My childhood memories are punctuated by the rhythmic whomping of my mom’s sewing machine. Mom began sewing as a child. Over the years she has sewn clothes for herself and kids, custom draperies, costumes, toys and more. My mom is the genius behind the awesome hats at our wedding.
Sewing and Mama Magargee are synonymous. Sadly, I can’t say the same about myself. Despite spending hours watching mom sew, I could not mend a button. A previous boyfriend once asked me to repair a few shirts. Unwilling to admit my lack of domestic abilities I set to work. The buttons ended up being sewn on crooked and the torn seam puckered. To add insult to injury, I burned a large, iron-shaped print on the one shirt I tried to press.
From then on I adopted the “no sew” method of alterations – I used a stapler to hem drapes and pants, and safety pinned a shirt when the button came off. When I moved to Lexington Bird and I purchased $14 drapes from Ikea. Each pair came with this amazing tape that you ironed into the drapes to create a no-sew hem. GENIOUS! This tape became my new best friend. I actually took a square piece of fabric, ironed in a hem and used it as a tablecloth. AND HE STILL MARRIED ME! Bird is a good man.
While writing my 31 in 365 list Bird challenged me to learn how to sew a real hem into our drapes. I stared at him. Sew? Why on earth would I do that when I could just use the ironing tape? He kindly explained it would be nice to launder our drapes without the hems falling out each time. Good point.
“28. Sew an actual hem into my drapes (no more iron-on hems).”
While I enjoy teaching myself new skills like graphic design, I realize it can be a time-consuming process and the point of 31 in 365 is to complete the tasks in 365 days. Additionally, things like graphic design do not include a sharp needle whomping down hundreds of times per minute. Nope, teaching myself to sew had disaster and Band-Aids written all over it. Instead I consulted Google and after a few clicks found Loretta.
Like Mom, Loretta has been sewing forever. She can talk your ear off about fabric grain, nap and the importance of buying quality thread. With the patience of a saint, she can deal with a slew of questions and constant interruptions, “Um, Loretta, I think something is wrong… ” I say as I tug on the zipper that I accidentally sewed closed.
For the past two months I have met with Loretta every other Saturday to learn how to sew. Slowly she has taught the basics and given me the confidence to try new things. “It’s just fabric,” she assures me. “You can always rip a seam out.” Sewing, she reminds me, is supposed to be fun.
The more I learned from Loretta, the more I thought I could do better than just sewing a hem in our $14 drapes. I started looking at drapes that I could not afford. “I think I can make these,” I said to Bird one night. “I’m sure you can!” His vote of confidence fueled the project. I ordered fabric. I bought lining. I hunted down pleat tape and drapery pins. I bought drapery hardware.
One Saturday, armed with supplies and a sandwich, I arrived at Loretta’s house ready for a full day of cutting, pressing and whomping machines. With her expert guidance we created four lined drapery panels from wonderful mustardy yellow fabric that would hang with pins and rings giving the drapes a polished and high-end look. This weekend I hung the drapes and Bird oohed and awed. They were just perfect, he said. And hemmed properly!