Sewing In A Dystopian Dust Bowl (And Other Words I Never Thought I’d Write)

sewing outside summer

Soooo. Summer. Shall we talk about it?


Or as a friend wrote to me today, ‘I find sleeping at night with no clothes and no covers strangely discomforting rather than liberating!’ No kidding. I mean, we’re British. We don’t do flesh – not of the naked kind.

For anyone outside of the UK, we’re having the heatwave to end all heatwaves. Imagine a dystopian future set in the desert, but with extra dust. That’s us right now.

How does a person even manage to sew?

Well, if you have windows that open and extension leads (and a sunshade) you can drag your sewing machine out into the garden. I have seen people do this. I’ve even heard of people taking their sewing machine on holiday. Is that you?

Don’t forget to also take a bowl of water to plunge your overheated toes into. Though not quite sure how that would work with the foot pedal… Hmmm, really didn’t think that one through.

summer sewing

Snackage is important, obviously

ice lolly

If you can’t manage to sew, you could dream about all the lovely new patterns you shall sew – once it starts raining again. I’m in love with the Sew Over It Marguerite dress and Grainline’s new Felix dress.

Both are PDF patterns and we’ve had an enthusiastic discussion over on Instagram about how brilliant Netprinter are for online ordering of A0 print outs. Highly recommend! They came in a third cheaper than the other supplier I investigated.


Finally, if all else fails you can read blogs. I was delighted today to discover that Jane Brocket has returned to blogging. Jane was one of the very first blogs I used to read and she writes beautifully. Could this herald a return to blogging? I have thoughts, but I shall save those for another time and a different medium – more to come!

Stay cool, guys. And if you can’t stay cool … I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t know what to suggest. I’m off to stick my head in the fridge.

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26 Responses to Sewing In A Dystopian Dust Bowl (And Other Words I Never Thought I’d Write)

  1. Donnalee says:

    We had similar bad heat and scorched-everything for a few weeks here near Woodstock NY, but we have had wonderful good rain for much of the last week or two, and things have gotten back to sanity. I say ‘think cheerful rain’ in a cheerful way and maybe it’ll happen. I hope you get good rain right now.

  2. Jutta says:

    Karen, you are lovely 😊 And if I weren’t so hot – we have a sister (?) of your heatwave in Germany too – I might even laugh! But this is just too hot for too long 😰 Thanks for your tips 😍 and let’s hope for the best 👋🌊

  3. liz n. says:

    Feeling your pain. Here in Dallas, we had an unusually cool early spring, followed by the hottest May in years, followed by recent temperatures averaging 106F. Today, it’s only 90F. “Only.”

    And, of course, when our annual Saharan dust cloud came a-calling, that was when our usual wind decided to move elsewhere. Nearly a week of awful, dusty, lung-clogging air just hanging over us.

    However, y’all have winter down pat. When we start whining about our one week of winter weather, you have permission to point and laugh. 😉

  4. GreenDoor says:

    The heat was beastly in the American Midwest for what seemed like an eternity and finally broke. Do you have basements there? (A level of your house that is underground?) We have those here and I took my machine down to ours. The spiders and centipedes kept me company. I didn’t care – it was worth it to be able to sew in the horrible heat.

    • LinB says:

      I’d even welcome the black snake back into the basement (ours is a walk-out lower level) if it would keep the mice and the camel crickets in check. The copperhead that wandered in to watch my husband iron his shirts was decidedly NOT welcome.

      I find that the top of the chest freezer in the basement is an ideal spot to lay out and cut projects — at least, while the sun is shining. Need to up the wattage on the light bulbs to use that space at night.

  5. Julie Terry says:

    Ooh thanks for the heads up. I love Jane’s books and she has inspired me to make many quilts. Off to IOW on sat. Hoping it will be a bit cooler.

  6. Nic Willcocks says:

    Love your blog – one of the best out there in Blogland imho. And so excited to hear Jane Brocket is blogging again – summer just got even better!

  7. Sarah! says:

    I’m suddenly understanding why so many of my favorite sewing bloggers are British… you get so much more sewing weather than we do!

  8. Chris Griffin says:

    Bathroom of cool water, lights off or dimmed, fan on, good book and some booze.
    Works very very well.

  9. Deborah says:

    Summer arrived about a month early here in Texas, and today’s the first day in along time it’s less than 100 degrees. I’ve been sewing, but the air conditioner is going. There is no way to sew outdoor here.

