Sara has learned how to hand sew. She wanted to make a blanket for her Barbie so we took an old T-shirt and made a few flimsy sleeping bags. She graduated to mending Chuck's old socks and was really looking for bigger and better projects. Her birthday was coming up so I thought that as a way to encourage and foster her budding talent we should get her a sewing machine. I did all the research, opting for a real machine vs. a kids (the reviews said the toy ones were crap, to just get a small, inexpensive real sewing machine). I found a decent one and had Chuck order it. I also got a box full of fabric, buttons, ribbons, scissors, pins, pin cushions and tape measure.
Her birthday came and we gave her the sewing machine. She was thrilled. That night I sat with her and we both learned how to use it. The last time I actually used a sewing machine was in my 7th grade Home-Economics class. That was a long time ago my friends. I have no sewing abilities and the night before her birthday while talking with a coworker I realized I never bought thread for the machine...slight oversight on my part. But I digress...so after Sara's party we came home and set up a little sewing circle. We made sleeping bags for her dolls and a pillow stuffed with Chuck's old shirts. The next night I stopped at Wal-Mart on my way home from work to get some more sewing accoutrement. I figured we were having a "hurricane day" and would be stuck inside all day... I got real pillow stuffing and in my cockiness I got a pattern for a vest. . I am terrible at math, just ask Ms. D. I had to take her Algebra I class two years in a row. I had to learn how to read a pattern and then teach it to Sara. We used her measuring tape in an effort to learn new math skills, we learned how to pin the fabric and how to sew in a lining. So in a 36 hour time frame we learned the basics of using a sewing machine, made 2 doll sleeping bags, 3 pillows, a purse and a vest. Not bad.
Sara wore her vest to school and really enjoyed the attention she got from her teachers. She was on a roll. She came home from preschool asking to make a dress. Really? OK, the house was clean and I had nothing else to do so we headed to Joann's Fabrics. It is like the Promised Land of the sewing subculture. I was so overwhelmed. There had to be 10,000 fabrics to choose from. I head over to the pattern area. At Wal-Mart they were just out on a rack. Here they were hidden away and you needed to follow some obscure numbering system reminiscent of the Dewey Decimal system. I was not privy to the secret of unlocking the pattern code so I asked 2 ladies that were somehow able to navigate the drawers and drawers filled with old dusty envelopes that look like they have been in there since the 70's. They both kind of looked at me like a fish out of water. I know I did look a bit out of place in my jeans and v-neck sweater. I should have worn the requisite elastic waist woven knit pants with a green turtle neck and applique vest which appears to be the universal outfit of the sewing set...maybe then they would have accepted me into their world. They did finally help me understand the organizational ways of Butterick and McCalls. Sara kept finding very complicated patterns that included pleats, bows, zippers and other things way beyond our skill set. I got her to finally settle on a very simple A- line smock dress...it was in the "Under 2 hours" section. You already know how this is going to end....and it is WAY LONGER than 2 hours.
We head over to the fabrics and Sara is in her glory. Her first choice was no word of a lie Gold Lame. All I could think of was the show Solid Gold and the black dancer with the super long hair. I am sure all of her clothes were cut from this cloth. Disappointed she moved on to the sheer, sparkly section...it took some convincing that was not a great choice since it was see-through. After listening to her complain that I never let her get anything she wants she settled on a soft pink fabric (the same on both sides for mommies convenience when lining it up). We get some Cheetah print fabric at Anna's request and some big, clunky diamond buttons and head home.
We (Sara and I) spend the next 6 hours measuring, cutting, pinning and sewing her dress. A few bumps in the road...for the life of me I could not line up the front piece and back piece properly....again, the math so I just re-cut 2 of the same pieces and voila, they magically fit...(I bought 2 extra yards of material knowing that I was going to need it for mistakes I was going to inevitably make) but we got it done and she was thrilled with her masterpiece. She wore it the next day and again loved the attention. It really has boosted her self esteem and she is talking much more in class. I want to encourage this talent but there is no way in hell I am going to be making new outfits 4 days a week.
With my kids I never do anything for the glory or praise I am going to get. Anyone with kids knows that they really don't care about the back story of your parenting...they don't care about all the thought and consideration that goes into your decisions, the life lessons you want to instill or the planning and care that goes into the day to day life you provide them. As long as their needs are met and they are happy that is all that matters to them and it should be that way. HOWEVER, in this one case I came up with the idea of teaching her to sew, then graduating to a real machine that I researched, gathered all of the other supplies and spent hours bent over the little table teaching her, and myself how to sew...and guess who gets all the glory?
Drum roll please.....CHUCK!!! Yes, technically he did click "purchase" on the website link I sent him but that is where his participation began and ended. But Sara keeps saying that he is the best daddy ever for getting her a new sewing machine. WTF!!!!
On a side note I told Chuck that if we wanted to we could have 19 kids because I am now a master of the smock dress and on all those TLC shows that is what they wear. I made one for Anna that even has pockets. Or we could start our own fringe religion because they usually all dress alike in smock dresses. Isn't the end of the world coming next month? If anyone is interested in coming over to ring in the end of times just let me know your measurements and I will have Sara whip one up for you. Bring your own Nike's and we will be good to go!!