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A Sew Sew Blog (or Death by Needlepoint) | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

A Sew Sew Blog (or Death by Needlepoint)

Me-maw's sewing patternsphoto © 2010 Jamie | more info (via: Wylio)
I hate needles. Not the shot kind, but the sewing kind. When I was a kid, we had a Buttoneer, so I never had to sew on a button. I’m so bad at alterations, even with scotch tape and duck tape, that God gave me a mother-in-law who is a professional seamstress.

I took shop instead of home economics and have never sewn anything or learned how. I’m so bad at sewing that my children knew it the moment they were born. As soon as they could talk, if a sock got a hole or a knee needed patching, they put the mending back and brought it out when Grandma came for a visit.

I thought I had it made. Until my daughter inherited her grandma’s passion to sew. Fine and dandy at first – Grandma gave her sewing lessons, and I didn’t even have to look at the sewing machine I inherited from my great-aunt.

Grandma was a perfectionist with a lifetime of tailoring experience – she willingly shared her expertise. And she controlled herself pretty well when my son decided to slide coins into her backstitcher like a piggy bank – we were saved when Richard took it apart and removed all the money – and it still worked afterwards.

My daughter took the sewing project through 4-H. But I got too comfortable in my nest of mediocrity…

The first problem was when I made the mistake of taking my daughter shopping a few years ago for a supplies. She wanted to make a Christmas tree skirt. Patterns scare me. The list of materials required can give me hives. Nevertheless, I gritted my teeth, asked the help of our sales clerk, and got all the notions and stuff to go with the skirt. By the time we bought all the tassles and beads, it cost almost $100. Oh well.

Then Grandma saw the pattern and supplies. A week at a time, I began to realize what a bad job I had done of selecting a pattern with my daughter. The tree skirt was 6 feet in diameter, with a radius of 3 feet. Each section had hand embroidery and beading on it. Then, after it was pieced together, a bottom layer was created to contrast with it. Then it had to be hand quilted. Finally, tassles were put on it.

That tree skirt probably took 75 to 100 hours to complete in time for 4-H fair entry. By the last 40 hours, it was most definitely not a labor of love. She did finish the skirt, it won champion, and then it won special merit at the State Fair.

The only problem is the skirt’s too big. So it sits in storage, waiting for my daughter to one day have a living room large enough for her giant, beautiful tree skirt.

The saga was so unpleasant that my daughter quit sewing for 4 years. This year, she decided to try again – to sew her spring formal.

Once again, I ventured to the fabric store with her. The helpful clerk translated the notions on the pattern. Only later have I learned that we bought Brand V patterns, which may say easy but are hard. And that dress that looks so pretty on the front of the pattern has a complex pattern of pleats, combined with boning and completed with a full lining underneath.

This time, a friend offered to help my daughter make the dress.  She said nothing of how hard the pattern was; I didn’t discover until I saw them working through a sew day.

Thanks to my friend and mother-in-law, who have filled in my sew sew gap. You have given my daughter skills I could never teach her. Her formal is beautiful, thanks to the skills you have given her which I obviously lack.

As of my second strike, I’m officially retiring from the pattern shopping business. 

Life’s too short for a death by needlepoint.


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