This episode is subtitled: ‘A few kind words…’
With a glass of wine in one hand and Blue’s bowl of food in the other, we were just about to settle down for a quiet Saturday night at home after a busy day at the shop when I happened to glance at the phone and saw I had a message. It was from Laura (why doesn’t she just text, then I’d definitely see it?) inviting me to lunch on Sunday.
‘Did you hear that, Blue? We’re going to see Jake and Hannah tomorrow!’
Understandably he was more interested in his bowl of food but I knew he’d be excited when we got there. So after he was fed and watered we snuggled up on the couch to watch some swashbuckling in The Musketeers and I thought about what I could take as a gift. Yes, I own a flower shop so a bunch of flowers is the obvious option but I actually thought Laura would like the wooden heart that I made a few weeks ago, so I settled on that.
Off we trotted at noon eager to spend a happy Sunday afternoon in the company of the family, but as we approached the house I saw a big Range Rover parked up outside. It was Richard’s, Ray’s brother. My heart sank. Richard was pleasant enough but his wife, Petra, was hard work.
‘Thank you so much for coming!’ Laura whispered when she answered the door, clearly not wanting the rest of the family to realise that I’d been invited to help keep her sane. Ah well, what are sisters for?
‘Hello Je- Oh, is the dog allowed in the house?’ Petra enquired as Blue sped past me in search of Jake and Hannah.
‘Blue’s part of the family,’ Laura piped up while I stood, speechless and offended, at the door.
‘Can I do anything in the kitchen, Laura?’ I asked, but Laura wanted me to sit and talk to Petra, keeping her out of the kitchen so she couldn’t criticise what she was doing.
‘Sorry,’ Laura mouthed to me, out of sight of everyone else.
After an excruciating 20 minutes of talking about Petra’s new fitted wardrobes and the battle she’s having with a neighbour who over fills her wheelie bin, Laura allowed me to escape to set the table and she put up with hearing the same stories from Petra in the kitchen.
‘Okay, we’re ready now,’ said Laura, ‘could you call the children in please Jenny?’
It was a good opportunity to check that Jake and Hannah weren’t allowing their cousins to torture Blue. ‘Come in now please, children,’ I shouted from the back door.
Blue, Hannah and Jake jumped up, eager for their lunch; their cousin, Rudy, ambled in after them, assuming that food was available.
‘You’re not my mum. You can’t tell me what to do,’ was the response I got from a defiant Caitlin who, I suspected, had been over indulged with cake and designer clothes.
With her Moschino designer jeans bursting at the seams, she poked and prodded at one of Hannah’s bug hotels, determined that she wasn’t going to come inside on my say so. The correct response on my part would probably have been some kind words to win her trust and we could have wandered into the house together, talking about beetles and butterflies. But, at six years old, she was stuck in her ways and my lunch was getting cold so I smiled sweetly and said, ‘That’s fine, Caitlin,’ and promptly closed the back door.
Why buy designer clothes for a six-year-old when you can create something cute and original yourself with very little effort?
Take a pair of old (non-designer!) jeans that still fit but are now too short.
Decide what you’d like the new length to be (eg at the knee) and cut the bottom of each leg off, leaving enough for a hem.
These jeans are very skinny so I didn’t want to turn over a double hem at the knee. Therefore, I zigzagged along the raw edge at the bottom and turned them up once. The leg was so narrow it wouldn’t fit round the free arm of the machine so I had to stitch slowly and carefully with the whole leg on top of the ‘sewing table’. To help with this, I ran a row of stitches fairly close to the bottom of the leg, then another row one foot-width higher up. This gave a decorative finish and got the hem positioned securely while I sewed the trickier row higher up. Actually, it was easier to do than I had expected it to be.
I paired up the fabric choices so I could have a different design on the front and the back, then fused them together (wrong sides together) with Bondaweb. I drew around cookie cutters to get the motif shapes I wanted – hearts, stars and flowers (you will have seen the same shapes in the needle felted pin cushions).
Each shape then had a buttonhole added, and a button was sewn onto one of the back pockets of the jeans.
And there we are – five reversible and interchangeable motifs, so 10 options in total!
I don’t actually think Petra would settle for homemade, so it’s lucky I’ve got someone else who can show off these jeans beautifully.
- You’ll find it easier to measure from the bottom of each leg and mark where you are going to cut them, rather than from the waistband.
- When you pair up your fabrics make sure the same colour of thread will look okay for both, because there will only be one buttonhole!
- Old jeans
- Old button
These jeans now are such good fun and perfect for the holidays.
Hope you are inspired to have a go yourselves.