Saturday, April 10, 2010

How to Learn to Sew

1. Commit yourself to actually learn this time.

Shrug off your past failures, forget your former tears. Throw the half-finished pajama pants back into the fabric tub, pretend that you don't care they sit abandoned.

2. Buy yourself a pattern.

Pretend that you don't care that all the dress samples you see are made using the most generic cottons, and by all means, don't look at the necessary skills before choosing your dress-to-be. Instead, just randomly buy a pattern.

3. Find fabric.

This will take some doing, as the local fabric stores are dedicated only to fleece blanket making and quilting. And though the quilting fabric is great, just try walking around as a human Log Cabin square, and see how that goes.

4. Learn to sew.

This is easy if you've done it by hand already. Which I have. This is hard when you consider that you'll actually be cutting fabric. And fabric can't get frogged and reused if you screw it up. If you cut fabric wrong, you go buy new fabric.

5. Discover that your geometry skills have crippled you for life.

That one explains itself.

6. Thank God and all the forces in the universe that you were practicing fabric cutting on scraps, not on the actual dress material.

7. Cry.

This is the beginning of what is known as the Cry Count, which is the meter of how many times learning a new skill makes you break down into tears.

Mere tears, however, do not evidence the beginning of the Cry Count. No, one must wait until the student flees the room, before one can add a mark to the tally, with bonus points added if the student responds, "I suck!" to the question, "What's wrong?"

8. Discover that you have a sewing machine phobia.

If you get chills at the sound of your sewing machine thundering away, if you fear touching fabric, expecting that the contact will cause your hand to be trapped under the sewing machine's foot as the needle slams through flesh and bone, forcing cotton thread to meet again and again until it can be stopped, you know you have a phobia.

9. Solve 8 by purchasing a new, quieter sewing machine.

10. Discover that a new machine does not automatically wipe away the aforementioned phobia (see 8).

11. Discover that the pattern you purchased is intended for plus sized women.

12. Measure self.

13. Determine that, despite rampant consumption of food, student's body can not yet be considered plus sized.

14. Cut out paper in shape of pattern.

15. Tape "sew" paper together.

16. Try on paper "dress."

17. Determine that smallest size can fit non-plus-sized student, due to mannish shoulder width and freakish torso length.

18. Cut out fabric in shape of dress.

19. Discover terrifying shortage of pins.

20. Discover inability to sew straight line (see 8).

21. Observe teacher sewing dress, to calm self.

22. Force self to stop "sewing" (see 21) due to desire to keep Cry Count (see 7) at one.

23. Discover that time is running out for dress completion. At this point, the instructor should contract a severe respiratory infection, complete with fever and laryngitis (to prevent teacher's ability to pass on instruction).

24. Leave dress parts (cut out) in neat stack.

25. Become depressed. Take care to leave Cry Count at single digit (see 7).

26. Touch fabric.

27. Touch sewing machine.

28. Dig out old knitting project (abandoned second socks) and attempt to finish them as quickly as possible, because meeting the dress deadline is impossible and victory must be achieved in some manner.

29. Become depressed.

30. Lose cell phone in belly of car (under passenger's seat).

31. Revel in depression alone, since no friends can call and since student cannot call friends as phone address book is the sole location of friends phone numbers.

32. Dig under passenger's seat.

33. Cut hand.

34. Burn self cooking conciliatory snack.

35. Walk past dress fragments, looking forlorn.

36. Examine blister from burn. Calculate time needed for blister to heal, determine color of burn to clash with color of dress.

37. Conclude color not to be problematic, as dress would need to be worn using duct tape on each seam, as dress remains in fragments.

38. Become more depressed.

39. Repeat over Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Saturday, spent at work, is dress-guilt free. So the student thinks.

40. Calculate number of seams to be sewn each day to make impossible deadline.

41. Look in closet for alternative dress. Vow to lose 20 pounds over course of summer, to prove that student can look good in dress, despite the fact that student won't look good in dress during actual wedding and reception.

42. Drink sweet tea and give up. Eat snack. Watch M.A.S.H.

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