Growing up, I longed to sew and made many efforts to further my dream.
- I asked for and received a toy sewing machine for Christmas. Based on the television advertisement, I was certain I would create masterpieces in no time whatsoever.
- A few years later, I asked my Aunt Mary to tutor me. She did, but please note that her claim to fame was sewing rectangular cloth bandages for some do-good organization. She did, however, own a sewing machine, circa 1916.
- Yet later, I enrolled in classes at the uptown Singer store with my friend Carolyn. On the first day my teacher announced that we would all enter our creations in the Stylemaker’s Contest at the end of the course. She would regret that decision.
- Finally, I took a sewing unit in home ec class in summer school. Other than the beach cover-up I made (detailed below), the most memorable moment was when I cut the t-shirt i was wearing right along with the fabric for my beach cover-up.
My efforts resulted in a couple of memorable creations:
- I chose to make a pair of shorts under my Aunt Mary’s tutelage. The fabric featured red, white, and blue patriotic stripes, and with good luck, I was hoping to have them ready by 4th of July. Alas I missed the deadline which was just as well because when completed they were very, very tight. All right, I could not get them beyond my thighs.
- For my Stylemaker’s contest entry, I also chose a patriotic theme but figured shorts were a problem, so went with a pattern for a “shift.” (I believe “shift” is a Latin term for the easiest possible dress to sew.) Once again, by the end, my efforts resulted in something way too small. I need to make clear to my readers, that at this point in my life, I was waif-like in appearance, so my size was not the issue. I believe the issue was that the whole pinning and measuring seemed laborious. Certain “I knew better,” I often went rogue on the fabric cutting. Although I was able to struggle into the dress, it was very, very short, even in a days of mini-skirts. When I exited the dressing room in the back of the Singer store, my teacher was stunned. Carolyn laughed until she cried.
- You may think I was deterred but no, I made yet one more attempt. In middle school home ec class, I set my sights on a beach coverup, also striped. I was extremely generous with the fabric, learning from the earlier shorts and dress debacles. When finished, the cover-up was both ugly and uncomfortable. On the upside I was able to put it one without cutting off my circulation. Once donned, I realized how itchy and uncomfortable it was, so decided to wash it to “soften it up.” At the end of the wash cycle, I retrieved it, both pieces, front and back, which had come unstitched in the washing machine.
Sewing is not in God’s plan for me.