Well, ladies and gentlemen of the internet, I am delighted to tell you that I completed my Captain Tom 100 challenge over the bank holiday weekend of sewing 100 items. It was a bigger challenge than I was expecting. Speed sewing is not my natural way of sewing, neither is sewing to order, but I had to do both in order to finish in the 4 days allotted. Also, I had to deal with daily life and a new medical challenge but I did it!
I made 101 things in the end by hand and on my trusty vintage sewing machine, Elsie:
20 washable and reusable makeup pads from an old, but clean towel and 100% cotton poplin from my stash
7 embroideries on denim from my stash
10 hair bows made from 100% cotton poplin
26 mug rugs (fabric coasters) using three different fabrics from my stash
Keeping on sewing was quite hard at times. And I'm unable to do very detailed sewing work as the daylight wanes. Electric light isn't particularly comfortable to work in for sewing. Or at least, not the electric lights I have available to me at the moment. So I had to manage my time effectively. And I was more reliant than I was expecting on friends and neighbours engaging with me by donating and offering moral support. Each donation and comment really did spur me on that little bit more and really lifted my spirits when I was flagging.
Planning and cutting things out takes at least as long as sewing the item in question. It's hard to predict how long it takes for that so inevitably, it takes longer than you'd like. And my trusty sewing machine is certainly trusty, but it takes time to wind bobbins, get the tension right, thread and rethread it and coax the presser foot over thick layers of fabric and wadding. I certainly got to know her very well that weekend and she worked really hard and really consistently.
Raising money for charity is hard. There are constant demands for our hard-earned cash, and my campaign was yet another one. Getting my donations in relied heavily on my personal network chipping in and me taking the time to keep people up to date with my progress. As I shared my progress and results, more people engaged. I think all but one or two of the donations were from people I knew personally. To get bigger money, you need to get beyond that and I didn't manage that this time and you need to start earlier to build up the momentum and enthusiasm to get the donations in.
It was also really good to get such positive support from the charity I was fundraising for - Magic Me. I got daily morning emails with words of support and PR support too. that was really helpful for me and a good way to start each day knowing that what I was doing was appreciated and that the money raised would be very useful. They also managed to get me in the local news which was a bonus.
I also learned things about myself during the challenge. It's a long time since I've done anything remotely like this. Committing to and completing the challenge gave me a big boost of self-confidence. My natural state in the past has been commitment-phobic and a starter-upper rather than a completer-finisher. (There's good reason for that which I may write about another time.) Regardless, this time, I was able to counter that tendency and that felt really good.
At the time of writing, my campaign has just got over the £500 mark. That's £200 more than my goal so it's fantastic! My friends and neighbours have been very generous. The campaign is still open, so if you'd like to donate, you can do that here.
So thank you Captain Tom for being you and inspiring me to take on this challenge! Rest in peace good Sir.