Monday, March 21, 2011

"Get Comfy with Your Sewing Machine"

Tonight was the last class of my 3 wk session of "Get Comfy with Your Sewing Machine."  The class was a small group, which is a good thing because I'm able to spend more time with each participant.  Some nights I'm too tired to get to the class, but everytime I arrive, I'm so motivated and excited to be there.  And tonight was no exception.  Especially when one of the women wrote a peice in the paper about the class.  It really put a smile on my heart.  And it stories like hers that makes my work so exciting. 

I thank God for the talent that he has given me and the ability to share it with others.

Enjoy the story and have a good night.

Family threads

It was a beginner level class, but I worried whether the teacherwould be ready for my level of beginner.
I might need remedial help, I thought to myself walking into theschool with my sewing machine.
Then I saw a fellow night class student carrying a sewing machinestuffed inside a black garbage bag, and I knew I'd be fine.
Though I wasn't sure how to turn my machine on, it at least camewith a nice plastic cover.
I hadn't sat behind a sewing machine since my 8th grade homeeconomics class. If only I had paid more attention then and appliedmyself to making that 3-inch pin cushion, my life could be sodifferent.
I might have become a great seamstress. A New York City fashiondesigner. Or, at the very least, someone who would never want for3-inch pin cushions.
But alas, I was too consumed with my crush on nameless boy and onfiguring out how many shades of eyeshadow I could fit on my lids.As a result, I didn't earn my "E" for effort in sewing.
Fast forward a couple decades and I'm back at a middle school deskwith a sewing machine ready to do it all again, but this time Iactually wanted to learn something. (And, I don't wear eyeshadowanymore, so that's one less distraction.)
I was joined in my continuing education class, "Getting Comfy withYour Sewing Machine," with a half dozen other young women, who bythe looks of them didn't pay attention in home economics classeither.
"Um, I don't have one of those little round things," said oneclassmate, sitting behind an old Singer.
"It's called a bobbin," said our instructor.
We came to the class lugging machines once belonging to mothers andgrandmothers. The machines were handed down to the next generation;the skills to use them, however, were not.
After some instruction, I got to work threading my machine withlime green thread, the color that was on it when I inheritedit.
I pulled out my mother's sewing kit to look for a pair of scissors.The plastic case was packed, largely with stuff that had absolutelynothing to do with sewing: a bundle of eyeglass nose pads, a GirlScout cookie badge from 1983, a finger puppet of a little bald manwho looked like my father - a strange time capsule, for sure, andone without a pair of scissors.
The 20-something girl across from me was having bobbin trouble. Shecalled her mom on the phone. As I listened to them chat, I felt atwinge of jealously wishing I could phone my own mother and ask herabout her sewing machine with the lime green thread. But my mom hasbeen gone for two years now. After I thought about it, I was notreally sure how much hearing her say, "I don't know how to get thedamn thing working!" would really be all that helpful or inspiring.Nothing could get my mother in a sour mood quicker than placing herbehind a sewing machine.
By taking the sewing class, I figured I'd naturally follow the samepath. A few minutes with the machine and I'd be cursing at thething just like she used to - what a beautiful connection.
But something amazing happened during that class. Everythingactually went right.
I loaded my bobbin. Threaded my machine. Adjusted tension. Chosethe stitch setting. Then, I took a piece of cloth and gently, everso gently, pushed down on the floor pedal.
My heart beat fast with excitement. I was actually doing it! Istitched and turned, stitched and turned. Ziz-Ziz-Ziz-Ziz. After afew minutes, I had created a design that looked like Pangaea.
It was liberating.
Today the world on a piece of muslin. Tomorrow ... a cocktaildress!
By the end of the two-hour class, I felt like a domestic goddess. Icouldn't wait to get home. I had a date with a pair of plaid pajamapants sporting a hole in the rear.
After that, I might even get around to finishing that pincushion.
Martha Petteys writes a weekly column for The Post-Star. Writeto her at

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