Musings and Amusings

In the ‘What Was I Thinking’ category, I bought Raqi this child-size mannequin


and these It’s So Easy (even an idiot can do it) Simplicity patterns

image image

and filled a sewing basket with shiny pins, assorted needles, pink pin cushion, measuring tape, colorful ribbon, spools of colorful thread, my button collection, black snaps and Velcro strips.

Raqi has been designing and hand sewing rudimentary clothes for her dolls, and she asked for fabric and a mannequin for Christmas to make herself some clothes. Her Mom told me she bought Raqi a ‘beginner’ sewing machine, so I jumped on Ebay to look for a mannequin.

As I was dressing up the mannequin in a scarf and skirt to put under the Christmas tree, lightning struck.



Who is going to help Raqi thread the sewing machine, translate those mind-numbing pattern illustrations, measure and cut the fabric, sew in a straight line?

All my childhood trauma of my complete and utter failure as a seamstress came flooding over me. Mom made all our clothes and fully expected my sister and me to follow in her footsteps. She tried to teach me, cajole me. She even threatened to disown me from the realms of Home Ec majors who’d paved the way in my family.

I can’t make head, fingers nor foot-pedal sense of bobbins, nap, salvage, pinking shears. I can’t even fold the patterns up once they’ve been unfolded, not even with those permanent fold lines seared in that tissue-like paper.

Panicked, I emailed Parker: “Can YOU sew?”

Her response: “No, I thought you could.”

Running through my non-existent list of Plan B’s, I thought of Charisse, Raqi’s next-door-neighbor-Super-Mom who French-braids hair; makes daily meals for six from scratch; paints Halloween faces with the skill of a makeup artist.

I emailed Parker: “What about Charisse? Does she sew? If not, can she learn overnight?”

Parker’s response: “Charisse is out of town. You better bring gin.”

Merry Christmas to all my dear friends, readers, fellow bloggers and your families. May your Christmas celebration be as blessed and loving as I know mine will.

O Holy Night.

Comments on: "Santa, Pack a Seamstress. PLEASE!" (45)

  1. Sewing machines are vile evil demon gadgets from Hades.

    And that’s just the title page.

    You have my sympathies. I second Parker’s strategy vis-a-vis the gin.

  2. Well, I laughed my arse off. Finally shed a couple of pounds, thank you. I am married to a man who sews on a machine, but we are too far away. I HATE sewing machines. I have lived around three people who sewed on them and listened to each of them bitch the entire time they were sewing about this or that. NOT my idea of hobby or fun times. This is all the more odder when you realize that I do everything else under the sun — with my hands — and am good with a computer. But no sewing machines. Forget the gin. It’s tequila time.

    • LOL whatever floats your boat, Katie. I’m very encouraged to hear even accomplished artists hate that sewing machine. This’ll either be Raqi’s shortest-lived hobby or she’ll be forging a new path where neither I nor Parker can follow!

    • D Katie! I โค you. I grew up with a Singer Featherweight machine that sat at the dining room table more often than the family did. Mom was a whiz at it. The gene stopped with Jean. Thirty years later I worked with my husband in a sewing machine store – he was the mechanic, I was sales. As in, "here, let me show you how this baby works!" As in, "And the Oscar for best actress in a comedy or farce goes to…."

      • You two are absolutely no support at all ๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿ˜

      • LOL – well, I WAS going to say something along the lines of “nothing like being a teacher in order to learn something.” Which is valid and really might be the answer to your issues. Tell Raqi that this will be a learning experience for the both of you, and maybe you can bond like never before over the evil that is… no, scratch that – You can bond like never before as you join forces against the demonic…

        forget it.

        When it comes to sewing machines… yeah, at the very least, keep a G&T for a plan B.

      • And wait for Charisse to come home !!! Too funny about your, uh, sales position ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. I have such fond memories of making doll clothes with my grandmother. And, I actually learned to sew on a machine and made clothes for myself. I still sew (but usually not clothes) from time-to-time and actually enjoy it. Too bad you don’t live closer – I’d love to teach her what I know. Barring that, you can find tons of sewing videos on YouTube. Good gin recipes too!

