Episode 33 : The Patchwork Girls with novelist Elaine Everest

Elaine Everest

For many of us, our crafts take a back seat as we concentrate on our careers and creativity can be stifled by everyday life. For novelist, Elaine Everest, a childhood growing up with a mother who made clothes and sewed for friends and family, that creativity stayed with her. From dressmaking as a young girl to making designer garments on a knitting machine for London boutiques to then setting up her own business sewing raincoats for dogs, Elaine achieved a lot before she embarked on yet another creative career as a novelist.

Sewing is a theme which runs through Elaine’s series ‘The Woolworths Girls’ and is centre stage in her latest book; The Patchwork Girls. The story, set in World War II, sees a group of women form a sewing circle making patchwork quilts and other items for the war effort. Elaine drew on her own experience of crafts to write the story which shows the healing effects of both friendships and creativity.

Elaine says that although her interest in crafting had waned over the years, the events of the past 18 months have reacquainted her with sewing, crochet and other crafts and that they have ‘saved’ her during lockdown. She spoke to me about her life, her love of creativity and how she ended up writing a string of novels.

You can listen to Elaine’s episode here.

The Patchwork Girls is published by Pan MacMillan.

You can find out more about Elaine on her website, Facebook, Instagram & Twitter

The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.

You can support Making Stitches Podcast with running costs through Ko-fi.
Making Stitches  Podcast is supported by the Making Stitches Shop.

Making Stitches Podcast is presented, recorded and edited by Lindsay Weston.

Episode 30 : Sew on the Go with Mary Jane Baxter

Mary Jane with her new book in ‘Bambi’
Photo credit: Thomas Skovsende

Back in the days before Covid, when the notion of being able to pack up a camper van and do a road trip of Europe was a thing, former BBC Brussels Correspondent Mary Jane Baxter did just that. She did it in style in a 1986 Bedford Bambi van adorned with vintage wallpaper. Taking just a few possessions with her, including her hand-crank sewing machine and a collection of her own hand-made hats, she set off on a voyage of creativity and adventure calling in on former work colleagues and discovering new textile inspired destinations.

A picturesque meal by Lake Annecy

On her return from her tour of France, Belgium, Italy and Scotland, Mary Jane set about recording her travels in the form of a book; Sew on the Go. In it you find a travel journal, a number of creative craft projects you can have a go at as well as a searingly honest document of the highs and, at times, painfully lonely lows of solo traveling. From driving down a black run in the Alps (during summer) and camping next to a Cathedral in France to browsing flea markets and hosting craft pop-ups to help fund the trip, Mary Jane’s account of her travels is warm, emotional and utterly inspiring.

Bambi on the road

My grateful thanks to Mary Jane for sharing her adventures with me for Making Stitches.

Crossing into Italy

You can listen to Mary Jane on Making Stitches here.

Mary Jane looking for bargains at a brocante (flea market)

You can find Mary Jane’s website, where you can order her book; Sew on the Go here and her Instagram account here.

Sewing on the go in Britain

The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.

Bambi at Applecross in Scotland

You can support Making Stitches Podcast with running costs through Ko-fi.