Friday, April 14, 2017

A Sad Story of Sewing

Try as I might, I am not capable of making lovely items from material, thread, yarn - or much of anything else. (I take beautiful pictures and write lovely words to make up for it, though. And I can color.)

These past eight months or so I have delved into these homemaking crafts, remembering with each attempt why the idea of Home Ec in high school never appealed to me. All thumbs, untidy, unable to do a straight stitch - that's me. I am the pig pen of sewing and home crafts.

Back in the fall, I purchased two pair of stretch jeans. At the time of the purchase I knew the pants were too short when I tried them on, but my husband, who was with me, said, "Oh, they look great." Against my better judgment, we bought the britches.

Since I am allergic to most dyes, I have to wash dark jeans multiple times in white vinegar and/or baking soda. So both of these jeans went straight into the wash. I think it took 11 dips in vinegar before I stopped smelling the dye odor.

After that, I tried them on and yes, they were too short. I hate it when my pants do not break around my shoes. If you can see my shoe strings, my jeans are too short.

I wore them occasionally around the house but the too-short issue bugged me.

Here they are, all nicely hemmed.

And then I ripped the hem out. Yikes.

I used to do this in high school, an act that drove my mother crazy. She hated the raveled look at the bottom of my jeans, that I would sometimes end up walking on them, and the fact that I would do that to my clothes.

To compromise, I let her run a line of thread around the bottom of my jeans with the promise of carefully cutting off the raveled parts from time to time.

My mother was into sewing. She could take a piece of cloth and turn in into a pair of pants or a blouse. Presto change-o. Her expertise did not pass into my genes, apparently.

Looking at my newly no-hemmed pants, I recalled how my mother sewed that line along the bottom to keep my jeans from unraveling all the way up to my knees.

I pulled out my "vintage" Brother sewing machine, circa 1989 or so.

I took it from its hidey-hole in the closet, letting it see the light of day for the first time in at least 10 years. It was already threaded and ready to go. I zipped one leg in and raced the thread around it.
It wasn't even, but it would keep the pants from raveling too much.
I set out to do the second leg. I made it about a fourth of the way around and then the machine stopped.

As you can imagine, I opened that up and it looked like Frankenstein to me. I had a dim memory of how to check on things, but of course the manual for this machine is who-knows-where. So I yanked out the bobbin and poked around.

I found lots of broken little pieces of thread, which I cleared out. Then I tried to remember how to make the magic of pulling the thread from the bobbin back through happen.

After quite a few hesitations and many instances of broken thread, I finally made that work. But the machine itself simply sat and hummed.

So, with three-fourths of a pant leg to finish, I moved the needle by hand with the thing on the side that makes the needle manually go up and down, and finished the pants.

And what a relief that was!


  1. I can sew but I don't know if you call what I've done a talent. My first time out I made an outfit to wear to my high school reunion. Only wore it that one time. It wasn't bad , just dated.


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