  10. This is our Summer….every Summer……and I hate it, so I sympathise! Stay cool as best you can -or visit me in Melbourne……it’s cold here!

  11. Lucky Lucy says:

    I know, I understand. Without central air in Summer and heat in Winter I would be quite the basket case. Cannot sleep in the buff, cannot sew when my thermostat is off!

  12. Elisabeth M. Schoopp says:

    Norway is scorched, literally. We haven’t had decent rains since May, and there is hardly any feed for livestock, trees and grass is brown in stead of green. Where I live isn’t too hot, but tomorrow is predicted to exceed 30 degrees C.
    This summer we have been swimming in lakes a lot, not just dipping and getting out in a hurry as usual. It’s nice and worrying at the same time.
    But I agree, I don’t sleep well without covers, and we don’t do A/C, I mean we’re talking about Norway! 😀

  13. Thanks for the toes in a bowl of water tip!

  14. Clare Baker says:

    I am sleeping under a well worn and washed length of cotton fabric that I bought in Cameroon West Africa over 40 years ago. I wore it as a wrap and slept under it there it too. Perfect! It measures 1 yard by 2 yards, the way African prints are still sold. Because it has been worn and washed so much it is soft and light and is full of memories!

  15. I’m not one to complain when the weather is dry and warm in the UK, but this year has been very exceptional. The “dystopian dust bowl” chimed with me – we have builders at the moment so extra dust being trod into the house all the time There’s even dust in the bathroom where they fill up there buckets with water for the cement – ugggh! I’m having a think about how I can get my sewing machine outside, might need an extension cable for that!

  16. Beth Duffus says:

    We seem to be escaping most of the extreme heat up here in the east of Scotland but it’s still lovely and sunny. I still have my white-verging-on-blue Scottish legs but they’re going out today in a newly-made, above-knee, denim chambray skirt whether they like it or not. It was made to replace shorts which I have decided never to wear again because, you’re right Karen, we Brits don’t really do flesh. Hope everyone manages to stay cool and love the responses from all over the world.

  17. Meg says:

    As I write I am on vacation at the lake in New Hampshire with a mixture of sun and showers. I brought my sewing machine AND serger and am in heaven. My day goes like this: walk dogs, swim, sew, repeat.

  18. Suzanne Bradley says:

    Thanks for the heads-up abut Netprinter! Will save so much time cutting and sticking together.I had no idea you could do it so cheaply!

  19. Sandra says:

    Before I moved to Norway I lived in Germany. I know hot (dry or humid) summers in a big town. Norwegian summers are perfect. Not too warm and not too cold and rainy. We talk about 15 to 25°C in average summers. This summer is exceptional warm (today it shall be a little bit over 30°C degree) and dry, but still not as warm as I remember from Germany. And, what is more important, not constantly over a long period of time! My parents are currently boiling in the german heat and we are happy, that it is summer, but with moderate warmth.
    I remember german summers where we just satt on the shady balcony with our feet in water bowls and cool drinks in our hands. And in the evenings one could sit outside without jackets/cardigans and sleep with open windows. I miss this a little bit, but then I talk to my parents or friends in Germany or read posts like yours and I am totally happy where I am.
    I think of you all! Do not work or do sports too much and always remember: enjoy the weather, because you never know how the next summer will be or how strong next winter!

  20. Hannah says:

    I know , it is sooo hot. I take my sewing machine to the garden on nice days, but it even seems too hot for that, I resorted to indoors, window open and fan blowing on me while sewing. Alternating that with feet in a bowl in the garden! I wish I had a pool right now.

  21. Mem says:

    Sounds like every summer to me here in Australia. Try going bed in a damp nighty or wear a wet T shirt with the fan blowing on you . It’s evaporative cooling and works beautifullly . I still do on particularly hot nights

  22. Megan says:

    I hope relief is on the way for you, the UK is not really set up for extreme heat. I was on the M1 in 1993 and the tarmac was melting and it wasn’t that hot. The road was closed and it was a very long trip into London. Sad to say Global Warming is real and the extremes will become more pronounced. Hotter, drier, colder, wetter extremes in everything. Time to mend our ways.

  23. maursby says:

    Hi from Australia. We feel your pain although it was only 14C today and windy. Too cold for us. We do get very hot where we live and I see you have a beautiful Schnauzer. I get one of hubby’s hankies and fold it into a bandana. Wet it and tie it loosely around the dog’s neck. Cools her down really quickly. Sometime if it’s extra hot – 45C I put the wet in the freezer for a while and then put it on. Come to think of it you might like to have one yourself!

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