Monday, November 5, 2007

Not Sew Easy

For all the other wonderful things I am, I am not a seamstress. I have a hard time fixing a loose button, or sewing over lose seams or hemming pretty dinner napkins. Just can’t do it. This may not seem much of deal really, but it is a huge irony. My grandmother, had she been born some sixty years after she did would have been a fashion designer. Her cutting and swing skills are hard to match. Not to mention the embroidery. She has painstakingly made tapestry like “paintings” - embroidering with single stands of silk floss to that reflect detailed scenes of a family of tigers in the jungle and another idyllic scene with peacocks. She went on to opening a small boutique with her daughter in law. Then comes the mother who, if they had college degrees for tatting and crocheting would have earned multiple Phd.s. She is constantly giving me elaborate table runners and coasters made in such detail, it would require an electron microscope to truly appreciate all the intricacy. I obviously am very scared of using them and have been thinking of framing and putting them up.

So, on that background, I am a complete looser. I remember almost four years ago, overcome by motherly intentions, when my best friend was having a baby, I decided to get a sewing machine. I wanted a simple one. The one that could, well, stitch and was powered electrically. Singer, perhaps? I mean weren’t they the only guys that made sewing machines? No, I think Brother made them too. BigGeek said, Husqvarna. Husq-what? I hadn’t even heard of the name. It must have been a well guarded secret that they knew only in underground sewing circles. How the hell did BigGeek know it?

So, off we went to look at sewing machines. Every store we went to, there was utter sexism at work. All the store associates would come up to me and try and sell me a particular machine using words like, tension, bobbin, stitch length, auto-fix, foot. And then, with one tongue firmly in cheek I would explain to them, I had no idea how to sew, my husband would be using the machine more than I would. On hearing that some salespeople would slip away, the braver ones would try and sell the machine to BigGeek.

So, in the end, days after days going to the big box stores and sewing equipment boutiques and cellars, BigGeek decided to shell big bucks and buy the Husqvarna, despite my many protests. We went home with the beauty; I went to a fabric store the next day to buy some fabric to make cushion covers which turned out to be totally lousy. In my utter exhilaration, I ordered yards and yard of fabric – red fleece, green flannel with cute clowns, blue and white polka dots, green cotton with turtles on it and batting; I had just discovered batting and was thrilled to throw such words around – you know, oh I ordered a couple of yards of batting. Polyester or cotton? Someone-who-obviously-knew-more-about-batting would ask me There. Just when I thought I was a step away from the underground sewing circles, they throw this at me.

And so the days passed. My friend had her baby, I gave her a store bought layette because there simply aren’t patterns even for newborns that don’t involve stitching around a curve. Yeah, I am that bad. And then I became pregnant, and I secretly hoped it would be a girl. Simply because I had seen a pattern for a strappy, summery toddler dress that involved stitching only in straight lines. I had no courage to even attempt to sew a romper or a pajama if it turned out to be a boy. The fabrics I bought stayed at the bottom of the linen closet. I had only sewed a pair of curtains for the nursery and a covers for two chairs. I tried to do a baby blanket complete with batting for another friend with the help of visiting SIL, but she gave me the third degree because my straight stitches were too wiggly and she made me rip them again and again till I got it right. In the end, she ended up sewing the blanket, but we ran out of ribbon to do the edging and the blanket has been languishing with the fabrics at the bottom of the closet.

But all that has changed now. When I was complaining this weekend to the MIL about how expensive Chip’s pajamas were here and how he goes through 2 of them everyday, I remembered the green flannel with clowns on it. Can we turn them into pajamas? I asked the MIL. Pajamas are the easiest things in the world, she told me. I want to learn, I want to learn. I said, not jumping up and down. So she cut one, while I cut the other, she sewed one while I sewed the other. The result was quite pleasing – the MIL’s pajama fit better than mine, but Chip isn’t complaining.

24 comments:

Preethi said...

Hey I have the same situation.. my mom was great at sewing, my aunt my grandmom, everyone made dresses for me and my sis when we were kids!! Even embroidery! And I cant even fix a tear without ruining the dress.... but you do give me hope!!!

Altoid said...

Count me in, I am sewing challenged as well. I will and can do anything except sewing and dancing. I attribute it to dismal hand/feet coordination skills. But whatever the reason is, you wont find me looking for Husqvarna or any sewing machines :D.

DotMom said...

preethi: may be we should do projects together?

altoid: join the club :)

Orchid said...

i am in too ladies...can't do even the straight ones and with all the terminology u've used, i would very well award you a master's :0

but hey good for u and chip..green flannel pajamas...sounds cozy!

NainaAshley said...

I can relate. My mom is great at sewing and stiched all our dresses until we were old enough to demand ready made store bought clothes. But I can't sew a loose button or repair a minor tear.
Its great that you were able to stich pajamas for Chip. I wouldn't even dare to try.

