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Hands up if you have ever purchased hem tape? It doesn’t work. For as long as I can remember my sister and I have taken every mending or sewing need to our Mother.

My Mum is a great seamstress and as kids she made us most of our clothes – from swimming togs to dancing costumes. We were pretty lucky even if we did hate the matching outfits that we sometimes ended up with!

Sewing is an art lost on my sister and myself – though not from lack of trying on Mum’s behalf, I just was not interested. I didn’t have the patience. I reasoned I could just buy the clothes I wanted.

I have often wondered though what my children will be sporting as costumes. It will be alright if I have notice – I can get Nan to whip something up, but what about the last minute ‘Mum I need to be a Carrot for tomorrows play’ or ‘Mum I have no buttons left on my shirt’. Perhaps basic sewing is a skill I might need after all.

I am going to start off small. I am going to get Mum to teach me to sew a hem. I found a material store – and discovered another new world where the only language spoken is fabric – stretch, taffeta, print, rouching, on-bias, off-bias. I bought some cheap practice material.

As if on cue my sister turned up to Mum’s with a bag of material and a headful of ideas. It was hilarious watching my nephews model the material as she explained her requests. More words were added to my sewing vocabulary – Guttemanns thread and voil. I dutifully transcribed the ideas and once done Mum agreed without battering an eyelid.

Onto our sewing lesson. Once I got started I realised that I remembered some of the what I was doing. Somewhere along the line I had picked up a few skills and sitting in front of the machine my hands seemed to know what to do. I won’t say I’m a natural or that my finsihed product is pretty, but nevertheless I did sew the hem myself and am pretty confident I could do it again. I will still be bringing my clothes to Mum for some time yet, but I think I can throw out the hem tape.