Officially Heading Towards Middle Age

To be honest it’s been sneaking up on me for a while now. The early years of my 40s passed by in a bit of a blur, but this last one has been trickier. It starts with that stubborn bit of spread around the middle sector which a couple of other bloggers have commented on recently. As I actually like exercise and eat fairly healthily (most of the time) a little bit of Christmas/ Easter / holiday indulgence usually shifts itself fairly naturally with a bit of time, but since I hit 43 it’s not going anywhere fast! Grrr…

My favourite hobbies have always been a bit ‘middle aged’, and I’ve always found it impossible to resist the raft of sewing magazines that come alongside them. But recently I’ve found myself gravitating towards the somewhat ‘older’ publications of Good Housekeeping (oh, how my younger self would have scoffed) and Prima (well, it does come with a free sewing pattern) and away from Grazia and In Style. Yes, I’m not ashamed to admit that fashion articles on how to incorporate a bit of Kate Middleton’s style or how to dress ‘beautiful at any age’ are suddenly more relevant than how to work a cropped top (heaven forbid) or conquer festival style (err, wellies and a good waterproof…).

But last month I officially embraced my middle ages by joining my local WI. Oh, yes indeed! My husband found this simultaeneously hilarious and horrifying. Anyhow, the next monthly meeting is their annual fundraiser, so I’ve been beavering away on my donations. Keen to increase my gift repertoire I attempted a new pattern for a Tie Wrap Glasses Case, which featured in Love Sewing Magazine (issue 25). I thought this would be the perfect gift for females of ahem, a certain age, but also useful for sunglasses for younger members.

This was the perfect project for using up pretty scraps and some fat quarters that I’d had for far too long. The pattern was really straightforward, but I must admit I found getting a bit of an assembly line going really speeded me up after the first one. I’ve never used batting before, so despite this being a pretty simple pattern, I felt I’d learnt something new too. I also found it daftly enjoyable matching the fabrics up together. Anyone else get a small kick out of this? πŸ˜‰ Even the off-cuts in my bin were pretty, but I’ll spare you the photos… I managed to run up six cases over two short afternoon sessions and then used some smaller scraps to make some very, very simple lavender stacks, which again hopefully will have universal appeal.

I imagine there are some pretty skilled seamstresses amongst the WI members, so I’m hoping my contributions pass muster… Fingers crossed they sell!

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50 thoughts on “Officially Heading Towards Middle Age

  1. Oh, how I empathise! My middle age spread started after I failed to lose the excess weight after having my last child at forty! I’m also tempted by the WI, much to my friends’ horror (they’re in denial). I love your little makes and reckon they should be very popular. By the way, I used to buy Prima as an eighteen year old back in the mid eighties when it wasn’t considered for the oldies! I loved the free dressmaking patterns:)

    • Glad I’m in good company! I’m also fighting my first bout of insomnia which I can’t help but connect with becoming a certain age… Funnily enough, the more friends I tell about attending my first WI meeting, the more, after the laughter dies down, want to come with me next time. The group I joined were substantially older but couldn’t have been more friendly and welcoming. And they really do sing Jerusalem to start the meetings πŸ˜‰

  2. Since seeing “Calendar Girls” I’ve wished (vainly) for some version of WI over here. But that’ll never be, I’m afraid. . . From across those 1,000’s of miles WI looks like a grand & supportive way to learn how to pickle & can & do a lot of things I never learnt but wish I could. Am not surprised others are now interested in attending – well done you for braving censure to join, then talking about it! xx

    • πŸ™‚ I’ve been toying with the idea for a while and then having a nose at their website I discovered the next meeting was the very next evening, so took it as a sign. It felt kind of like a church community, but without the religion! Very supportive (checking up on older members who hadn’t been seen for a while), but fun too. Do you not have an equivalent over there?

      • No equivalent that I’m aware of. In the 1960’2, before the majority of women here worked, there used to be civic clubs for women in some towns (my mum was a member), but I’m not aware of anything that tied them together the way your WI is organized. That teaching school they have looks marvelous. Wish I could take some of their courses, and have opportunities to meet other women from other parts of the country. Was thinking about that the other day, and concluded this is such a large country that many things get too diluted. There might be just as many people interested over here as there are in Blighty, but they’re too spread out geographically here.
        Hope that makes sense! Thanks for asking, and thanks so much for mentioning it in your blog. 😘

      • Thanks, it was nice to work with batting, really helped to make them more practical. I’m pleased with the outcomes, almost a shame to give them away… πŸ™‚

      • Think I’ve heard of civic clubs before. What a shame, although a lot of what they have to offer over here seems to happen in the day so not easy when you work. They seemed eager to find me something though, it was lovely to feel so welcomed and very feminist (in a very polite manner).

  3. That’s such fun you’ve joined your local WI. My elderly neighbors are always nagging me to come along so I applaud you for being braver than me and diving in. The glasses cases are such a good Idea. I can never find my reading glasses when I need them, can’t thread a needle without them!