Parul said...

Stick to store-bought layettes, what?

Fuzzylogic said...

Sadly all the artistic and sewing genius genes got lost in transit from my grandmother to me and I can't sew even a button to save my life as well. But I lead a guilt free store dependant existence. Kudos to you for such a sincere effort dotmom!

Sahithi's Mom... said...

looks like all of us in the same boat. :) my mom's a fantastic seamstress and I have two left hands.

I am going ti buy a sewing machine when she comes visits me next time..

BTW where are the pics of ur handiwork?

DotMom said...

orchid: hahaha. welcome!

nainaashley: gosh. it's a miracle our mothers haven;t disowned us.

parul: I do, I do. But I am attempting on tiny pajamas for another baby arrival.

fuzzylogic: me too.. for most part.

sahiti's mom: i still have to take pictures..but I will and post them this weekend :)

upsilamba said...

Dotmom,
what in the world are you talking about? bobbim, auto-fix, foot, batting??
Here, I take the oath (drum roll please) to never come visit you again, until unless you sew this post forver.
=====

.....this post brought back so many memories. I can close my eyes and clearly remember those needling times.....
======

Tharini said...

Well...I got all theterms except batting. I have a sewing machine at home too and I am part of your club!!! And now, your little initiation has inspired me to no end. I am already sewing stuff in my head!

Where are pictures??? You cannot cannot do a post like this, and not post a picture of it!

Btw, your halloween related post probably conversted. Now I am almost regretting teh halloween gone by and longing for thenext one! :D

DotMom said...

upsi: you are onr punster. Ha :) and hugs!

tharini: you, you? I remember reading in one of your posts that you went over winkie's tigger costume seams. I was SO impressed. these things don't even occur to me. you must be a sewing goddess. maybe we chould do a project together with whoever else wants to join!

DotMom said...

tharini: oops.. sorry.. batting is the filler in quilts.

I am glad youa re under halloween's spell. it really is fun!

Anitha(Nikki's mom) said...

No history of sewing in the family, me never touched needle and thread after I was done with the crafts classes at school. If a button comes off a shirt, it will be kept aside until mom's next visit(even if it means years).

dipali said...

My mother used to sew everything under the sun, my sister made me a really nice dress when she was barely 12 years old, and could also manage tatting and crochet. I'd manage to jumble the threads whenever I touched the machine. I learned some sewing in college, used to make lots of dresses for my girls. Made two nighties when my eldest daughter came over in Sept.,but was quite exhausted by the whole process. Being young and enthu I'm sure you'll pick up lots:)Do post pyjama pics!

DotMom said...

anitha: lol. you are like me!

dipali: you are a goddess. Sewing nighties. Whatever next. Will post pj pics.

choxbox said...

lovely read. brought back so many memories - my mom used to make lovely stuff for us and now does for my babies. MIL/grand-MIL are pros too. for a long time all my kids' pajamas were home-made (not by me of course).

happy sewing!

Deepa said...

So chip chi aie, do tell, is a Husqvarna as complicated to use as it sounds:-) Have been lusting after a sewing m/c for years but simply no guts to actually go buy one becoz...well becoz then would have produce some sorta marvels on it no? But, I have awesome memories of all the pretty, frilly beautiful frocks( do girls even wear them now?) my mom made us when we were tots. But pajamas are a great start. I dream of sewing curtains, awesome cushion covers and the sort from some beautiful indian fabrics lying around. Straight stitches all of them eh?

ddmom said...

I love sewing.. If I recall right, I made myself a salwar kameez from my mom's saree[without her permission] when I was in 9th standard. Still remember my mom being upset with me, as she had memories attached with that saree :(
Anyways, I have been wanting to buy a not so expensive sewing machine, saw your post and immediately googled on Husqvarna, boy that sounds way too complicated, both by feature and price!!

Where are the pajama pics?

DotMom said...

choxbox: they are the best arent they (the moms I mean)

deepa: rotfl @ chip chi aie. go for the sewing machine.. i am sure you create marvels on it.

ddmom: i should build a temple for you. you stitched a salwaar khameez when you were in 9th std? OMG. My mom would kill to have a daughter like you :)

the husqvarna is actually not bad. It has been borrowed a few times by visiting pro-seamstress moms of friends and everytime it gets rave compliments.

Squiggles Mom said...

I'm the odd one out. Neither my grandmom nor my mom could sew and I am their true daughter!

DotMom said...

squiggles mom: lol. good for you!

Usha said...

Just as I was recognising my twin separated at birticth, you go and learn to stitch . Am I the last one left on this planet who can't thread a needle?
Happy stitching!

DotMom said...

usha: hahahaha. If that makes you feel better, I have a had time threading a needle. I looked at BigGeek's needle threading skills and married him :D:D:D