Home economics was not my strongest subject at school. In my very first sewing lesson I laboured over my cross stitch and chain stitch sampler, only to have the teacher unpick it all when, on standing up from my chair, it became apparent that I’d sewn the sampler to my trousers. I fared no better in secondary school. When others had graduated to knitting jumpers, I was still doing the “learn to knit” coat hanger cover, and even then I had to admit defeat and stretch my pathetic attempt over the smallest coat hanger I could find. Clearly my genetic inheritance did not include my mother’s seamstress gene. She might argue that she learned to sew through necessity. I would counter-argue that necessity is learning to darn socks or repair a hem, and that there is more than a little flair and skill involved in producing beautiful lined curtains, knocking up some cushion covers, antimacassars, table runners, mats and plaited tie-backs out of the left over material, and then, just for the hell of it, crocheting a matching cushion cover. I don’t know about you, but I think the results are fabulous. But I’m biased because my mum made the lot.