Twice two

One is the number of skirts I had a week ago; twice two is how many I have now. Twice two because there are only two, really, but each one is made to be worn on both sides, doubling both their warmth and the number of options I have on a chilly morning.

That’s my favourite thing about making my own clothes: the fact that I can have precisely what I want, and need settle for nothing less. Lined woollen skirts? Plain on one side and patterned on the other? Colours which co-ordinate with the rest of my little wardrobe? But of course. Whatever you want, Madam, as Ilse would say.

I don’t like having too many clothes to choose from. There are more important things on my mind in the morning. I make up for it by spending idle moments planning the next addition to my wardrobe. Cleaning out the hens I decided on a sleeve length for my Liberty blouse. Walking to the shops I thought a green sundress would be nice. This kind of thinking goes a long way, when you can open the wardrobe and fling on the nearest thing, knowing that it will all go together reasonably well. And then, when you have a moment over the ironing or the wash, you can stop to appreciate the pretty shell buttons that you chose, or the neat way you bound a hem.

The blue skirt is the one I made last year, and I liked the wooden buttons so much I bought three more to sew on the other, new side. I had the feathered fabric left over from some cushions, much too nice to languish in a cupboard. That was a speedy evening sew.

The red skirt is wholly new: a simple quarter circle skirt where the brown wool-silk herringbone of the other side spills over at waistband and hem. That was Sunday afternoon, bar a quick walk around the vegetables at Beningbrough Hall, to see how their garden grew. I finished the hand sewing while the potatoes crisped up, and the whole house smelled of chicken and spiced apples in an almond sponge. That was a good day.

So I have twice two skirts to choose from now, shivering in the dark before the fires have been lit or the Aga stirred back into life. Ah, well. It makes getting dressed on wintry mornings at least four times as fun.

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