I so want to be that woman; the one who can just fix those pants in a jiffy and smile beatifically while doing it. But we must all deal with how things actually are.
How I Mend Clothing:
- Procrastinate for at least a month, promising every day I’ll do it tomorrow.
- Get out sewing machine and put it on the kitchen table. Dust the case.
- Make a snack for fortification.
- Plug it in.
- Do a little a laundry. There’s always a little that needs to be done and even laundry is better than mending.
- Get the sewing bag.
- Dig out a color of thread that matches the material, sort of.
- Put the spool of thread on that thing that sticks up on the right side of the machine.
- Find the box of bobbins and check for a bobbin already loaded with matching thread.
- Decide it doesn’t matter and pick a color that’s close.
- Place the bobbin in the bobbin hole. (Be quiet. You’re lucky I remember what the bobbin is called.)
- Consider calling my mother-in-law and asking her to do it.
- Remember she is currently in another state.
- Cry a little.
- Get a drink of water to rehydrate.
- Take a deep breath and pull the thread from the spool through the machine, following the arrows put on the machine for idiots like me. I’m sure these arrows were not necessary back in the day when people knew how to do things.
- Pull the thread from the bobbin around the little hook thingie (again with the arrows) and replace the plate over the bobbin hole.
- Place the garment on the machine, lining up the seam with the guiding marks.
- Say a little prayer.
- Press the pedal gingerly.
- Stop, try not to curse, and carefully cut the resulting knot away from the material of the garment.
- Ponder whether it could wait until my mother-in-law gets back.
- Decide I am not dumb and I can do hard things.
- Take the bobbin out of the bobbin hole, and carefully reexamine the idiot arrows.
- Realize it was going the wrong way.
- Spend some time feeling like an idiot.
- Get up and switch the laundry to the dryer.
- Sit down again.
- Rethread the needle.
- Place the garment back in the machine.
- Say another little prayer.
- Press the pedal gingerly.
- Check the seam.
- Marvel that there seems to be one.
- Finish that side of the pants and do the other one really quickly before I forget how.
- Put everything away and congratulate myself for not actually incurring an injury.
- Blissfully decide that it won’t be nearly so bad next time since I won’t wait so long to do it and I’ll remember how.
- Contemplate my own naïveté.
- Realize I’m late getting supper started and panic.
As I write this and castigate myself for not knowing how to do stuff, I am reminded of a story about my Aunt Wilma. She was also not much of a seamstress, so maybe it’s familial, but it was the Depression and there wasn’t a lot of money and she was trying to make a dress. She worked on a sleeve. And worked on it and worked on it and worked on it and the blasted thing just would not fit into the sleevehole. It wasn’t even the right shape, and she couldn’t figure out how anyone managed it, ever. Before deciding to throw the whole thing on the burn pile, she went over to the neighbor’s house and asked her to look at it.
“Oh, Wilma,” the neighbor said. “How on earth did you get this sleeve into the neck hole?”
And my Aunt Wilma, who I possibly take after just a little, said, “WELL IT WASN’T EASY!!”