabric has body even after the wax has been washed off, so nothing drapy.  Immediately the LB Pullover from Paper Theory sprung to mind.  Thank heavens I brought my laptop with me on this trip, so I had immediate access to all my pdf patterns.  I just needed to print it off.  Now here’s where mum came in useful – she and dad own a stationery shop, complete with everyting I need to trace a pattern, and to print it too!  The only downside was having to print on A4, but an evening with the scissors, tape and a couple of glasses of wine made short work of that tedious job.





I made the 16, no adjustments.  The 2m was literally just enough to squeeze the pieces onto, and I had to piece the bias cut collar together.  There were only the smallest scraps of fabric leftover.  It was the perfect choice of pattern for the fabric, and print and I love it!  It’s going to fit into my wardrobe at home perfectly, as well as add colour and shape to the small amount I’ve brought with me.  It’s very tempting to make another, but I need to keep an eye on the amount of weight of that suitcase, especially if I’m going to be stuck here for another few months…


Author: Anne W

I love fabric, and sewing. And I could do nothing else but sew, all day, every day, if I could!

13 thoughts on “Sewing in Different Circles”

  1. So sorry about your loss. I hope your sewing works as therapy, it always helps me when times are tough. I’ve not been doing any fun sewing all these weeks, just virtuously making gazillions of scrubs for the NHS. SO far 60, 14 more on the table…it’s very boring, but with an audiobook and a mask [to defend me from the horrible overlocker fluff and fabric dust] I plough on.
    Your top looks great
    Stay safe

    1. Thank you, and well done with all those scrubs!! Unfortunately my sewing time was 90% fixing and making curtains, rather than the fun stuff, but I managed to make 2 new tops for my mum, and some face masks for the two of us.

  2. Sad to hear about your dad. I’m sure your mum has been very glad to have you with her during a difficult time, made so much worse by current circumstances.
    The fabric you’ve bought looks great and I’m sure it will be very much enjoyed. Well done getting any sewing done at all!
    Good luck tying in loose ends before you fly home .

    1. Thank you, Kim, I was really glad to have been able to be there with her, especially once the world went mad and turned upside down! Most of the loose ends are in the process of being tied up, so now that I am actually home, I hope we won’t have too many hiccups.

  3. So sorry for you loss. I’m
    Glad everyone got to where they needed to be before the lockdown.
    Stay safe and enjoy some sewing time now.

    1. Thanks Evie. Sewing was done, even if it was mostly curtain related… Not my favourite, but it has made a difference, so all worthwhile in the end!

  4. So sorry to hear about your dad. At least the virus situation has a silver lining for you being able to spend so much time with your mum. And thank goodness for PDF patterns and online sewing 🙂

    1. Thanks Vicki, good things come in strange packages, don’t they? It has been wonderful to have been able to spend so much time together, and I hope the relationshop has got stronger because of that.

  5. Sorry for your loss. My Dad too passed away the first week of March, but I had been waiting for it. I always read your blogs, but started to follow you on Instagram a couple of weeks ago and wondering why you hadn’t been showing any of your sewing. Are you home now?

    1. My condolences, Paula. I am now back in the UK, thanks to the British Embassy organising repatriation flights. I’m hoping to get back into the usual swing of things soon, once I can decide where to start!

  6. So sorry for your loss, Anne. One positive point of this worldwide crisis is that you are there for your mum. And that you found these beautiful fabrics. Take care xxx

  7. Sending sympathy for your and your family for the death of your dad. I’m glad you were able to be with your mom for a while though I hope you have the option of going home at some point, too. Beautiful fabrics – the ivory, black, and red with large blossoms (?) is my favorite.

    1. Thank you. Thankfully, I am back in the UK now, but it was hard to leave. I love that big floral print too, but I won’t be cutting anything from it until both girls have had their say! I wish there had been more…

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