    • Yes I wish you lived closer, too, Janis!! I will try to channel your enjoyment for sewing but what I’m really going to need is a huge dollop of patience!! That and maybe a double shot of gin ๐Ÿ˜Š

  4. Sorry Sammy, no help from this corner either. I remember watching a Discovery Channel show about how a sewing machine works but that’s all I got. I did enjoy the post. Sorry to laugh at your expense but you did make it funny. Good luck.

    • ๐Ÿ˜€ thanks, Dan! Ironically it will be a man to the rescue. My stepson is amazingly adept at any kind of hand-tool skill, plus he has the patience of a saint -especially when helping his kids learn anything. I fully plan to lounge on the couch listening to the whir of the sewing machine and shout the occasional ‘that looks awesome!’ at the two of them. From my lips to Santa’s sleigh!

  5. Ah, once upon a time I knew how to sew. And crochet. And knit. And… (I think I could pick up crocheting and knitting again pretty quickly. The sewing I’m not so sure…)

    Merry Christmas, Sammy!

    • Thanks, Carrie! I did have a spell of knitting and crocheting ‘back in the day’ and was certainly more adept at them than sewing.

      Merry Christmas to you, too, dear friend ๐Ÿ’ž

  6. HAH! My mother was like yours. My mother was all, “Why would we buy drapes when we can make them?” and they didn’t LOOK like homemade drapes, either! She could sew anything!
    I can sew simple things. Very simple. I don’t think I could manage the skirt on the left, because I bet it has a zipper, but I could probably manage the smock dress on the right. My newest sewing machine is extremely user-friendly. I’ve taught Moo a bit on it. Not all sewing machines are kind to humans…I agree with Maggie — many are evil! I quilt. I can’t deal with an evil, finicky machine!
    I tell you, you and Raqi can have a great time trying. One of my fondest memories of my grandmother was when we completely botched a German chocolate cake and ate it anyway.

    • Wow, Joey – even Mom would have been impressed my someone who handmade her own drapes!!

      I did have the good sense to get the skirt pattern that has an elastic waist with no zipper. But I think I was assuming I could ‘visualize’ the skirt into being without – you know – actually touching the pattern or the sewing machine. Last night when I unfolded the pattern and saw those illustrations with directional arrows and shaded squares and unshaded squares to denote right/wrong side of fabric, I knew I was doomed. You can’t sew once your eyes have crossed!

      I am encouraged, however, that you and Moo have had a go of it and found a relatively easy sewing machine. If nothing else, Raqi will LOVE going to the fabric store with me and looking at all the pretty bolts of material and accessory sparkles. Perhaps we’ll settle on a toga-style that requires no sewing ๐Ÿ˜Š

      And there’s always cake!

  7. Sewing machine? What’s that? Thanks for the post Sammy D – I had a good laugh! My mother made clothes for us, tutus and I don’t know what else. My sister can sew, I sometimes dream that I would like to make my own stuff with fabric and material that I like – you know just run something up – but that’s what pipe dreams are all about isn’t it.

    And a little something since the gin and tequila story comes up
    One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR!

    Have a wonderful Christmas – all good cheer to you and your lovely family and friends ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Pipe dreams and tequila – that’ll make those hemlines look straight! LOL I laughed out loud at your little ditty, Susan, although my days of making it to 3 of any liquor-laced drink before hitting the floor are long gone ๐Ÿ˜Š. Cheers and hugs and try not to face plant in the egg nog!

  8. We have an entire section of our house devoted to sewing. Other than hefting bins of cloth, I am not much help. It’s all a mystery.

    Merry Christmas, Sammy.

  9. Well, awesome post and awesome comments! You’ve all brightened up my frazzled Christmas Eve (pastry/merangue gone wrong/list of 2 jobs turned into 19 jobs….!)

    I have tailor/seamstress genes and can honestly say it’s not enough! After years of sewing mishaps and one scary ass looking clown I gave up. Good luck and “bottoms up!”

    Merry christmas x

    • Sewing a clown sounds like double torture to me, Lainey (as does meringue/pastry missions on Christmas Eve). You made ME laugh – truly, misery loveth company, eh?

