Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Not Sew Perfect…

I don’t think anyone here would be surprised to hear that I kinda suck at the more domestic activities. I can cook (but it’s usually under protest), and that’s about it. I don’t do needlepoint of any kind (although I did cross-stitch as a child), I don’t crochet, and my attempt to teach myself to knit ended when I couldn’t figure out how to purl. (But I do have a nice long scarf done in nothing but knit stitches…) Needless to say, I certainly don’t sew.

My mom and my aunt sew, and they both did try to teach me. I still have the apron I made for 4-H one year (won a ribbon for it too. Thanks, Mom.), but that’s the sum total of my time with a sewing machine. Mom’s good at it, though, even if she usually only sews under protest (I come by my unwilling acquiescence naturally, you see), but my aunt is amazing. There’s nothing the woman can’t make. Seriously. She smocks dresses, for goodness’ sake.

But it really was a non-starter for me, even though they tried. But I do have a defense – besides the fact that fabric scissors are sharp and it’s really hard to get blood out of fabric. During my adolescence, I just didn’t have time. After rehearsals, I normally wouldn’t get home until 7.30. I still had to eat dinner, soak my bleeding toes in hot salt water, and tackle my math homework. Sewing anything beyond ribbons onto pointe shoes was out of the question. (And that I normally did in math class, hence the pile of homework and my continuing ignorance of geometry.)

As an adult, my lack of sewing skills hasn’t hindered me all that much. I can sew lost buttons onto DG’s shirts and patches onto AC’s Brownie vest. Anything I can’t convince my mom or my aunt to sew goes to the wonderful tailor down the street. So it’s not a big problem.

Except at Halloween, the one time of the year when sewing skills would come in handy. However, I have learned to compensate.

Exhibit A: Halloween 1993

Much to the utter disbelief of the women at the fabric store, I intended to make my own Pebbles costume without the assistance of a sewing machine. Never underestimate what a determined girl (who decided what she was going to be too late for her mom or aunt to help out) can do with a stapler and a roll of Stitch Witchery.

Not too bad, huh? I actually got two years out of that costume AND took second place in a costume contest. (I wore it when I was working at a bar and that short skirt did bring in some tips!)

Exhibit B: SP’s Mom’s B-day sock hop, 2008

I wanted a poodle skirt and the ones at the costume shop all looked tacky and horrible. The answer? Make one. There are plenty of patterns the ladies at the fabric store were happy to show me. Pfft. Buy a round table cloth and cut a hole in the middle, and voila! A skirt. DG helped design and cut out the poodle (I lack art skills as well, you see), and we stuck it on with Stitch Witchery. (Best. Stuff. Ever.)
I will admit I did sew a drawstring at the waist to help tie it on and that sewing job does look like crap, but the belt covers the crappyness. The poms on the poodle are hot glued on and the pearl leash only took a couple of small stitches to attach. I got a lot of compliments on it at the party, and everyone was so impressed with my creativity.

Um, I wouldn’t call it creativity. It’s more like compensating for any other lacking skill. You figure out how to get around it. I’m certainly not going to take up sewing at this late date. Even AC already knows that if she wants something made, she needs to talk to her Grammy or her auntie. Stitch Witchery does have some limitations, you know.

Playground costume contest time! Send pictures (or links, if the photos are online) of your best/favorite costumes to smartypants@writingplayground.com. Smarty Pants and I will be judging (and I warn you, I will be giving bonus points for unusal base materials combined with professed lack of skill. Super bonus points if you used a stapler at any point.). Winners will be posted on the weekend. I'm giving away paranormal romances in honor of the season!



Playground Monitor said...

I personally witnessed the poodle skirt and will attest to its awesomeness. And it actually makes perfect sense to use a round tablecloth. My costume at that party was rolled up jeans, bobby socks and my leather Harley jacket -- hardly anything difficult to pull together.

However, the DH and I did attend a Halloween party last Saturday where we were the Prince and Princess of Darkness. I purchased a white costume dress at Walmart and paired it with a wig I'd used several years ago when I dressed as Cruella deVille. The DH bought a hanging decoration and carefully dismantled it to use the white draping, and the wings. He did his own make-up. I think we were quite a stunning couple.

