I used to make a lot of my clothes when I was a teenager. I even used to make my own bathing suits. When I looked for my first job, it was in a fabric store. I felt as though I’d found my place in the world, money, AND I got to touch fabric all day. While that magical moment lasted about as long as it took for the first snotty customer to roll through the doors and leave a wake of upturned fabric bolts, the playing with fabric never got old. I spent many an afternoon hunched over
my Mother’s vintage 1950’s Singer sewing machine.

That sewing machine resides with me full time now. It’s been repaired twice since 1995. One Christmas, it gave up it’s final stitch just as I wrapped up two sets of hand made pajamas for two very deserving young girls. Once, a few months ago, when it stubbornly refused to move the needle position from zig zag to straight, as my daughter started sewing for the first time.

My mother taught me how to sew. It’s a love – hate thing to start with. Me, the lazy-ish kid, her a very harsh task master. She tried to instill in me the same sort of borderline OCD that she learned from her mother and that was a worthy venture for the most part. It led to some unpleasantness, which is a nice way of putting it but I did learn to construct some pretty wonderful garments.

When the needle position stopped functioning I paid 200.00 to have the maiden revamped and gussied. I figure I can’t buy a new machine for that. Heck, I’m not sure I even know how to sew anymore, but something about it sounds appealing. I proceed to Josephine’s Dry Goods and in a fog of hopeful delusion I purchase a yard and a half of some of the loveliest Italian linen you have ever seen, in hopes that we will sew happily together. My daughter turns out to be fairly fickle about the whole business. I plot and plan to take 4 days to construct a lovely garment where I devote myself entirelyto the process without interruption. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

I attempt to cut out the pattern only to find that the material has shrunk and the extra I purchased is still not enough. I am subsequently demolished by the Martian Death Flu. Things are not looking well for our heroine. But then, the magic happens. And I do mean magic.

One of the most continually confounding things about being a mom is the lack of time you can ferret away for stuff you want to do. Not stuff you need to do or stuff others insist must be done only by you for them. My kids are older but it still happens that my entire day, week, weekend gets hijacked and stuffed to the gills with other people’s gotta dos.

This is where it gets really good, where the transcendental happens. I take a deep breath and clear the calendar for a weekend, firmly. I put away the instructions and cut pieces long enough to make a skirt. The instructions never come out again. I start pleating and basting and pinning and sewing and when my chattery mind comes into interrupt I tell it to go away and leave me alone. My hands, they just start going. They remember. The pins, the hemming, the neat and tidy (oh so neat and tidy) stitches line up. The zipper nearly inserts itself, no puckers. The waistband and sizing I do entirely by eye.

The skirt looks nothing like the pattern I started with and everything like what I really had in my head. Is it true? Yes, it is. It fits well, and is the very sort of skirt I had pictured.

I can’t stop looking at it.

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