Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Useful hobby

A very long time ago, my mother attempted to teach me how to sew. I was a terrible student, but I did learn some basics. And I wore the final result of her tutelage - a lovely rayon skirt - through college. But I hadn't actually sewed much of anything (other than the occasional button!) since about 7th grade.

Some months ago Jessica started teaching herself how to sew. When she first started talking about it, I thought, "well, that just isn't me" and forgot about it. But she's made lovely cloth napkins, and dresses for her daughter (dresses! and they're cute!) and a mei tai baby carrier that I have used on occasion and is wonderful.

How I wanted a mei tai! But I don't sew, you see. So I looked into buying one.

Mei tais cost about $70. I decided that I'd better reconsider learning to sew.

And now I think that the sewing "bug" just may have bit me. Because it is fun! And more than that, it is useful! My first "project" (mostly just to get the feel of sewing back in my hands) was to zigzag stitch the edges of all our cloth diapers. They've been wearing thin and I wanted to make them last longer. I only messed up one of them, and the rest of the three dozen are going to last significantly longer because of my work.

Then I went to JoAnn Fabrics to pick out material for a mei tai. While we were there, Jonathan discovered the most wonderful fabric in the world: "Mommy mommy mommy! John Deere tractors!"

So instead of embarking immediately on the mei tai, I spent yesterday and today working on a pillowcase for Jonathan. See? Useful!

And he is oh-so-happy about it! Of course, I probably could have bought a plain white pillowcase for him for less than the $12 that I spent on fabric and thread, but I couldn't have bought the joy (for him or for me). Besides, it gave me more practice before actually sewing the mei tai (which is definitely more complicated.)

See? Yikes.

Oh, and today I actually fixed a rather important $70 undergarment, instead of giving up on it and buying another one. Surprisingly, it took about ten minutes, which comes out to $400 an hour. Not a bad hourly wage, eh? ;)

I'm having such a good time. After the mei tai, there is a skirt that I really want to try making. I found a truly gorgeous fabric on a "just looking" trip with Jessica that is just crying out to be sewn into something beautiful, and found a pattern online that is exactly what I think it should be. It is next on my mental list.

Jessica, I'm glad you're braver than I am and made the attempt first. I don't think I would have tried this now without your example.

And Mom, thanks for teaching me how to sew. All those frustrating hours (for you!) may just pay off after all.


Anonymous said...

Hi Em,

Those weren't frustrating hours ... fun, special hours. Honest! Hopefully you will have fun sewing now - and end up with some useful and/or beautiful items. There's something awfully nice about the knowledge that "I made that!"

Love you so much,

Amber said...

Ah, I miss sewing. I'm so glad to hear that you're taking it up though! It really is fun and rewarding, in more than just the financial sense. :-)