Sewing for Bleak House book club

I love to read, it predates my love of sewing. I needed glasses probably from birth and didn't get them until 4th grade. Pair that with a general lack of coordination and no athletic ability and you come up with a kid who loves to read, me. I had a devil of a time learning how to ride a two wheeler and I think the only thing that kept me trying was the thought of quicker trips to the library. Once I retired from full time teaching, my reading time increased and I vowed to first read Anna Karenina. I even got 43 Facebook friends to try to finish it with me and from that group reading effort, a book club was born. I belong to two other book clubs that read modern fiction, this one reads the classics, 3 a year. Hence the ultra clever name, Three Classics in One Year Book Club. We even have our own Facebook page and have marched through seven classics together since June of 2010. For the past four months we have been trying and sometimes succeeding at reading Bleak House by Charles Dickens. I had never heard of it until we picked it and we all said, oh let's pick a book by Dickens no one has read before. Well, we succeeded on that front!
Bleak House

Our Grand Finale, or book club meeting, is this Sunday chez moi. We always try to match the food with the book so we are having a tea! Yay! I love tea parties! Since I am the one who talked everyone into this in the first place, I always host. Also, I love to host so I can set the table. Cooking is not my favorite thing in life but I adore setting the table because I usually can figure out something that I get to sew! I already had a tea themed table runner, apron and dish towels.
Tea linens

I took a look at the tea cup fabrics I had left, almost of yard of one and just about two yards of the other. It would mean depleting the stash but I think I could get a total of 12 napkins!

Tea cup fabric

And I did, I got 4 smallish ones of the one fabric and 8 slightly bigger ones of the other. There are 10 of us gathering so this will be perfect.
Tea napkins

There is usually a way to make things work, a way to finagle things if you are a sewer. Add a different fabric, put on an extra hem or change the design but you can figure it out. The same might be said in reading. Some books I fly right through and others are a battle. Reading Bleak House was an epic battle. I had to start it twice and even listen to it on a downloaded audio version to get going. Then to finish the last 200 pages I had to watch the 8 part BBC production which refreshed the beginning for me and I finished the book before I ended the 8th episode.  Done, mission accomplished!

Eking out 12 napkins or finishing a book that is a struggle, it's a good feeling to make your goal. And even more fun when it involves tea with friends! I will let you know how the table looks for our Grand Finale tea party.  Cheerio!

Sew happy!


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  • I loved the tea cup fabric. Your napkins and apron turned out great.

  • In reply to Kliffjo:

    Thanks, it was a fun day!

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at

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