The Long and Shorts of It

While going through the photo albums my mom lent me to find the evidence for my Halloween posts, I was reminded of how much my mother sewed for me.  A page didn’t turn without another image of me in a jumper, dress or shirt made by Mom.  Don’t get me wrong, the lay person may not realize that these items had been created in the sewing room, but I know.  I remember the trips to the mall where the litany of “I can make that” was pronounced repeatedly, the hours spent at JoAnn’s or Fields scouring the patterns and fabrics, and the fittings to get it just right.  So, after all of this exposure to sewing, why didn’t I sew?

It all began with middle school and Girl Scouts.  My mom was one of our troop leaders, and we were working tirelessly towards our badges.  I’ll admit I was a little competitive when it came to wanting the most.  A few badges we would work on as a troop and the sewing badge was one of those. We all had to work on the same project and so what do a dozen tween girls agree on… jams.  So, who’s with me in remembering jams?  Surfer type short, baggy, bold fabrics and elastic waistbands, anyone?  They were the perfect simple project to earn a sewing badge.

There we are, troop 49, modeling our jam creating genius.

We all completed our jams and received our badges but at some point I discovered something was wrong.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret that I really hope you won’t share lest the Girl Scouts of America revoke my sewing badge, but my mom secretly took my jams apart and redid them so they’d be perfect.  Did I mention Mom is a bit of a perfectionist?  I don’t remember if I knew then or found out at a later date but this was a game changer.

One of my best friends at this point was a girl we’ll call Muffy.  Now Muffy’s mom and mine were like twins separated at birth, crafty, creative perfectionists.  But there was one big difference.  Muffy’s mom taught her to sew very young and then proceeded to act in only an advisory capacity.  Muffy made all her own clothes, her Barbies’ clothes and any other thing that struck her fancy.  Is that what I wanted?

I was faced with a dilemma.  I could learn to sew up to my Mom’s standards and then be the sole person responsible for my clothes or I could be morally outraged at her subterfuge in redoing my work and have my own personal seamstress indefinitely.  Yeah, I chose the latter.  I’d gotten used to seeing something I liked in a catalog or store and having it recreated in my choice of fabric without having to do much more than stand for measurements and the occasional pinprick.

This worked for years filled with custom tailored clothes, formal dresses, pajama, dorm room curtains, duvet covers, and all the alterations I could demand.  Then the unthinkable happened. I still can’t believe it.  Her sewing machine died and couldn’t be saved!  So, do you think she ran out and got a new?  She sure did, and she gave it to me for my 30th birthday.  Well played Mom, well played.

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