Whether or not they knew anything about sewing when their daughters took up ballet, by the time their daughters have been there a few months, all the mothers have learnt to sew.
You start off by sewing elastic straps onto ballet shoes. Not too taxing, but important to get right, so that the ballet shoes fit properly and the elastic doesn't ping off in the middle of an exercise thanks to lazy-mum sewing. O gets through ballet shoes at the rate of two pairs a term, so that's many, many, many elastics sewn over the past four and a half years.
Sweet chubby legs wearing new shoes with new elastics - January 2007
Then the teachers will send the girls home with little bits of slippery silk, or satin, that need to be hemmed, or edged with lace, to become scarves or handkerchiefs or other dancing props. Small girls learning ballet seem to do an awful lot of leaping about with floaty scarves.
And then a bit further down the line - when you get so blase that you can attach a pair of elastics onto shoes a scant five minutes before class - comes the ballet show.