In which we unveil a new MR design…

BUT before that, I really must discuss something else with you… 


I’ve been convincing myself for a while now that it isn’t true, but in the last few weeks I’ve simply had to accept it – when it comes to sewing machines ‘newer’ does not necessarily go hand in hand with ‘better’. When I first got into sewing several years back a good friend of mine gave me an old Singer 201k to get me started, but as is typical of me I wanted to run before I could walk so I soon dashed out and replaced it with a newer, bright, white and shiney model. I think I naively believed that having a brand new machine with every bell and whistle one could imagine would immediately turn me into an astounding seamstress (Can a man be a seamstress?! What’s the equivalent? Tailor?) and that the old adage ‘practice makes perfect’ need not apply… But despite the astronomical price tag of the newer machine and the promise that it would simultaneously be able to hoover, iron, clean the toilet and make the tea WHILST quilting my latest project, I have found myself returning more and more frequently to the comfort of that trusty old 201k. 

I can’t really even say why. It’s just a feeling I get when I use it. The new machine is like a rollercoaster – all bright and loud and exciting, but it just feels a little out of control sometimes, a bit bumpy, you know? Whereas the 1958 Singer feels sturdy, safe, reliable…. Like a steamtrain! 


The weight of it, the power of the piston as the needle fires up and down, the stamina of the machine to have endured for so many years…All these little things combine until the quality of the engineering and workmanship are almost palpable. It’s what gives these older machines soul…. And you know what? The manual only says that I’ll be able to sew with it! Just sew! Nothing else!  It won’t walk the dogs, or stand in for me at jury duty, or write the Christmas cards (Oh Dear God they go ON at this time of year, don’t they?!) but it will sew a perfect line of stitches – and isn’t that all we really want, anyhow? 

There’s no point to any of this, of course – I think I’m just frustrated wiith myself for trying to persevere with a newer model simply because I felt that I ought to and for not recognising that I had something brilliant in the first place! The only probem, however, for a serious shopaholic like me is that as I’ve gradually come to accept that the older machines are the way forward I’ve been spending hours whole days ‘quite a lot of time’ stalking them on ebay! I’ve not even bought another one. I just look at them. And drool…. 

MEANWHILE! In the world where I actually get things done…

Started knitting a few rows of the cardigan for my Niece. Nothing very exciting to report, but thought my dear readers may like to see how that self-striping yarn has started to knit up…


And FINALLY on to the real reason for today’s post – my new Mothers Ruin design….

As many of you will know, I’m rather a fan of vintage textiles so over the last few years I’ve amassed a huge and varied collection of tray cloths, crocheted runners, bed linen – you name it, I’ve got it, including fur collars! I’ve always been attracted to fur – it just screams luxury and glamour, doesn’t it?! I defy anyone to look at a piece of fur and not immediately want to start smoking with a cigarette holder and go off to commit a murder Agatha-Christie-style! I digress…. In the process of moving I came across several bags of these vintage fur collars and knew that I had to do something with them. 

But try as I might, I couldn’t come up with anything that seemed to do them justice. By and large, they were too small to turn into anything practical or ‘home-furnishing-esque’. Besides, the majority of the individual pelts had been stitched together at a slight, almost imperceptible, angle to shape them to the human form. Yes, these were quite unmistakeably collars and would have to remain so…. Thus, I decided that I would not fight the foundations upon which these things were made – I would embrace them and simply bring them up to date….

With a 4mm crochet hook and several balls of leftover bamboo yarn (bamboo yarn is lovely – it is sooo soft and has the most delightful sheen) I hooked up two long lengths of openwork crochet to provide maximum flow and drape…

Next I removed the warped and faded lining from the back of one of the fur collars…

Before re-lining in a cool, contemporary polka dot fabric and attaching the crocheted ties…

(A little aside at this point! I think I now know why I have never seen vintage fur collars ‘upcycled’ elsewhere – they are ridiculously difficult to stitch into! The fur panels are rolled at the edges, so to attach a new lining you are going through two layers of cotton, two layers of thick hair and two layers of dense skin. I cannot begin to tell you how many needles I broke, how sore the thimble made my finger ((admittedly I have fingers like large pork sausages!)) or how many times I swore… I’m whizzing through this as though I whipped it up in a matter of minutes, but it actually took HOURS!)

And here it is – the finished design… Mothers Ruin’s statement scarf, a fresh take on an old fur collar…

The crocheted ‘fronds’ can be tied in a large, eyecatching bow as above, or scooped into a giant bulbous knot as you would with a long beaded necklance…

Rather a difficult item to display, so apologies for the next shot! I looped it over a light fitting in order to give you an idea of the luxurious weight and drape that the bamboo yarn has…


And that’s that! It’s off to the shop for this design to find a new home with somebody that likes to make an entrance!


More soon


MR x x x 


One thought on “In which we unveil a new MR design…

  1. Zola says:

    So glad you’re still using the sewing machine. Sturdy and simple…reminds me of someone….Chortle Chortle 😉 Oh how I laugh…… Where the hell do you get your fabulous ideas from? Those scarfs are amazing. Have you given a few of your wares to local outlets yet? xx

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