      And mishaps are what give us grist for the blogging mill ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐ŸŒŸ

  10. Sorry, I couldn’t help laughing at this! And I’m no help – I hated sewing too, though I did get quite good at curtains and blinds and anything with straight edges for a while in my 20s. Good luck, and keep the gin bottle close by ๐Ÿ™‚

    Have a good ‘un Sammy ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Not a single one-a youse supportive sidekicks has asked to see the skirt once we’re finished. Oh ye of little faith. Ye know me too well ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Now where’s my bobbin ……..

  11. I’m also the daughter of an amazing seamstress, and, no, I don’t “sew” (in 22 years of motherhood, I’ve made 2 garments and 1 shower curtain). At least she won’t be intimidated? Honestly, my mom’s expertise made it harder for her to teach me; I also don’t do well with oral instructions.

    You sound like an awesome — and fun — grandma to me! Patience and a sense of humor will help make good memories.

    • ๐ŸŽ… thanks for your encouragement, Sandi! I think it was difficult for Mom to understand why I couldn’t understand the patterns or had the fine motor skill for ‘perfect’ sewing.

      We will have fun and can always focus on accessorize get the mannequin rather than making clothes!!

  12. Oh, I the things we do for love. Sorry, no help here either, can’t sew, or don’t like it — not sure which anymore, but I think they go together. Raqi will learn and teach you all … or maybe not. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happy holidays, Sammy. Have a wonderful season full of love and delight.

  13. Ouch! Touched a chord, Sammy ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe it skips a generation. My Mam was a whizz sewer and my daughter sews like an angel. I still remember the frown on my craft mistresses face as she inspected my cookery apron. Simple seams? No such thing!
    I bet it didn’t spoil Christmas ๐Ÿ™‚ My very best wishes for 2015!

    • Ah, Jo – so many frowning Moms and craft mistresses I see many of us endured. The epiphany I had yesterday was sewing can be viewed as art, not science. Thus precision goes out the window, which is infinitely freeing for fumble fingers.

      once I quieted that judgment from the past and realized Raqi couldn’t care less about straight seams, we had a great time dressing her new mannequin in bits of pinned fabric and velcro’d ribbon.
      Happy New Year – looking forward to more Monday walks with you!

  14. Love this, Sammy! I was exactly the same–terrible at sewing. My memory of trying to make dolls’ clothes still stands as the most frustrated I have ever felt, and the only time I was rapped on the palms with a ruler in elementary school was when I had messed up on my needlework. But these talents skip generations. If your granddaughter loves making dolls’ clothes, then she make have inherited your mother’s skill with her hands. And never mind, you clearly have many other skills, such as writing…And nowadays she can look up the answers to all her questions online and learn by watching video tutorials. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    • Josna – it seems many if us have unpleasant memories of sewing. I dare say part must be the expectation of perfection because sewing was such a measure of female competence. Yuk !! No wonder we felt pressured!

      Fortunately our Christmas sewing was far from perfect, far from pressured and a lot of fun. I didn’t even have to uncap the gin bottle ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Thanks for reading, and I look forward to another year of enjoying your thought-provoking posts.

  15. I’m late to this party and laughed out loud at the ‘better bring gin’ ๐Ÿ˜€

    I hope it all ended well and Raqi turns out to be a sewing prodigy!

  16. Sammy, Merry Christmas to you as well! What a wonderful gift giver you are. I’m excited to see what Raqi makes. ๐Ÿ™‚
    And, judging from your wonderful tangles, I’ll bet you’d make a great seamstress if you put your mind to it!

  17. […] Despite my reservations, our sewing sessions went remarkably smoothly without me cracking open the gin bottle. My wingman, Hub, came through like a champ using his superior eyesight and abstract thinking to figure out the bobbin-loading diagrams, maneuver his fingers in the very tiny space to thread the machine needle, and leaving both of us looking like savvy sewers in Raqiโ€™s eyes. […]

  18. I don’t think anyone can re-fold a pattern, can they? They’re worse than maps!!

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