“Right?” she said. “I got it at a vintage store. I wish I had a bunch more!”
“Shoot,” I said. “I can make you a pattern.”
There are three parts to it, plus apron strings and a pocket. Just trace it out and put it together. How hard can it be? Well. How hard can I make it?
She had already whipped it off and handed it to me. Jeez, I’ve been sewing for 55 years. I’m no stitchery genius, but you cut out shape A and shape B and slap them together and stitch, and before you know it you have most of your private bits covered.
I don’t know if I ever mentioned it before, but there are a number of aspects to your standard IQ test, and the parts that involve visualizing two-dimensional things in 3-D space is where I pitch into dangerous territory. Basically, my verbal ability is what has kept me out of an institution.
What you really should do, especially if you’re not wieldy with the three dimensions, is carefully rip all the original seams to spread the individual pieces out, trace them onto paper, and you have your pattern.
This apron is old. This apron was pieced together by candlelight using scraps from Granny Mae’s Sunday-go-to-meetin’ calico. It has now been worn quite a bit by our ace massage therapist and is saturated to gumminess with fragrant oils, and if a modern person raised on hormone-infused dairy products and hybridized wheat so much as breathes on it, it will fall into lint. Also, it is piped. Narrowly. A raw edge is covered in 1/4-inch bias tape, and it will spontaneously unravel in direct sunshine.
I’m not going to carefully rip anything.
So there’s some guesswork.
The contestants of Project Runway throw these things together in a few hours. They have a model, they have imagination, experience, and three-D imaging skills, and if you ask them to produce a bustled bridesmaid’s gown on a Nigerian theme involving a marsupial, using recycled plastics and an inspiration from Dickens, they will churn it right out.
I would like to note at this time that they will do so only after pitching God’s own fit and wailing to the heavens. Someone will disappear and return only after having cut themselves until they feel right again. Others will have to introduce ruching to cover over the fabric shrinkage from their tears. These people are as delicate in temperament as they are talented.
I made a pattern and decided I needed to do a test apron before my friend spent any money on fabric. I found an old sheet I used to love. It’s soft as a baby bunny. I’d put my toenail through the bottom sheet and bought a new set. I cut it all up and began to sew.
It feels like silk and sews like it too. Which is to say, squirrely and aggravating. But what really screws things up is when you finally get the whole thing put together and put it on and the place where you sew the back straps to the bottom is completely wrong. You have made an apron for M. C. Escher. There’s a righteous Moëbius twist in it. So you have to rip it out. You can do that maybe once. Your sheet was no match for your toenail, so it certainly can’t survive multiple rippings.
And yet, it must! I took out the two offending seams and put them back together, after pinning and double-checking, and guess the hell what? One of them was right, but the other still wasn’t! I’d sewn it to the correct side this time but still twisted it! There are three ways to get it wrong, and I got it wrong all three ways, and one of them twice. It is possible that this brain deficit is what gives me compassion for people confused about the apostrophe.
Nothing like this ever happens on Project Runway. Actually, it does, but those contestants disappear in mysterious circumstances, followed by public service announcements about mental health.
“I can make you more aprons just like this!” I recall I said.
At minimum wage, they’ll run a couple hundred bucks each. Good thing I work for free.
I feel for you. I cannot count the times I have generously offered to do/make something for someone, then spent the next few weeks regretting it. As they say, no good turn goes unpunished.
As they say, I'm sure glad I don't work for myself.
I feel your pain. I've lost count of the number of times I've rashly said, "I sew. That's an easy one, no sweat," and then spent a month or two cursing.
I don't know why I imagine I know what I'm doing. There's no evidence for it.
I have learned to bite my tongue before volunteering to do something. I seem to have less time to do all the things I have to do as I go along in life. If I don't have time to do MY things, I certainly don't have time for anyone else's things. When I was younger, it seemed like I had all the time in the world for stuff like that. Maybe time is speeding up?
I have a friend that says that life is like a roll of toilet paper. It seems to speed up the closer you get to the end.
My grandfather said, "At eighty, a year is like a day."
All of the above is true. I'm actually good at saying "no" but sometimes a project appeals to me or I know I'd do a good job. And sometimes I just THINK I'd do a good job.
Thank you. And all the other people who volunteer (sometimes to my eyes foolishly) to do impossible things. Before or after breakfast.
I've skipped breakfast ever since ninth grade. That helps.
I once volunteered to make thirty denim lab aprons for my brother who was teaching a high school science class.Then he said he didn't want the ties attached because they would tangle in the wash so I designed loops on the sides to thread the ties through- denim rouleau straps, how hard could that be?
Many , many broken needles and curses later he had his aprons and detached ties and stinkin loops and I had enough shreds of my sanity left to vow that I would never again sew anything that I didn't want to.
I can visualize every rotten step of that project!
You made me LOL. Thanks, Murr. As a person who sews and has had similar mishaps, let me just say I'm sympathizing behind my LOL, too. I have learned to not promise anything because once I do, it becomes a hardship instead of fun. If it gets done as a surprise for somebody, great. If not, it's only me who's disappointed with myself.
My volunteer projects are very random and never fit any preconceived timetable (such as birthdays).
Have you considered using paper to make your patterns? Once upon a time when brown paper bags were plentiful, I used them to make patterns. Newspaper would work too, but might also be a once upon a time thing. Tape the pages together to make a larger pattern.
I have pattern paper and did use that–but then I made a test apron out of the sheet, from the pattern.
I have a similar brain deficit that is preventing me from even starting to make doll clothes for a doll one or two sizes smaller than the patterns I've got. I used to make "popover" aprons where the back and front are the same but the sides are open and have ties to hold them together. Easy-peasy.
While we're at it, Pootie thinks his clothes come from Santa Claus.
Next time you get an urge to do this, give me a holler. I think 3D pretty well. It's how I unvented a seamless möbius scarf that's knit from the center out.
I can't even make out what you said in my BRAIN.
Luvvit!! The most I ever did was shorten my jeans, without a machine.
You can do that just by stepping on them enough.
And I, too, thank you. I’ve got some lovely voiles and rayons I’ve collected, thinking to get back to sewing garments. I had planned to make patterns from tops I have that suit me well. After reading this post, I suddenly recall that I never liked wearing any of the garments I made 50 years ago; that I am 50 years less patient than I was then, and a good 50 years slower; and that I’ve never made a pattern in my life. It was a damn silly idea, and I’m well rid of it.
Make me one.
I made face masks NO ONE would wear. How bad are you that people would rather get Covid than wear your duck mask made out of a vacuum cleaner bag? It wasn’t even used. Back to crocheting a baby blanket ( yarn 126.0”) hrs spent ( 60) this better not end up at goodwill. Love you, Fran
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
"…visualizing two-dimensional things in 3-D space is where I pitch into dangerous territory. Basically, my verbal ability is what has kept me out of an institution." I resemble that remark. My sister was a seamstress extraordinaire. She even made her husband's business suits and he was well-dressed. I can't hem a tea towel. Hell, I can't tie a competent knot in a string.
Frankly, I can't even wear clothes right.
Your information is very detailed and useful to me, thank you for sharing.
Online Dissertation Help