The Object of My Dejection — Tell us about the object of your dejection — something you made, a masterpiece unfinished, or some sort of project that failed to meet your expectations. What did you learn from the experience? How would you do things differently next time?

When I was a young mommy working full-time and raising my son, I thought I should make my own clothing. It would save a lot of money. My mom made all my clothing when I was a child. She continued throughout her life to make her own outfits and they were gorgeous and classy.

The dolls stand next to the clock is my sewing machine. Yes, it is still there.

The dolls stand next to the clock is my sewing machine. Yes, it is still there.

Now that I was grown up with a job and a toddler, she occasionally — if I begged and pleaded — made something for me. Things I wanted but couldn’t find in the store, or afford if I found them.

I waxed nostalgic about the days when Mom made my clothes. I didn’t appreciate how beautifully everything fit. How special the outfits were until I was much older. When I was a kid, I wanted was to look like everyone else. Kids are dumb that way.

I spent childhood watching my mother create things on her magic Singer Sewing Machine. Most the clothing I wore to school and all of my dress clothing was homemade.

How hard could it be? I picked up a second-hand sewing machine. Took a sewing class. Bought a few patterns. Bought fabric, zippers, buttons, threads — all those little widgets and doodads sewing requires. Thus armed, I dove in and made a few new outfits. I was delighted by how much I could make for a pittance, especially compared to buying its equivalent ready-made. People stared at my clothing. Admiration? They must be impressed. I was right.

Long pause. “You made that yourself?”

“How did you know?”

“Just a lucky guess.”

singer sewer 2

It turns out you have to set both sleeves the same way so one isn’t puffy while the other lays flat. There’s pattern matching and buttons which are supposed to line up. Zippers aren’t supposed to stick out or be bunched up. So many details. Hems? One length all around seemed to be the standard.

Those pesky collars — they never came out right. It was getting personal. Even is a big word in sewing — the noun, not the pronoun form. Both sides of a garment are supposed to be identical or so close that the differences are invisible. Unless your model is oddly shaped.

I took another sewing class. This time, I was ambitious. Tailoring. It didn’t go nearly as well as sewing had. There was padding and that stuff which stiffens fabric. I gave up, threw in my pinking shears and folded up the machine where it remains to this day.

Nowadays, I play to my strengths. I have cameras, take pretty good pictures. Write little stories. Wrote a book, maintain this blog. I leave the handicrafts to the handy. Does anyone need an older, but barely used sewing machine?

Categories: Anecdote, Computers, Daily Prompt, Humor

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

23 replies

  1. I really, really wish I could take that sewing machine off your hands. I sewed (can’t any more) and both of my daughters make clothing. Either of them would love that old machine, so much better than the ones made out of plastic they have to deal with. Maybe when my youngest daughter comes to visit her friend in Canada, she could make a flying visit to pick it up? Sadly, she won’t be anywhere close. *sigh* Lovely machine. Sorry your sewing adventures didn’t work out. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful sewing machine!


  3. Me too. I was a sewing dunce at school, always getting into trouble for unfinished work or poor work. The lectures did not exactly motivate me to learn to do it better. I would have liked to have made my own clothes to get the colours and styles that I wanted to wear but I just couldn’t do it right, even after adult ed. I think I’m too impatient as well. Knitting, well I used to do that but it takes a long time and by the time you’ve finished you have spent nearly as much if not more on materials. Now I sew and knit for my dolls who are not fussy. I have boxes of accumulated scraps and wool so it doesn’t cost much and if I don’t like it I can throw it away without guilt.


  4. Not I. I stopped sewing when my toddler climbed up and grabbed my spools of thread. I made the mistake of keeping the sewing machine around, leading my daughter to believe years later that I could make the gown she needed for an orchestra concert. I did my best, but that was the last dress I made.


  5. My mom used to stitch lovely lacy skirts and frocks for us. We sisters take pride in her sewing and knitting both. Now off course she cannot because of her aging eyesight. I was a motivated daughter, did my fashion designing and stitched good garments. Got married and entered in school campus being a teacher. My sewing machine met the same fate as yours, the other day I thought of sewing few kurtis for me. I loved your post and the picture inspired me to look for mine 🙂


  6. I too have a dusty sewing machine in the attic… it’s buried under a bag of yarn and knitting needles (for a sweater I never completed) and right beside the oil painting case (for the month when I deluded myself into thinking I could paint fruit). That’s what I love about writing. There’s no evidence when you fail… just a deleted file.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, nowadays, there aren’t even crumpled pages in the trash to tip someone off that we didn’t finish that post or book or story. I actually love that about our digital age. Unless, of course, you are being hunted by the forensics people who can access your hard drive, check your credit card records, and dump your telephone’s memory …

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I still have my old mechanical machine somewhere in the cellar, the one which started it all off. I progressed to a full electric model which I haven’t touched since the computer arrived. I had four kids at home and so was sewing non-stop to get them all clothed on the cheap. I even made myself a dark blue cashmere coat, but that was many years ago. I don’t think I could do it again or want to do it again. I can now buy jeans and tops and they come in so many sizes, so why bother. I think your path of dejection was similar to mine, but I was in a good group, now all golden oldies like me, but then we were young and lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really just wanted to be able to afford more clothing. In those days, I actually went places and needed clothing. Now, I think I could get buy with a few sweaters, tee shirts and pajamas. I probably could have mastered simple sewing if I’d been more patient, but I was always in a hurry. I used to paint, but then I found photography and it was so much FASTER (and that was back when it was all film!) than painting. No waiting for paint to dry, no cleaning up of brushes and palette knives. In this way, modern technology suits me. I go fast. It goes fast with me. Computers and I have had a love relationship since the first time I ever used one. I knew at that moment that this was going to be “my thing.” I was right 🙂


  8. Sewing… I recognise that story! All too intimately.. Knitting, pretty much the same. I know ‘how’… it just doesn’t seem to work.

    Silly thing is, I can sew costumes, robes and other odd projects without any problem…


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