Monday, May 25, 2009

I don't know how to use a sewing machine.

I came of age at a time when some feminists argued that young women should not learn to type; learn how to type, they argued, and you'll always be a typist.

Likewise, when I got serious about amateur theater, veterans told me, "Don't learn to sew. If you learn to to sew, you'll never do anything else."

So I didn't, and now I'm kind of sorry about it. Not sorry enough to seek out sewing lessons, but sorry.

It's one of those things, like cooking, that anyone ought to be able to teach themselves. You buy a pattern and some material, you pin it, you mark it, you cut it out, you sew it. But the few efforts I've made have looked like a kindergartener's craft project: stained, puckered, lopsided and frayed. When I try to use a sewing machine, the thread gets tangled, and I have put needles through the skin of my index fingers more than once.

This summer's Gaslight musical, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, includes many spectacular 1920s-era costumes. Some we borrowed, but at least half have been handmade by our director, Deb Howard, with the help of our stage manager, Jenny, and a couple of cast members, Jen and Karen. I'm dazzled by their skill, and more than a little intimidated.

It's probably too late for me to learn how to use a sewing machine, but it's still on my list of things I'd like to know how to do before I die. What are some things you'd like to learn to do, before it's too late?


lawlis42 said...

Sewing. It's hard and I really admire people who do it well.

I've always wanted to learn how to dance. You know, all the assorted ballroom steps, all the Latin dances, how to two-step without bouncing. It makes me sigh in a forlorn fashion to think about it. How pathetic. : (

AnswerGirl said...

There's a premise for a romantic comedy if I ever heard one ... sign up for lessons!

Jen Jordan said...

Oh, and I am a sewing diva! When I don't have to work with a crap machine.

But learned because I could never find clothes liked and this allowed me to convert, alter or destroy to an appropriate level many clothes.

Every try belly dancing? Elegance and I shall never meet eyes across a crowded room.

AnswerGirl said...

I have not tried belly dancing, but my sisters took lessons last year and loved it. And I have friends in LA who do "stripper aerobics"...

Claire said...

I took bellydancing for a semester at McGill. I never got to be very good, but I was in great shape. You use muscles you never knew existed.

I would like to learn to fly! I am in love with those little rickety Cessnas.

norby said...

I took Home Economics in 8th grade. The sewing section was a nightmare for me. We started out with these patterns on paper that we had to guide the machine's needles around. Mine went everywhere. Then we could pick out a pillow to make or we could make an apron. I did the pillow, and mine is still around somewhere I think. I still can't believe it came out looking the way it was supposed to, although I did have a lot of grandma help.

I have a younger cousin who can make her own clothing. I am torn between disgust and complete admiration.