sewing

i am going to try something i saw on the jack b, where i talk about an object and its story, if i can find one! 🙂

well, the first thing i see that is kinda glaring at me since i haven’t really used it in so long is my sewing machine. i finally had broken down and bought one. before that i had always used my mom’s. my mom used to sew all our clothes. however, she hated sewing, and she’d only lug that thing out once every three months or so to do all the sewing. i still remember going to the store with her–i’m trying to think which store it was, because walmart didn’t exist back then–and looking through the books of patterns, trying to find a pattern i liked so my mom could make it. i remember picking out three or four choices, then looking on those turning racks or the drawers for the pattern number, and then handing that envelope to my mom. she’d look over the back to see if it was “doable” for her skill level, and then she’d have me pick out my material, as long as it came from the discounted shelf. then she’d sew us all a bunch of new clothes, which i wore with pride, before i even knew what labels were for clothing. my sisters and i would always have matching clothes, because she’d buy 2 yards of material which was enough to make the same clothing for all of us, just in different sizes. there are so many pictures of the three of us, all in our same patterened clothing, in the picture albums.

the thing is, although my mom did a great job with making us all our own clothes, she hated sewing with a passion, which is why she didn’t do it very often. first of all, she’d have to lug the thing out, and it was heavy. then clear off the table so she could set it up. then came the cutting out the patterns on the material, which i liked to help with. and then came the using the machine part which is the part i’d hear her have the most frustrations with. she was so happy to put that thing away when she was done and never look at it again for a while, though i always liked when she brought it out because that meant we were getting new clothes! 🙂 once, she even sewed us life-sized dolls, with braidable hair and everything. she was so talented, but hated dealing with the sewing machine.

when we were all into our teens, and i guess, more conscientious of what we were wearing, that sewing machine had become buried deep into the closet, only emerging when she had to sew me skirts and stuff for hula. she never made us clothes any more, and i think she was secretly relieved. i, though, had taken an interest in sewing. i never got to take home economics class in high school like most of the girls did, so i didn’t get to learn sewing, but i would sit with my mom when she sewed and watched her thread the machine, and how that little needle would go up and down and up and down, and it would magically (to me, anyway) be sewn together! i think i picked it up from just watching her. so sometimes when she lugged out the machine for my hula stuff, i’d ask her if i could sew a little bag or an apron or something, as i saw some of my classmates had done in home economics class. and i have to say, i loved it! i loved that i could make something usable. i was making so many drawstring bags and kerchiefs that i was giving them away to people. it was fun! i’d make baby blankets for my friends who were expecting, little drawstring bags for people with toddler girls, towels with patterns sewn on them. i couldn’t understand why my mom hated sewing so much.

when i started at the school i’m currently at, i decided to make the students book bags for their chairs. i had seen the idea from a colleague at another school, so i decided i’d try to make my own. i never used instructions–like i had in high school, i’d just look at something and figure out how it was made, and then just do it. so i kinda made my own book bags just by folding here and tucking there, and sewing it all up. i made one for each of my kids, and hung them proudly on their chairs.

the next thing i know, colleagues and administrators alike would come into my classroom and ask how i got the book bags–what a great idea! so i explained that i sewed them, and they were all aghast. a couple (the older ones) asked for the instructions, so they could make their own, and i really had none. “you just fold it this away, about an arm’s length, and then you fold it back the other way, so it’s a third of the way down, and then sew it up!” is not the best instructions you can give a person who sews! ha! i often had to show what i meant by taking a piece of paper and folding it and then they could see. but anyway, those were the older ones. the younger ones, who i guess are more give-it-to-me-now, all asked me to sew bags for them. they didn’t want to do it themselves–they wanted me to do it for them, and they were willing to pay for it. and *this* is when i started to hate sewing.

i realized now i had to make things look nice, because other people were actually paying money for them now! (i don’t know why i didn’t think that when i was making gifts for anyone, haha! sorry.) and the stupid machine’s needle would keep getting caught. i’d have to keep rethreading the needle. i’d have to keep the bottom from bunching too much. the needle would break, several times. uuuuggghhhhh! i was getting so frustrated! but i had to get them done…and after many, many, many hours of frustration, and even redoing a batch, because i didn’t think they were “buyable” enough, i finally did, and handed them out, humbly apologizing for the horrid way the thread looked in some places, and the way it bunched in others. the ones who received it were gracious enough to just take them, but i still felt embarrassed about them.

finally my mom got rid of her sewing machine that she had had for over 30 years when she too got frustrated at it when she was making her granddaughters some cute little clothes that my sister requested for them. my sister then went out and bought her a new machine. my mom was actually not too thrilled at this, because i think she thought she didn’t have to sew again, but here is my sister giving her a new machine. so my mom started to sew, again, but still often told of us of her distaste for sewing. she even offered me her new sewing machine, since i had another order of book bags to make, but i told her, no, i’d just use it at their house. i could see the disappointment on her face.

just this past year, i was making a get-well present for one of my coworkers who was having knee surgery, and i thought how nice it would be to sew her a homemade heating pad, with pretty colors that i knew she liked, and a scent that i knew would soothe. because i came up with this idea late, and needed it quickly, which meant i wouldn’t have had time to go to my mom’s to sew, i decided to treat myself and buy me my own sewing machine. it was marked down at walmart, so i thought, why not? and i bought a lovely turquoise one which i thought would go lovely with the rest of my room. i also told my son to pick out material for pillow cases i promised i’d make him, so he did, and i picked out some for me, too. i was going to go on a sewing rampage!!!

that very first day of bringing it home and within an hour of setting it up–i broke the needle. and ohhhhhh how the frustrations began again. the stupid thread kept breaking. the needle broke. the needle would jam. the thread would come out of the needle, and i’d have to rethread all over again. argh argh argh! i called up my mom and told her, “i now totally know what you mean when you say you HATE sewing!” grrrrrr!!!

after doing the pretty heating pads for my coworker, i put that stupid machine away and have not used it since! my son would often ask when the pillow cases would be made, and i’d say, “when i have time.” which is what my mom would always say! 😛 i don’t have that fancy cover thing my mom had for hers, so she could pack it away, so it’s just out on the little mini-table i bought for it, staring at me, taunting me to use it again. i feel like i have to, to make up the cost of it, but arhga;hgadhga. just thinking of it makes me cringe. i don’t know. maybe one day during the summer, i’ll start it up again. who knows? i have to find that love for it again. then i can go on creating and release stress, instead of causing more! 🙂

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4 Comments »

  1. It sounds like you are a real creative spirit. Sewing does take patience — that I don’t have. Maybe you should try to sell those book bags for the students chairs on Etsy? I always get frustrated sewing and haven’t had the time to do it much.

    • malia Said:

      That is a good idea, but I think before I do that I have to find my love for sewing again! Then I won’t get overwhelmed and frustrated and want to throw the thing out! haha! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I’m impressed that you sew! My Mom was an expert and made many of our clothes when we were little too. But I never learned.

    • malia Said:

      I was one of those kids that clung to my mom’s side, so I learned pretty much all the things she could do by observing 🙂


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