Thursday, March 31, 2016

My homemade sac a tarte

French Village Diaries community sewing sac a tarte
My first sac à tarte with peach and almond tarte

I did it! With the help, guidance and patience of my friends, I am no longer a sewing machine virgin and I’ve not only made my own sac à tarte (twice) but a matching tote bag too.

French Village Diaries community sewing sac a tarte
Cutting the fabric
After my strange shopping expedition to la friperie, I mentioned that my Mum’s old sewing machine had been sitting abandoned in our dining room for years and that I was looking forward to learning how to use it. However, although we managed to get it working, it proved to be too heavy for me to carry down the road to my friend’s cosy stone cottage where four of us meet once a week to stitch (and bitch – in French and English). The next problem with Mum’s machine was adjusting the tension and I got more than a little frustrated with thread snapping and stitch slipping issues. My friend kindly let me use her machine and explained in simple French how to use it. I took my time, enjoyed myself and although not quite perfect, after two mornings of work, chatter and coffee I had a beautiful sac à tarte.

French Village Diaries community sewing sac a tarte
My first sewing session
The timing was perfect as once finished I had all afternoon to bake a peach and almond tarte, which I carefully placed in my sac and proudly carried to the Mairie for an early evening meeting. Our little sewing group and sac à tarte project had generated quite a bit of excitement in the village (not a lot goes on around here in winter), so it was with much pride and even a little curtsey that I presented my tarte in it’s sac to much oohing, aahing and congratulations. A few days later, I took my sac to the boulangerie where I proudly showed Bernadette before safely placing my bag of croissants, Ed’s black forest gateau and my purse inside, laying my baguette across the top and walking home without risking dropping anything. Usually I would stagger home with bags balanced on boxes and a baguette under my arm. I was delighted with it and made a special point of taking it to show my neighbour Pierrette later on that day. She is in her late 70’s and was a seamstress before she retired and although I knew it wasn’t perfect, I thought she’d like to see my first effort, but I wasn’t quite prepared for what happened next. She congratulated me, opened her fridge, removed a fruit tarte she’d ordered from the boulangerie and said we should test it out. No sooner had she placed the tarte in and exclaimed how clever the design was, she turned around, exited the house and placed the sac à tarte in her car, all ready to take to lunch with friends. It seems she’d misunderstood my ‘look what I’ve made and would like to show you’ for ‘look what I’ve made for you’. Although loosing my first creation hurt a little, I do know she will get lots of use from it and she is so kind and generous to us, I really don’t mind her having it. Thankfully I bought enough material from la friperie to make more than one and as I’m now also the proud owner of my very own sewing machine there is no stopping me now.

French Village Diaries community sewing sac a tarte tote bag
Matching sac à tarte and tote bag

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