There was a room in the “new” wing of my high school that was referred to as the “home ec” room. There were sinks and a cooktop in there, but the days of anyone being taught the domestic arts as a part of the Knoxville Catholic High School curriculum were long gone by then and the very idea is probably laughable to today’s students.
Me, I wish they had taught me how to sew.
Yes, I know that it’s incredible, domestic goddess that you all no doubt believe me to be, but I can’t even sew on a button. Shoot, at this point I can’t see to thread a needle anymore.
Once upon a time, in Girl Scouts, I did learn some basic sewing skills, and even made a pillow once. That was 37 years ago, y’all. And 26 years ago (when my “skills” were still relatively fresh) I decided to mend a tear in my favorite pair of pajamas, and ended up sewing them to the sheet of the bed I was sitting on. That’s when I gave up in disgust.
I’m a great cook, and that’s way more important, right?
Time was, all women knew how to sew. We all learn to cook, more or less, because feeding yourself and your family is a necessity, and back in the day, so was clothing them. If you’ve read the Little House books, you’ll remember there is much discussion of the buying of cloth and the making of dresses, especially in the later books when Laura begins to help Ma with some of these tasks. At some point she notices the tension in Ma’s face and is surprised to realize that Ma hates sewing as much as she does.
Today, sewing is a hobby for those who enjoy it, thankfully. For those who hate it or can’t do it, there are options. Mima was our family’s solution when I was growing up, and even when Emily was little. Although crocheting was what she really enjoyed, she was capable of all the sewing we required; so when we needed a costume for a play, or something mended, or our pants hemmed, we got overnight service. But by the time my kids needed their uniforms altered, Mima couldn’t do it anymore. There was a nice old lady in her neighborhood who was a seamstress, so we moved on to her. But one day I called her and she no longer answered her phone. We found a local alterations establishment to use. It now took longer to get things done, and needless to say it cost more. A lot more.
Because this is the kind of thing I tend to leave to the last minute, (as in the day before school starts) a lot of creative solutions to my inability to sew have arisen. Pants have been rolled up, glued, stapled, and duct-taped. These temporary fixes often remain until the item in question has been outgrown.
What brings this to mind today? This afternoon Lorelei is selling Girl Scout cookies in front of the Walgreens. She wants to wear her Brownie sash (everyone apparently gave up long ago the idea of Scouts buying the entire uniform). Now, I only succeeded in buying the Brownie sash and the items meant to adorn it in December, even though Lorelei has been a Brownie all year, and I’ve procrastinated since then about getting the things onto the sash so she could wear it. But last night I got some fabric glue, and this morning I stuck them on there and it seems like the job will hold long enough (she won’t be a Brownie any more after this school year!).
But wait! Those of you in the know are getting ready to remind me that you can iron those things on now! What a blessing!
Except I don’t own an iron.