Some four years ago, I came across this sewing machine at a garage sale. Actually, it was the garage sale that the previous owners of the house my sister bought held when they moved out. As you can see by the tape across the top, it was a steal - $15. I had no idea how to sew, but I plugged it in and stepped on the pedal and the needle went up and down and I knew that was good. The lady of the house told me it was in perfect working order and she had the original owner's manual. I have always wanted to learn to sew, at least a little bit. I have no ambitions of becoming a costume designer or anything like that, but it would be nice to be able to knock out a few pillowcases or some curtains for the kitchen now and then. I bought the machine and took it to my new house and set it on the counter in the laundry room and there it remained for the next 48 months.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I may have mentioned (ahem) that Homero brought his mother, sister, and nieces home with him from Mexico last week. Temy, my sister-in-law and comadre, is an accomplished seamstress - at least by my standards. She once worked in a shirt factory in Philadelphia (actually from her stories about it it sounds like a sweatshop), and to this day she makes a lot of her own clothing and her children's clothing. She can turn out a dress you'd send your child to school in in less than two hours. It occurred to me that she might show me how to use my machine.
Of course she was delighted to. As I have said before, my Mexican relatives are the very best kind of relatives to have - I think the way I put it before was that they would "gnaw their own arms off and sell them on the black market just to be able to buy a chicken to cook for you when you show up unannounced at their house." Makes me feel like kind of a shitty hostess by way of comparison, but that's a post for another day.
Turns out, Temy is a very good teacher. I finally learned how to thread my machine, wind the bobbin, sew a straight seam, and untangle a snarl. Within just a few days, I have made several things - close relatives don't look unless you want to see your Christmas presents. That's called "fair warning."
On the left we have lavender-scented eye-pillows. In the middle a slightly misshapen neck-pillow. And on the right, several unfinished Christmas ornaments. I still have to sew on the ribbons to hang them by and attach jingle-bells. I was pretty proud of myself, having finally made some strides towards a long-held goal. Then Rowan asked Temy to show her how to sew. They sat down together for forty-five minutes. The next day Rowan had made herself an entire DRESS - I mean a real, wearable-outside-the-house DRESS. Cute as all get out, in fact. I am trying like hell not to be a total ass, but seriously, I have to admit, I'm pretty jealous. Could she have given me 48 hours to be the one who knew how to sew before she upstaged me?
"What are you reading?"
"What are you making?"
It's a great winter hobby, I think. In the past, I have not often had the mental stamina to get really good at something complex like sewing or, say, playing the piano. Maybe "getting good" is not the right kind of goal ton have, anyway. Maybe the goal is, pass the time with my husband and do something creative and fun and a little challenging. I'm enjoying it so far.