Angel said...

I have to admit that I can sew a basic straight line on a sewing machine, but clothes are beyond me. Apparently my creativity in that area doesn't extend beyond curtains. So my kids are limited by what costumes they can find at WalMart. :)


Smarty Pants said...

You looked mahvelous in your poodle skirt. I, too, am afraid of sewing. Takes me 20 minutes to get a sewing machine threaded. I don't even know why I own one. I've also got a pillow I started embroidering in, oh, 2001, that I haven't finished yet.

For Halloween, I tend to buy something or fake it somehow with things I already own. Accessories go a long way.

Can't wait to see everyone's pictures! I'm going to share a few of me on Friday.

Darling Geek said...

I have only one thing to say about my favorite costume from the last few years:


I won't be posting a picture.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hmm, that cryptic post of DG's makes one curious.....

I have no great costumes to share, nor can I sew. I can't even thread a sewing machine, SP! Stitch witch is my friend too, though I don't use it much these days. Too lazy.

I did help the hubby make a great costume a few years ago in Hawaii. He was going to be a zombie. He bought a mask, but the rest was up to us. I went to Goodwill and got a suit and shoes. We scuffed the shoes and sprayed some gray paint on them. And we sliced the suit up with razors and sprayed gray paint here and there. I can probably find a picture.....

That's the extent of my creativity. :)

Instigator said...

Come on, DG! We all want to see you as William Wallace. We promise not to laugh or tease...very much :-D

The poodle skirt was absolutely amazing. I worship at the feet of such creativity. I can not sow. If forced I can reattached a lost button but that is the extent of my talent (and it will probably just fall back off again).

Thank God I have my mother. She made Baby Girl's cheatah costume this year. Without her I would be lost. I can not tell you how many costumes the woman has made over the years. My favorite was the neon orange and yellow sea urchin made entirely of foam. It was amazing. However, no one will ever see a picture of it. I was...10 or 11 maybe. And no one (not even the playfriends if my sister hadn't ambushed me) will see the pictures from my preteen years.


Problem Child said...

Hmm, I know I have a picture of DG as William Wallace somewhere. Pretty darn cool costume. Blue face, blood in his hair... and his kilt. Yummmm.

PM's costume this year is pretty cool too.

Insti-- your sister is cruel, just so you know. I hadn't been in the house five minutes before she was pulling out pictures.

Rhonda Nelson said...

You make an adorable Pebbles, PC!

Anonymous said...

Way cool costumes. I can sew ok, but the most excellent part is that I have a mom who rocks at sewing. Quilting, cross stitching - she has made all her kids (7), grandkids (10) great grandkids (3) and son in laws (4) Christmas stockings that have been cross stictched and lined that would have you drooling, seriously, and as long as they are taken care of will have for years to come. She can sew with the best of them, has made her own patterns and such. So if I need some serious sewing done, I'm covered - yeah!!!

Problem Child said...

Thanks Rhonda. Getting that bone to stay in my hair was the hardest part.

robertsonreads--My aunt made stockings for us too. Quilting, cross-stiching, appliques, the works. I'm totally impressed.

Oh, BTW robertsonreads, if I remember correctly, you're from the B'ham area. Are you going to be at the Readers' Luncheon this weekend? Kira, Lynn Harris, and I will be there. We'd love to meet you!

Kathy said...

Your skirt and entire ensemble was perfect, PC!!! I'm in awe of your ingenuity. :) (Cute Pebbles too)

I made all my kids costumes when they were young. Then, they decided they wanted to buy costumes. I told the DH the other day, we should give some of those costumes to our grandsons.

When I was a teenager, I made myself a Raggedy Ann costume. I still have it, although it doesn't fit anymore. I also made the DH and I matching Indian costumes once, with faux leather. Don't know where that picture is.

PM, you and your DH are gruesomely cool!!!!

verif. headenag
(proper Halloween word, I think)

Crystal Lee said...

Cool costumes, PC! So, do I get any points for the Scotch tape I'm using to hold the hem in my pants? It has become a ritual anytime I wear them now. Yes, we could call these Ritual Pants - they are black after all.