For The Promptless – DIY: So, you made that yourself?


This will have to be a quickie since I have to finish my coffee — which I didn’t make myself, it being a task my kind husband has taken over — and get to a doctor by 9 am and it’s already 7:30. I really should stop reading until 3 in the morning. It’s ruining my early morning cheery face.

Back when the world and  I were young, I thought I should make my own clothing. My mother had made all my clothing when I was a child. She continued to make almost all her own stuff. Now that I was an adult with a full-time job and a toddler, she would occasionally — if I begged and pleaded — make something for me. Things I wanted but couldn’t find in the store, or afford even if I found them.

I yearned to go back to the days when she made my clothing. I hadn’t begun to appreciate the gorgeous outfits she created, how beautifully they fitted and how special they were. Then all I had wanted was to look like everyone else. Kids are dumb that way. I was as dumb as everyone. Maybe dumber.

sewing susan

I figured “how hard can it be?” I got a second-hand sewing machine, bought a few patterns, even took a class in sewing. Acquired some fabric, zippers, buttons, threads and all the little widgety doodads that sewing requires — there were a lot more than I imagined possible — and made myself some spiffy new outfits. I was thrilled at how much clothing I could make for a pittance … especially compared to buying it at Macy’s.

People stared at my clothing. Admiration, I thought. They must be impressed. I was right.

Long pause. “You made that yourself, did you?”

“How did you know?”

“Just a lucky guess.”

It turns out that you have to set both sleeves the same way so one isn’t puffy while the other flat. Then there’s pattern matching. Oh, and buttons. They are supposed to line up. Zippers are not supposed to stick out and be all bunchy and also, they are supposed to close so that both parts of the closure are level when zipped. Details, details. And about those hems? One length all around. And those pesky collars. I hated collars. Even is the word in making clothing. Both sides should be pretty much the same, unless you are oddly shaped or are making a costume for a party and want to look weird.

I took a second course in tailoring, but that didn’t go nearly as well as sewing had. You had to use padding and stuff that makes fabric stiffer to hold its shape and I was never patient enough to get it right.

I quietly gave up making my own clothing and returned to holding my little plastic card and yelling “CHARGE!” as I went into the mall. The sewing machine grew dusty. It is still gathering dust in my dining room lo these many long years later. It’s all closed now. But not wasted. It’s a lovely spare table on which to display dolls. I collect dolls. And no, I do not make their clothing.

I do many things myself. I get up and out of bed by myself. Every day, nearly, except once in a while when I need a little help. I wash dishes. I write, edit, take pictures, process photos. I pass out treats to dogs, lend money to my granddaughter. Manage the family’s so-to-speak finances.

singer sewer 2

Take more pictures. Water plants. Maintain this blog.

That’s pretty good, isn’t it? All by myself I mean?

Oh, and I fix the computers, install software and if you need anyone to explain how to use it? I’m your gal. Does anyone need an older, but barely used sewing machine?

Categories: Computers, Home, Humor, Marriage, Personal, Shopping

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

17 replies

  1. I love to sew. I don’t indulge very often because I need so little these days. My Mom sewed, I sewed. There is a saying among sewers that goes something like, “The one that dies with the most material wins.” That’s wrong but …!
    My senior year my Dad bought me as much material I wanted instead of cloths. I could make a new two-piece swim suit in an hour or two. Zippers easy, button holes ok but hated taking the time to sew on buttons. Yes I miss sewing.
    My sons still cherish their super hero pillow cases. Funny.
    Hope your appointments go well today.


    • I’m sure my mother was baffled how she got a daughter that couldn’t sew, knit, crochet or make pottery. Or hook rugs. Or ice skate, play ice hocky or tennis. She loved me, but my lack of skill left her wondering what happened to the gene pool 🙂 I can, however, draw and paint. And take pictures, write, edit and some system analysis. Just different skill sets.

      On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 10:48 PM, SERENDIPITY


  2. Thank you so much for the shout out! I still shy away from sewing my own clothes for fear of the same reactions you got. For now I stick to home decor and accessories because those are so much easier to pass off as storebought but are still good practice. Maybe someday I’ll be able to hear “You made that dress yourself?” intended as a compliment!


    • I think I never really had the patience to do it right. I was always in a hurry … and that didn’t work out well. And I did enjoy sewing, so I wasn’t motivated enough. Good luck! I can’t even remember how to thread the needle on the machine anymore. It’s been that long!


  3. Thank you for linking to my blog:)
    This was a sweet little post, it made me think if my grandmother, who sewed, and my own mother, who did not. I guess it skips generations? Haha I’m sure when my daughter gets older she will be embarrassed by the clothes I want to make her (I hope not though) and want to wear just what everyone else is wearing. It is the curse of childhood, always wanting to fit in! So I better enjoy it now! Everyone certainly has their own talents. You found a husband that makes your coffee in the morning lol! And I am wretched at computer software:)


    • Yes, it is indeed the curse of kids round the world that they want to be inconspicuous, or at least most of them do. My mother was fabulous with her hands. I think she could do anything. I suspect she always wondered how she wound up with such an inept daughter.


  4. I can’t figure out why Sewing Susan, or indeed anyone, would need 70 needles. Pins, OK, but surely you only use one needle at a time? Or am I showing my ignorance?
    I was pretty good at sewing at school. I could thread the sewing machine and everything.
    I made a draft excluder. It was going to be a sausage dog, but I ran out of time to do the legs so quick as a flash I sewed a red zig-zag down the back, stuck a forked bit of material in the mouth and called it a snake. With ears.


    • I am the wrong one to ask. I don’t even remember how to turn the machine on and I don’t actually know if it works anymore. It’s been sitting closed up for a very long time and isn’t likely to be reopened anytime soon 🙂



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