sewing lessons

I apparently need them.

Here is a rundown of what happens when I try to sew something. Not something very complicated: a fleece diaper cover.

It is one piece. It has three pieces of elastic (back of diaper, each leg). It has two sets of snaps, one on each side.

Easy enough.

10:15 a.m.: I gather my fabric, a pair of scissors, and the pattern. I begin to pin pattern to fabric.
10:16 a.m.: I realize that this pattern will no way be big enough for Mary.
10:17 a.m.: I hold pattern up to Mary and decide that after all it is big enough.
10:18 a.m.: I pin pattern to fabric.
10:25 a.m.: (Yes, it took me seven minutes to pin the fabric. I’m incompetent.) I cut out fabric.
10:26 a.m.: I puzzle over the notion of the “right side” vs. the “wrong side” of fleece that looks exactly the same on each side.
10:29 a.m.: I say “screw it” and pick a side.
10:30 a.m.: I realize that I failed to add seam allowances where the elastic is supposed to go. I swear copiously.
10:31 a.m.: After some thought, I develop a devilishly clever solution to this problem by turning the cover into a two-layer cover.
10:32 a.m.: I pin pattern to fabric again.
10:33 a.m.: I cut out fabric again, this time with seam allowances.
10:34 a.m.: I run out of thread.
10:37 a.m.: I load Mary into car to go to the store.
10:50 a.m.: I buy thread.
11:14 a.m.: Famished, I eat snack and feed the baby.
11:22 a.m.: I thread sewing machine.
11:23 a.m.: I realize that I have neglected to change bobbin thread and my stitching looks stupid on one side.
11:24 a.m.: I unthread machine, wind bobbin, reload bobbin, rethread machine.
11:25 a.m.: I discover that I have incorrectly threaded machine and that the bobbin thread has tangled into an irreparable birds’-nest of gnarled stitched on the underside of my perfectly matched layers. I swear copiously.
11:26 a.m.: I check my e-mail and practice deep-breathing exercises.
11:30 a.m.: I get seam ripper and tear out birds’-nest. I rematch my pieces.
11:35 a.m.: I produce a seam. I resist the urge to dance about triumphantly (as this would only slow things down further).
11:45 a.m.: I finish sewing together the layers.
11:46 a.m.: I sew the elastic allowances into casings.
11:47 a.m.: I discover that I do not own a safety pin or other likely implement for drawing the elastic through the casings. I eventually manage to draw the elastic through using a tapestry needle and tying the thread to the elastic. I poke my finger and swear copiously.
11:50 a.m.: I sew down one end of the elastic. I realize that I have not measured it. I tighten it until it looks good enough, then sew down other end.
11:52 a.m.: I read the pattern and see that it specifies that you should do the back elastic first to make sure it’s even. I say “screw it” and do the other leg elastic instead.
11:55 a.m.: I realize that the back elastic is impossible to get even. I decide that it doesn’t matter because this is going under pants, after all, and no one will be scrutinizing Mary’s elastic.
12:01 p.m.: I finish the elastic. Read pattern instructions. “Turn and topstitch edges,” it says. I go upstairs to find my “Introduction to Sewing” book to find out what this means.
12:05 p.m.: I discover that turning and topstitching looks annoying. Also that it might have been easier if I had done it before sewing in the elastic, when the cover could still be made to lie flat.
12:06 p.m.: I get a thread jam because I forgot to pull out the bobbin thread.
12:07 p.m.: Thread jam fixed, I continue to turn and topstitch. My stitching meanders from left to right, staying barely on the turned seam, but it’s close enough.
12:10 p.m.: I sew on a snap.
12:13 p.m.: I sew on the last snap and discover that I have sewn on the two top-side snaps upside-down (so that they don’t snap in). I swear copiously. (They LOOKED like they went that way.)
12:15 p.m.: I sew on the last snap again.
12:17 p.m.: I try the cover on Mary. It fits. She sneezes on it.

Two hours! The pattern says–and I quote–“Suitable for beginners, this pattern goes together in 20 minutes and can be worn during the day or at night.” Obviously those bastards never met a beginner.


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