The Mothers in My Books Are Expert Seamstresses

September 20, 2008 @ 4:04 pm | Filed under:

Me? Not so much.

I’ve just finished making my second-ever set of curtains. I thought they’d be easier than the first set because the first ones were lined and these weren’t. And, I mean, curtains. Four straight seams. Not rocket science.

Also: the fabric I picked is checked. Checked! As in: the pattern is basically a grid of straight lines in pretty colors. Right? That’s what checks are: a grid. So for all my cutting and ironing and sewing, I had built-in straight lines to follow. Foolproof, right?

Not proof against this fool, apparently. Even Scott had to admit my level of incompetence is pretty impressive, when he saw the evidence hanging right there, unevenly, in the window. He witnessed how carefully I measured and re-measured before each cut, each round of pressing, each seam. He watched in amusement at my overzealous triple- and quadruple-checking. He saw me ever so carefully compare the finished first panel to the almost-finished second one before sewing the final seam, a bottom hem: how hard I worked to make sure they would be the same length when hung.

They aren’t. Scott actually burst out laughing when he saw the final product, because it really is comical that a reasonably intelligent person like his wife could spend two entire Saturdays on a project, applying an almost insane degree of attention to detail, and wind up with one curtain a good three-quarters of an inch shorter than the other.

Oh, and there’s a nice little splotch of blood on one of the panels, too, from where I ran a pin into my thumb. The blood got on the back side of the curtain so we figured it wouldn’t show, but it turns out that when the sun shines through, there’s a gruesome little silhouette. I should really be washing that out right now instead of writing about it.

Although, come to think of it, maybe I should stick to writing about women who can sew instead of trying to be one myself. 🙂

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15 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. feebee says:

    Well you made me laugh too.

    I spun by because my 7yo is rereading Boston Bay and I thought of you – and expert seamstresses…

    Hang in there!

    (ha! ha! *snort* hang! get it? oh, man I slay me…)

  2. KC says:

    LOL! Pictures, we need pictures!

  3. annie says:

    i just found your blog/site through google reader and thoroughly enjoy it!!

    i am not an expert seamstress, but i can sew most things with passable skill. however, for as many toys and dresses and bags and diapers i can sew, curtains are my bane. it’s exactly as you say: double and quadruple check measurements, mark everything as precisely as possible, and still the hems are uneven and one is longer than the other. chin up! you aren’t the only one! 🙂

  4. Kristine says:

    That was hilarious! I am a self-taught sewer. Always too scared as a child to go near my mother’s machine that sounded as if it might eat me.

    Now, I can make a quilt, and a skirt for my daughter, and blankets, and such. But I too agonize over every little part. It is never easy to make things line up correctly, but a checkered pattern would make it oh so much harder!! Not easier.

  5. Christie says:

    Blame the equipment I say!
    Get yourself a fancy new machine that will sew straight for you, a rotary cutter and mat, some nice chalk pencils, new pins (the old ones obviously have to go), and scissors (never can have too many pairs of fabric scissors – I’m always dulling mine on paper when I can’t find the other kind) and you’ll be all set.

    On second thought, if you’re already getting blood on the fabric, you probably shouldn’t get a rotary cutter.

    Better luck next time.

  6. JoAnna Parente says:

    LOL, you KNOW we want pictures of this, my dear! 🙂

    I’ve had a few projects like that, too.


  7. Kristen Laurence says:

    Oh my. You attempted checks on a curtain? You’re so brave. I too learned the hard way, but on a little dress. Checks and plaids are impossible! But yes, let’s see some pictures!

  8. Sheri says:

    I must say that you made me giggle. I love to say and yet stay away from curtains and tablecloths as if they were the plague.

  9. Sheri says:

    I must say that you made me giggle. I love to sew and yet stay away from curtains and tablecloths as if they were the plague.

  10. Activities Coordinator says:

    So, basically what you’re telling me is, my curtains are supposed to be the same length?

    Hmm…Are you sure about that? 🙂

  11. GailV says:

    I hate sewing curtains! They show every squiggly little mistake.

    On the other hand, I’m quite willing to try to make Irish Dance dresses for my daughters, so I consider myself a reasonably okay seamstress.

  12. Karen Edmisten says:

    Now’s the time to jiggle the curtain rod hardware, pulling one side down just ever so slightly (sure, bend that baby) to make up for the uneven curtain length. Take it from an expert in covering up such mistakes. 🙂

  13. Katya says:

    ROFL! Checks are actually harder to sew than you would think… I would NOT recommend them to a beginner… Avoid checks and plaids!!
    The first curtains my mom sewed were florals. She sewed one of them upside down. It STILL hangs in the guest room at her home! I giggle every time I look at it… she was SO busy trying to make them the same length that she paid no attention to the pattern.

  14. Beck says:

    I can’t sew at all. I’ve decided that it’s a Loveable Personality Quirk and not a Dire Personal Failing, although I do tend to get a bit wistful when I see things that other people have sewn….