71. Learn to sew
Updated May 3, 2010
I come from a family of seamstresses. There were a few times when I was young that I got interested in sewing. I would go through my Mom’s patterns and fabric and pick something out, then ask her to show me how. The problem was that I didn’t have the patience. I didn’t want to mess around with cutting out the pattern and the material and the interfacing and on and on. I just wanted it to work like magic – just cut out the fabric and sew it into something fabulous to wear. My mom usually ended up sewing this stuff on her own.
Then I got to eighth grade, and along with everyone else, had to take the “skills for life” course. Just in case you’re curious, when I was in eighth grade there were six skills considered necessary for life: mechanical drawing, woodworking, metal working, sewing, cooking, and sex education. I’d say that only one of those is actually a skill necessary for life, and most people don’t need to learn about it in a classroom.
The sewing portion of this class consisted of making a sweatshirt from a kit. We had six colors to choose from: light blue, royal blue, pink, gray, black and white. (The funny thing is that I remember that.) The fun thing was that you could partner up with someone in the class and make a two-tone shirt. Yeah, that’s what I did. I made a light blue sweatshirt with royal blue cuffs, a royal blue pocket, and a royal blue hood – with light blue lining. I was stylin’.
Then I was all inspired. I wanted to help my mom make my prom dresses. I didn’t really help at all. I tried the things on so she could make adjustments, and I made a purse to match my senior prom dress.
Years later, something would draw me to the arts and crafts section of WalMart, where I would pick out a pattern and fabric and take it to my Mom and say, “Help me make this.” She did. I learned a lot. She helped me make another one. By that time, I learned a lot of the terminology used in the pattern directions, and I was able to buy some simple patterns and make them all by myself. My mom got a new sewing machine and I got her old one.
Then, somehow, in a way that neither of us really remember, two summers ago, Squirrel and I ended up in a situation where she wanted to make a pair of pants and I said that it would be easy. But she didn’t know how to sew, so I offered to teach her. We’ve been off and running ever since. We spend our summer weekends sewing skirts, bags, and pants. She bought her own sewing machine and she’s as good as I am now, able to follow simple pattern directions. It’s so much fun!
I don’t know if I’ll ever be a master seamstress, but I really enjoy making something from a big old piece of fabric.