    • Ha! I think the groups vary and there are now some quite ‘trendy’ ones. Mine seemed pretty traditional, but a very active group πŸ™‚ Hopefully my efforts won’t look too shoddy next to others’ work…

  4. At 44 i’m now trying to fight against the tummy! Well, since last friday after being the youngest and fattest on my trip!! Rosemary Conely is now my best friend!
    You’re makes are fab and good for you joining the WI – I bet you’re a breath of fresh air to them. Do you have to wear a uniform??? Only kidding, lol! πŸ™‚

    • Ha! No uniform and thankfully the talk was far more interesting than the ’50 ways with a cucumber’ I was expecting… Although one to two of those might have been interesting πŸ˜‰

      • ..lol….!! One of the ladies today at the mini meetup suggested I could do a talk (about my job not sewing) at her WI. I think it’d be quite tricky even tho I can waffle on amongst friends it’s different being in the limelight! Maybe the cucumber thing I could talk about easier than my job!! 😳

      • I think you’d be great! But know what you mean, I hate public speaking and I’m a teacher… Standing up in front of lots of teenagers is a lot different than other adults…

  5. oh, I love this! I’m actually excited to know (even just in the internet way) someone who’s a member of the WI! I’ve always had a fascination with all things quintessentially English (when I lived there I was a member of the local literature and amateur dramatic festival society which I thought was very much a feeder group to the local WI!), so I’ll follow along your career in the WI fondly.
    As for middle age spread – it truly is quite disconcerting, isn’t it? I do a LOT more exercise than during my 30s, but those extra pounds aren’t shifting…

    • Ha! Love how you’re imagining me having a ‘career’ in the WI, I’ll keep you posted…
      Think my husband might disown me if I exhibit any other ‘middle-aged’ behaviour, but luckily he’s got a little more around the middle too, safety in numbers! Depressing though, I read somewhere that drinking lattes really doesn’t help, so I’m trying to limit myself to one a day. I’ll let you know if it makes a difference…

  6. I love matching up fabrics to make little bags etc. Yours look great – you’ll be on the WI Committee before long! My mother has been a WI member for years and was even Madam President for a while (and played the piano for Jerusalem). I don’t think I could ever compete with that!

  7. I’m so tempted to join the WI. it looks enormous fun. My local one has an average age of 1002, but when we move the then local one is somewhat younger. I also wish we had an equivalent to the American Sewing Guild. I’d be all over that too!

    Oh, and 43 is nowhere near middle aged. I’m 50 soon and I’m still convinced that’s not middle aged either. Please run with me on this one! πŸ˜‰

    • πŸ™‚ You just made me smile at the end of a long week. Thank you! More than happy to go with you on that. Think 1002 is probably about the average age of mine, but they did try to introduce me to a couple of the ‘youngsters’ before I left… Although all female company is good in my book, regardless of age.

      • D’ya know, you’re right…all female company IS good. And I’m glad I raised a smile. Sorry you’ve had a long week. Hope the weekend is more fun!

  8. This made me smile, I got widely mocked by my husband and friends for going along to a newly forming WI preliminary meeting. (I’m in my 30s.) I didn’t get my membership form in time, so I’m on the waiting list. This one is part of the ‘new breed’ of WIs, so I hope to get a place soon. Although it’s so popular, they are thinking of setting up another group, if not two!

    • Hurrah! I found it really funny how everyone laughed at first but then I was inundated with Qs and a fair few people offering to join me. Does have a cult like appeal, but not at all like that in reality. Hope you get into the next one… πŸ™‚

  9. I know I’m probably missing a lot, but I really can’t bring myself to join the WI – although I’m older than you, my eighty year old mother in law belong to the WI and I really can’t get my head round joining it because of that. My much younger friend belongs, maybe I should have a word with her about it.

    • I’ve done nothing further than attend the monthly meetings so far. Think you can be as active as you want to be and a lot of events happen in the day when I’m at work. There were a lot of much older ladies, but some ‘youngsters’ too. And I’m always happy to be the ‘youngster’ category, doesn’t happen often these days… πŸ˜‰

  10. Yep, I’ve got the spread too, despite lots of exercise & careful eating it’s not shifting :-(. On a happier note WI sounds fab! I love your makes and Good Hpusekeeping too. Just can’t bear the gossip in the ‘younger’ mags about celebs I’ve never heard of – crikey I am sounding ancient now!!

    • It’s frustrating isn’t it?! I can’t help but think it effects women more than men too, which is doubly frustrating. I think a lot of mine is wine-related, but you have to have some pleasures in life, I’ve already pretty much given up cake… And totally agree on the celeb front, they’re all so, so young!

  11. Loving your glasses cases – a great way of busting that stash! You must post about how you’re getting along at the WI as I’m very intrigued. I bet you’re the youngest one there!

  12. Oh you sweet thing, β™‘ β™‘ I’m 60 something and still waiting for middle aged…. Well at least that’s how I feel on the inside! When they say age is a state of mind trust me it’s true. I love the fabric choices and the idea is great. I’ve been looking for a little project that’s not too taxing and think I will give this one a try. I don’t know what the WI is but it certainly sounds like fun.

  13. I’ve really enjoyed reading your post and all of the comments – my favourite is Kate’s with “middle age starts at 60”! I think we can’t help but become more rounded as the years pass by – que sera sera x

  14. Love those lavender stacks – they are gorgeous!
    I am going to be 44 this year and I am gravitating towards those ‘older’ sewing magazines too!!

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