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Sharon Bill Music Tutor & Author

'Night' of the Garter


How on earth did I end up sewing a burlesque garter? As a member of Mossley WI I was super thrilled to be asked by our President to represent our group in a competition at The Cloud group meeting. Of all things, I was asked to sew a garter. Any excuse for a trip to my local market and a sneaky market coffee.

I’ve never made a garter before (why would I?) but I figured it couldn’t be all that difficult. I hadn’t much spare time to either sew or exhaustively shop so a quick trip to my local haberdashery stall at my local market, Tunstall Market, beckoned. However, I did make time for a market coffee - such a nice change from the usual up-market latte: Hot milk warmed in a saucepan with basic coffee powder (not even granules) and a cheeky sticky bun!

I’m not very good at coming up with a concrete plan and then searching out particular materials, I am always at my most creative when I’m forced to adapt and make use of whatever is readily available (‘Make Do and Mend’ is my recurring motto in life). The ‘ingredients’ available to hand seemed to shout out for a burlesque design! How would Cheshire WI favour such a creation? Silly me - of course the WI is ready for anything!

Such a tiny article of attire took me far longer to sew than it should have done, but I was conscious that the WI maintains extremely high standards - no bonus points just for effort (how refreshingly non-PC). The finished creation wasn’t quite hitting the mark, to my thinking, so I edged the decorative heart by hand with blanket stitch to give it relief over the red ribbon. Even then it looked a limp little thing just laying on the table. To give that final touch to the presentation I quickly whipped up a cushion, edged in the same zig-zag that I’d edged the red ribbon with (for thematic unity) and I finally felt that my work was complete.

The night of the group meeting came around which, sadly, I wasn’t able to attend. All I could do was wait, and hope that I hadn’t let my team down.

Beyond all my expectations the Secretary emailed to tell me that I’d won the trophy for our group! I have secretly nursed a long held ambition to garner some sort of WI award - to me it’s the ultimate accolade. I now have the pleasure of holding the rose bowl trophy - which will be engraved with our WI group name and year of success. It also means that I know have the honour (and responsibility) of keeping it polished!