My Weakest Point

Picture a sobbing sewer, hunched over her machine, trying to lift the needle out of the fabric and unbunch the wad of threads that have become a tangled mess underneath. I call for help and whine through my explanation to whichever sewing mentor happens to be in my life at the time.

This scene and at least a hundred more just like them make up the sewing experiences of my life. I would love to say that this was sewing experience #10, but it wasn’t. It happened this weekend.

My first sewing mentor was my patient mother who reared seven children, still sewed prom dresses for us and encouraged us to develop the skill ourselves. I never really made it past the misshapen shorts I sewed to wear to camp. Inevitably, something  would always need to be unpicked and resewn. Whenever my current sewing project would exasparate me, I exclaimed that I would have to raise seven children to develop the patience to sew.

I believed I could enventually overcome the frustration I felt every time I sewed. So, I didn’t give up and tried to have at least one sewing project—pillows, aprons, or something else—per year to keep practicing. But time increased between projects and I eventually stalled, just as my son became a Cub Scout and had a real need for me to sew on his badges. This weekend I unwrapped his new Boy Scout shirt and he asked, “Mom, can you keep up with my badges this time?”

My sister-in-law, Tina, assured me I can do it. And others have reassured me that I can get the adhesive when I fail. With one last inspiration from Rebecca’s post on sewing at Thrilled by the Thought, I stuck my foot to the pedal and tried once again.

My opening sob story describes my results. Who would make a completely round badge to be placed centered over a pocket? Have you ever sewed on a round badge? How is that supposed to work?

Ironically, my daughter who learned to sew a skirt last year with no help from me, became my sewing mentor who held my hand, threaded my needle, wound my bobbin, and helped me pick out my mess. And when the needle continually became stuck in one badge, she kindly pointed out that the adhesive iron-on backing caused the needle to stick. WHAT????

We ironed out my weakness this time, but the question is, will there ever be a next?

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3 Comments

  1. Rebecca
    Jul 21, 2008

    We find mentors in unexpected places. My husband became my mentor during my most recent escapade with sewing this week! I felt I had exhausted my kind neighbor who helped me with my first project, so I turned to my husband who took a sewing class in high school. We had a lot of fun together, and he ended up sewing the bloomers to the baby dress! The finished product is so exciting in sewing. Thanks for the link, by the way!

  2. Michelle
    Jul 21, 2008

    I’ve had that same problem with some badges. Someone once recommended “Sewer’s Aid”. It’s a lubricant that prevents the needle from gumming up! I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s supposed to work well. McKenzie and I are in the process of sewing a new Sunday skirt. It has been difficult finding something appropriate and fun for her, so we have resorted to our own devices, wish us luck.

  3. Rachel Corbett
    Jul 22, 2008

    I’m right there with you. Our mother’s genius was not passed along to me.

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