Top 10 reasons I should never try to sew

My mother can't sew. All growing up, we heard hilarious tales about her harrowing experiences trying to sew things. My favorite was the one where she wrestled with a pinafore needed for a church performance, and finally woke my father up in the middle of the night, half crazed and covered with thread saying, "If you value your wife's sanity and our marriage, you will let me go out and BUY a pinafore!" Her daughters carried on this long and glorious tradition of ineptitude at the sewing machine when in 7th grade Home Ec. class, I sewed a linen napkin to itself (we were only supposed to learn how to use the different stitches on the machine), and my twin sister cut off the bottom half of some sweat pants with the serger(sp?). They banned 7th graders from the serger after that. So as an adult, I have shunned sewing most of my life until my son was born. Then some good friends in Boston "helped" me make his bumper set (which means they did all the work while I babysat their kids and cut off loose threads), and told me repeatedly, "It's really not that hard. You can do it." Ok, how hard can it really be? So last year I plucked up my courage, bought a simple beginners sewing machine, and enrolled myself in a sewing class at the local fabric store. The teacher carefully walked me through my first project, a table runner, and I graduated from the class with a table decoration and only a few wobbly seams. So, armed with a false sense of security, I have recently embarked on another simple sewing project:making pillows for our deck chairs. It has taken me over a week to finish one. My ineptitude with the sewing machine has indeed been proved yet again, so I offer this list of reasons why I should never try to sew: 10) I'm trying to make 4 pillows. I ran out of fabric after I cut enough for 2. 9) I accidentally sewed without fabric under the needle, and screwed up my bobbin. Twice. 8) In trying to fix my bobbin, I did something funky to the machine and broke it. DH had to fix it. When he laughed at me, I threatened to stab him with a butter knife. 7) I installed a zipper without measuring exactly where it should go, so the zipper is not even close to the center of the seam or pillow edge. 6) There is a huge lump where the fabric ends and the zipper begins. I have no idea how it got there, and I sure as hell don't know how to get rid of it. 5) I let Jacob play with my pin cushion. It took me 2 days to find it stuck behind a mirror in our hallway. 4) The fabric I'm using is striped. The stripes don't line up. At all. 3) I sewed two sides of the pillow before I realized my needle wasn't thread correctly. 2) In pinning the zipper into the pillow, I accidentally pinned the rest of the fabric to my shirt. And the Number 1 reason I should never sew: 1) In pinning the zipper into the pillow, I accidentally pinned the rest of the fabric to my shirt. Again. But at least I got one done, and so I have to finish the rest. I just hope we can all live through the experience, and I can get them done before we move and throw out our deck furniture. Or before I lose my mind. Or before I pin everything to my own *&%#@ pants.


Blogger annegb said...

I hate to sew. I also did not perform well in Home Ec, sewing. One time I had thread all over, my teacher just finished the dress for me and she gave me a B, probably for effort. That took three months.

I have a machine, but I seldom use it and I do all the stuff you describe and get nervous and onery and say bad words and have to call somebody to help me. There is something about bobbins that completely eludes me and I mess it up and have to take it to be repaired regularly.

If my husband needs a button sewn back on, he plans not to wear that shirt for weeks.

4/29/2005 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

There is absolutely no reason that "just because you finished one, you have to finish the rest." This is a myth. Go buy some pillows, or live pillowless. It is not worth it.

4/29/2005 07:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

My husband's a much better seamstress than I am.

It's not very cost effective to sew these days, is it? You're putting children in third world countries out of their jobs.

4/29/2005 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger TftCarrie said...

Heather said: "Ok, how hard can it really be?"

Being a good sewer is really hard. It is not just a cute little hobby for "good" mormon housewives. Being a fashion design major, I took 4 years of sewing classes in college. After all that, I guess I would consider myself a good sewer but not a great sewer. I can do it, and I am probably better than your average home sewer, but I don't love it. Still every project is wraught with mistakes, frustrations, and nasty thread nests from a bobbin gone wrong. For me, it is only a means to an end. I love to design clothing and the only way to see them come to life (without paying someone else to do the sewing) is to sew them myself.

