That Funky, Funky Sweater
On Uselessness

In Which I Admit My Failure, or, Grandma Rocks!

In the beginning, there was Home Ec class, circa 7th grade, age 12, so about 21 years ago.

I made a drawstring bag and then a pair of Bermuda shorts.

As with all things academic, I did a swell job. I ruled at school. When taught how to do things in a linear fashion, I can do what I'm told and turn out a pretty good product. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but school was just my thing.

Then came love, and marriage, and three kids in a baby carriage. Or something.

And for those three kids, the desire to sew.

Oh, I had grand plans. I thought I would whip out garment after perfect, flawless garment, and outfit my kids in an array of darling, boutique-y, one-of-a-kind fashions.

Only, 20 years is a long time to sew from the memory of a long-age home economics class, with only two finished projects under my belt.

But, not to worry, not to worry, for I had two powerful cards to play: my mother-in-law was herself a Home Ec teacher, and my husband sews for a living - at least when he's not on LIMDU, like he is now.  Surely between the two of them, they could make a sewist out of me in no time flat, right?

Oh, I was an eager student. I wanted all the tips and tricks. I wanted to know what I was doing, I wanted to be an overnight expert. I bought yards and yards of fabrics and an abundance of notions. I tried my hardest.

I made a dress for Sophia. A lot of swearing was involved. It was cute, but every time I washed it, the edges unraveled a little more. I would just snip off the fringes and happily put it back on her to wear another day. And Sophia has always been a grateful recipient of handmade Mommy gifts, fringe or not.

I made matching froggy jammies for all three kids. More swearing. And, I think the third top is still under construction somewhere, but it really doesn't matter, because they never wear the jammies all at the same time. These have held up better than the Sophie dress, with no unraveling, although I never did get the collar just right on the first two shirts. (And gosh, doesn't Chloë look gorgeous there, with all her baby teeth still in? Man, her half-toothless smile is such a mess now! I can't wait until she's out of this awkward tooth-losing stage.)

Oh, yes, I almost forgot the batik shorts I made for each kid. Talk about hideous. These also unraveled a lot, and I'm not sure whether they still have them in their drawers (Lord knows they still fit) or I've given them away. More swearing.

And finally, there was the dress on which I got stuck. Apparently I forgot to tag it with a sewing label on my blog, so I can't find it easily, but it was subtly covered with seashells and had poofy tulle under the skirt. I couldn't figure out how to get the zipper in, and neither could Rob. It still sits in the closet.

For nearly two years.

I haven't done any sewing, and I'm afraid it's too late now to go back and make the things I intended to make, for the obvious reason: my kids have grown since then, and I won't have enough yardage. But also, I don't particularly want to sew. I've lost my early mojo. Why? I think because I didn't anticipate the fussiness of the patterns I chose, and I wanted something I could throw together a little more quickly and less laboriously. Also, I hate fusible interface with a passion. I don't know why, I just hate it. I'm not big on ironing - no, pressing - either. And I hate my choices of fabrics available down at Hancock's or JoAnn's. I'd rather use the fancy designer fabrics that I see on all the fun blogs I read, and I'd rather use knits, from which I've been warned.

So there you have it. Am I a quitter? No, I don't think so; I think for sure I'll go back to it at some point. I just need to find my inspiration.

But in the meantime, there's still Rob's mom, the former Home Ec teacher. Since we are and will be doing so much in the kitchen with the kids, I thought I'd ask her if she would mind making them some cute aprons to wear.

Not only did she not mind, but she had them finished and mailed to me about five minutes later. I'm not even exaggerating! Literally I hit "send" on the email and moments later, the package was in my hands. Okay, maybe there's a little hyperbole there. But not much.


And you know what? They are perfect. Grandma doesn't half-ass, you know. She goes ALL THE WAY. These gorgeous aprons are reversible with pockets on both sides and have an adjustible strap so they can grow with the kids. Awesome, completely awesome. And the wings on the bee, there on the right? Made from Rob's sister's first wedding dress. That was the selling point for Chloë, who was poised to do battle with her sister over the flowered one. I told her how special that was, and she agreed. Hooray.

And the kids? They love them. They clamored over their aprons and earlier today, when Jack was going to cook with his dad and I'd forgotten about the aprons, he came running to me to put his on for him. They're thrilled. As am I. 

Thanks, Mom!!