On the mend

Posted by Gail Gabrielson at 13 July 2011

Category: Memoir

Tags: ,

I have a sewing machine. Really, truly. And it’s set up all the time. In fact, I have an ironing board and a cutting table set up, too, in our spare bedroom. And sometimes I even use it.

I used to sew a lot more, back when I had less time and more money. I know, it’s counterintuitive, but that’s how it works with me. The more time I have, the more time I waste. The less time I have, the more I get done.

Last night I fired up my sewing machine for a number of small projects that just needed doing. I’d done some mending on HighGuy’s jeans. He pops a belt loop now and then, or worse, wipes battery acid on his pants. I don’t know how or where he gets battery acid. Maybe it’s the lawn mower that he’s been playing with at the lake.

I had a number of little things waiting for me on the sewing machine. I had a pair of pants that I’d bought that needed shortening. (Story of my life — shortening stuff.) And I had a blouse that just seemed long, so I was going to whack that off, too. Those were a couple of simple jobs, done in no time at all.

Hanging on the closet door was a dress I’d bought. It’s a stretch denim button-up dress — not dressy enough for a recent wedding, but I couldn’t resist buying it anyway. The price was right, and the fabric was so comfortable. After I brought it home, I realized I had nowhere to wear it. I certainly wouldn’t wear it to work. I just don’t care for dresses that much.

So after finishing the blouse, I laid it on top of the dress, and drew a chalk line, following the shirt-tail line of the hem. I took a deep breath and cut. I compared the part I’d chopped off, and it seemed symmetrical. That’s a good sign. I didn’t have to recut to straighten.

I changed the thread on the sewing machine, and stitched a small hem.  I ironed the hem and took another mental deep-breath and tried it on. The moment of truth. Would it look like a dress that I’d whacked off, or would it look like a blouse?

Ta-da! The dress that would have lingered in my closet was now a blouse that I could wear with lots of pants. It’s a comfortable stretch fabric that drapes nicely and allows movement. The cut of the former dress was flattering — the darts and gores were top-sewn in a contrasting thread to call attention to the vertical line. And it follows my lines for a sleek fit without being too tight.

Maybe I’ll have to hit the thrift shops and see if I can find some other dresses with potential.

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