Monday, January 12, 2009


It's official: I hate sewing.

I got the bright idea to make some large bibs for NS (she's outgrowing the "Got Milk?" and "Drooling is Cool" ones). Sister-in-law AL graciously agreed to let me use her sewing machine Saturday morning. Armed with a few pre-stained tea towels, bright orange second-hand trim, and a vague pattern in my head based on homemade bibs I'd seen around my mom's house long ago, I hunched over my task.

An hour and a half later, my back hurting and neck aching with tension, I was reminding myself to breath deeply and fighting the urge to literally throw in the towel. The pattern in my head wasn't materializing as I'd hoped. I didn't have material for the tie in the back, and the seam kept veering aimlessly off the trim and into maddening oblivion. (I was having flashbacks of grade school standardized tests--the section ominously entitled "Spacial Relations" that required identifying a 3-D object turned on a different axis, producing panic as the time limit approached.) It didn't help that the machine kept sticking and I'd promised to be home by noon.

"Maybe you need an 'I Hate to Sew' book," brother DH suggested helpfully, referring to the life-changing I Hate to Cook Recipe Book that my sister GG made for me for my 14th birthday at a time when cooking engendered the same pain in the neck that sewing still does.

Believe it or not, I walked away from Christmas at my parents' house with a nifty apron sewed by yours truly from my recently deceased grandma's cape dress. This was only possible, however, because sister CJ sewed one, too; she thought up the design and demonstrated each step, dashing headlong with characteristic disregard for the possibility of Messing Up, while I tagged timidly behind. When it was getting late on the last day of the visit and I was frantically trying to finish, Mom took pity on me and did my buttonholes and buttons.

"If you had to learn, you could do it," Mom tried to reassure me when I ranted over the phone about my more recent clash with sewing. It's true; my lifestyle does not require sewing as a basic necessity, which is probably why I abandoned the art that she so valiantly tried to teach me. Even so, it would be nice to have the skills (like certain people I know) to create something useful and attractive--let's say, a handmade gift or simple article of clothing--without a dangerous spike in blood pressure.

The unfinished bibs lie on the dresser along with the additional trim and scrap material that I later bought in a burst of determination to get the pesky things sewn. I guess some people are just cut out to enjoy sewing, while others of us occasionally get suckered into it and end up in a tangle of chagrin.


  1. Hilarious. The cape-dress aprons are spectacular. Will you please tell us more about that Hate To Cook Recipe Book?


  2. Ooo, you're coming over to my side now!


  3. Oh no! It can't be that bad! I wish we lived closer together. I just spent the day with my sister-in-law making little stuffed lambs. We had such a grand time. And then the babes could play together. But alas, I suppose it's not meant to be. Keep makes for a good story, anyway!

  4. Look woman, you don't have to sew, you can sing.

  5. You know where I live, right? I have a (non-sticking) sewing machine and two girls who would love to play with N while you finish them up, if you want to stop by on your way back from a walk/jog sometime. Just give us a call - Mama JJ has our phone number. (And I can help with design if needed.)


  6. The I Hate To Cook Recipe Book was a compilation of simple, time-tested favorite family recipes and meal menus colorfully hand-written on index cards and bound together with a key ring so that I could add my own recipes. This gift kick-started my determination to learn to cook and bake. At the time, it seemed that I flubbed up every attempt. Now that I think about it, in later years I gave gifts to several sisters that involved recipes and menus. So the Recipe Book really was a turning point. Thanks, GG! -ME

  7. No prob. Wish I could also be helpful in the sewing dept. This was a very funny post!! Trim!!! For pity's sake!! What could be harder than sewing on trim? Why don't you put a couple of pleats or darts on the thing for good measure? That's why the towels have FINISHED edges, girl! I have an idea: return the extra trim and sew a couple of old shoestrings or some yarn to the bib for a closing apparatus? Who cares what it looks like, as long as it gets the job done.

  8. I love this post. I laughed out loud!!!