Through college, I worked at a custom sewing shop in Utah. I was always annoyed at the people that would come into the shop and gasp at the prices we would quote because "I could sew this myself, but I just don't have the time". Everyone in UT thinks they can sew and boy have I seen some hideous homemade wedding dresses to prove it. What these customers did not understand is that we were not just charging for the time, we were charging for the time of a truly skilled laborer. Good sewing is truly becoming a lost art. Heather, if you would have brought your pillow project into the custom sewing shop it would have cost you about $200 - $300. Matching stripes, putting in zippers--these things are not easy!

5/01/2005 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


That makes me feel a lot better! Now when I look at my pillows, I won't feel a sense of faiolure--I'll think, "Carrie, a professional fashion designer, said putting in a zipper is hard-and I still did it! Woo-hoo!"


5/01/2005 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Growing up, I shunned sewing and general craftiness for fear it would make me destined to be forever labeled a "good mormon housewife."

As I've matured and met lots of different Mormon women (including women who have turned their knowledge of sewing and talent for art into high powered careers), I wish I had picked up a few of these skills myself.

How I would love to experiment with fabrics or even make a baby blanket or curtains without calling my mom for step-by-step instructions! Maybe someday.

5/01/2005 05:26:00 PM  
Anonymous WBPraw said...

I feel your pain!I feel your frustration! I feel your urge to throw that sewing machine out the window and jump out right after it! There was a reason I was born in this day and age and it's not necessarily because I was a valiant spirit. By the way, I second the wiz, by the time you buy more fabric, buy more fabric again because you screwed up, have to start over with a different fabric because it's taken you so long the fabric store no longer carries your fabric, and get put on xanax for the stress, it will be much cheaper to buy some deck pillows, or just sit inside.

5/01/2005 09:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband still has horrifying memories of being met at the door (before one of our dates) as a teenager, by my mother (in her g's) tossing the sewing machine out on the lawn!

I was mortified, but we ended up getting married after all.

Sewing brings out the best in most of us!

5/02/2005 12:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Andrea Wright said...

My brother Ryan (over at M*) took home-ec (I'm sure he thought it would be much easier than a shop class) anyway, he got a little bored listening to the teacher drone on and on about seams, and sort of zoned out. He happened to be holding scissors and somehow, for some reason none of us has ever understood, in his distracted state he cut off half of one of his eyebrows.

5/02/2005 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Bryce said...

My wife is pretty good with a sewing machine ("sewer" just doesn't look right). She makes Easter dresses for the girls each Easter, and likes to quilt. If you're trying to learn how to sew, I suggest quilting as a start. You can make something that looks nice with a few basic techniques.

I used to sew some, and was ok. Now, my major contribution is helping my wife figure out what the heck those patterns are trying to say.

I agree with carrie l that being good at sewing is hard. However, if you have young girls, it's not difficult to make something cute for them. Making something fitted, like a nice dress, or pretty much anything for a boy, is more trouble than it's worth, unless you're really good, and really, you don't save any money, you just get to make the thing you want instead of the thing that you were able to find at the store.

5/02/2005 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


LOL! I'll be sure to keep the Xanax or some Zoloft nearby while I sew!

5/02/2005 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

Oh my gosh! The story of the prom-dress-sewing-mother-gone-mad is hilarious! My mom is an amazing seamstress and like a previous poster, used to sew for a custom made dress shop. I have a gorgeous wedding gown designed by her to prove it (as do 4 of my sisters). However, I am less than talented at sewing and only do it now and then. I like quick, simple projects that only involve straight lines, like the roman shades I made for dd's room that were so simple I didn't swear once! Someone suggested quilting as a project to learn on, and believe me, I've tried, but I just can't get those d#$@ corners to line up! waha

5/03/2005 09:48:00 AM  

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