Monday, September 26, 2011

On Learning to Sew

I'm writing this on a lazy Saturday morning. My sewing machine is staring at me over the top of my lap top. Had it a tongue, no doubt it would be sticking out. The little bastard and its army of scissors, seam rippers, bobbins and rulers taunt me.

Hubby got me a sewing machine for Christmas because I wanted to be able to hem my own pants, to make my own curtains, to play with pillowcases. Then life got busy and it sat around for months untouched.

But a few months ago, unhappy with where I am in life, I decided sewing was my way out. That if I worked at it, I could follow in the footsteps of millions of women (my grandmother included) who used their needle and thread to earn an income.

I spent evening after evening practicing stitches, learning how the fabric moves with the feed dogs, feeling the tautness of my bobbin thread. I also spent countless nights lamenting my wobbly cuts, yelling at the gnarl of thread caught in my machine, crying over a task that seems insurmountable when I can't even sew a straight hem.

It's not all been defeat. I was able to put a blind hem in a pair of jeans. I've made some good progress on a tutu. ("A tutu will be easy," I thought. "I won't have to hem!" Let me tell you, tulle is a slippery devil.) The mystifying buttonhole foot finally makes sense.

My husband has quietly accepted the fact that he will never see the dining room table again and that though the sewing bric-a-brak has been untouched for weeks, he should not ask me about my progress. I'm not giving up. That idea of having a marketable skill, of having even a bit more freedom is too sweet. But I'm frustrated, and my sewing books can't always give me the insight I need. Now that my busy time at work is winding down, I think I'll call up a seamstress from my church and see if she can be the Yoda to my headstrong, gimme-it-now Luke.

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