Skills for Living

Just because it's pretty

Sewing is one of those skills I’ve been meaning to master for many years, but it just hasn’t happened. When I was in junior high, I did my obligatory time in Home Economics, which was enough to scare me away from sewing for a long, long time.

There were two Home Ec. teachers in my school. The cooking instructor was famous for her erratic and fickle moods, but because I cooked at home with my mother, I came away with no lasting scars. The sewing teacher made all of her own skirt suits and came to school each day in full evening makeup, her long nails freshly painted. She was icy to all but a few in the class and generally left the rest of us to figure out our assignments on our own. To make matters worse, I was very ill for several weeks that semester and when I returned, I found that she’d confiscated all my sewing equipment. I managed to pass the semester (and get some of the contents of my sewing box back), but I kept my distance from sewing machines from then on. I limited my sewing to replacing buttons and hand-sewing simple hems.

At the time, it didn’t seem like a big loss. I felt very DIY for mastering thrift-shopping and I needed to spend a lot of leisure time scouring Odyssey Imports for the Brit Pop that local radio stations so criminally neglected to play.

As the Handmade Revolution took hold, I took up knitting again and taught myself how to crochet. After a while, though, I started to notice the cute outfits and accessories that others were sewing. I realized that much of it was very simple in design and thought, I should be able to do that.

Well, I’m determined that this year I am going to learn how. Maybe I won’t be making myself a dress with darts and gathers, but I’m going to have at least one tote bag made with cute fabric and I’m going to feel confident enough to hem my pants on a machine.
I’m signing up for a Sewing Machine 101 class at Spool of Thread. I’ll meet you back here early next month and let you know how it went.

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5 thoughts on “Skills for Living

  1. It’s amazing how profound an effect teachers can have on us, for good or for ill. Good for you for learning a new skill! My great-grandmother was supposedly an excellent seamstress; I’m afraid I’ve inherited none of her talent in that area. I’m just happy to have rediscovered knitting, and (kind of) figured it out this time around. Who knows, maybe you’ll inspire me. Can’t wait to hear more!

  2. Thanks, Leslie. My mother can sew when she puts her mind to it. She made many Hallowe’en costumes for us when we were small (unless she was really busy and then we were ghosts). I don’t have lofty aspirations; competence will suit me nicely.

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