A while back, when I was still at uni (and I hate to think how many years ago that was now!), I had this bright idea of making my own clothes.

I like skirts with lots of fabric, skirts that swish and swirl, and I think at the time they weren’t in fashion so were difficult to find. But I wanted some, so I would make them, and dresses with such skirts.

Several attempts later, I had some ill-fitting, badly-sewn items which I wore about once apiece and then stuffed in a cupboard. It didn’t help that I struggled with sewing a straight seam with my (then) shiny new sewing machine. She (I named her Elsie) joined the clothes in the cupboard, and I regret that’s where she mostly stayed. I had occasional forays into sewing after that. Nothing major, no clothes from scratch, anyway.

I still want swishy skirts. All the ones I had then have long since departed this world and I fell into boring jeans out of sheer laziness. And because I couldn’t find any I liked in the charity shops I frequented. I put them from my mind and worried about other things.

I’ve started finding the skirts I like again, though. Apparently, M&S’s Per Una range has had some lovely ones, over the years, now to be found on eBay. I still want to make my own – I have a chest of fabrics to be used, after all, and those dresses to be remade – but these will do in the meantime.

But I think I ought to start simple. With the straight seams. And easy projects that don’t require too much fabric, or measuring.

With that in mind, therefore, I’m restarting my sewing with some Christmas sewing. I originally got these fat quarters (from Hobbycraft, in my spree back in October) with an idea of making them into a festive skirt, but that started to seem like too much work, and it wouldn’t be long enough.

Therefore, a stocking for me (M already has one I made him years ago), and a tablecloth for our first Christmas on our own.

For the tablecloth, I retrieved Elsie from her box. I started by hand, but I got bored pretty quick. Not enough patience for that. Poor Elsie – she has all sorts of fancy stitches I thought I’d grow into with my sewing, and all I actually ever use is the basic running stitch. Maybe I will grow into the others, one day.

My seams aren’t completely straight, but they’re considerably straighter than I’ve ever managed before, so I can cope. It just needs hemming and backing onto something like felt, to give a little more protection to the table.

And it took less than an hour, even with Elsie on her slowest speed. Next up, a poinsettia stocking.