Thursday, 10 March 2011

Short Shrift?

It has been another busy day – at Sewing Club last night, one of the girls completed her pjs – adding a little motif to a pre-purchased vest, to go with the shorts she has made.


I was amazed when I realised that it is just two years since our last sessions of pyjama making! We have another couple of sets almost finished. Maybe I ought to make myself some of these pj shorts for the summer…

As I thought about shorts, I wondered if the phrase ‘short shrift’ had any connection with Shrove Tuesday. I discovered this…

Shrove Tuesday was the day when people got ‘shriven’ of their sins by the priest. He heard their confession then prescribed a shrift – or penance. This was important to make sure you were ready for Lent.

Short Shrift was when the penalty had to be a quick one – because the person making confession was a condemned criminal! In the 17th century, criminals were sent to the scaffold immediately after sentencing and only had time for a 'short shrift' before being hanged.

Now short shrift is used to mean ‘deal with quickly’ or ‘give scant consideration to’ In 1594, Shakespeare used the expression in Richard III.

The other thing I was making two years ago was costumes for a School Play [Robin Hood] This week I have been making hoods again – but for the other school where I work.

To go with the little piggy costumes made over the weekend, I have made some cow and mouse hoods. I used a simple hood pattern modified from this book [which I got in Oxfam in 1989 and have been using ever since for all sorts of projects]Little Clothes for little people- vansteenderen. jpg

Cut out a simple hood shape in a soft jersey/t shirt type fabric, adding tabs on the lower front edge to tie under the chin.


Cut out pairs of circles and sew together for ears [I drew round a reel of sellotape, and then overlocked them]


[does this look like I’m taking the Mickey?]

In black you have a ‘cow’ head-dress


In White, with pink lining for the ears, you have a mouse



Using the overlocker has meant I was able to produce these 12 hoods in an evening. That machine certainly earns its keep!


  1. Fascinating hearing where these words come from. I would never have thought about connecting short shrift and Shrove Tuesday because I never thought about the meaning of shrift. Thanks for another new fact.

  2. I have an overlocker, too, and what an asset it is. The hoods are really effective and they remind me of the time when our daughter was at primary school and needed costumes for school plays etc.

  3. Cute! And thanks for the Jamone website projects tip. :-)


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