I feel like someone took a file to my thumbs, which is I guess what it feels like to have jammed twenty grommets into holes in fabric that are necessarily smaller than they are. After my third sewing marathon this week – it’s like a 5K, only you don’t actually go anywhere, you just totally kill on a presser foot – I still haven’t finished the costume whose pieces I cut out months ago. I don’t actually enjoy sewing, I just like to say that I’ve sewn things and to wear them, and if I haven’t shed tears or blood or both it’s possible I’ve been kidnapped by body snatchers and am actually a shear-toting, zipper-setting pod-person. Friends take projects away from me when I start to look murderous, and pin boxes are carefully and discreetly closed. They help me to finish the things I start, though, which is undeserved but nice.
I learned how to sew and forgot and learned how again in a years-long fit of recovering lost domestic arts, and outfitting on a budget the fictional characters I sometimes like to play on weekends. When I was in junior high we had to take home economics and shop – which I’m sure had a real name, but I can’t remember now what it was. I hated both classes, though my partner and I in home economics were lauded for our clean, dry sinks after making pizza crackers and biscuits and whatever the hell else only took forty minutes to prep, cook, and clean up. The half of the term that we didn’t spend cooking we spent sewing, making gym bags and pillows. I’m sure there’s still a lumpy square, emblazoned with a glittery silver cat and my name in puffy paint, shoved in a box in my basement. I suppose I felt the same way about that pillow that I do now about the skirts and bodices and dresses I’ve wrestled from my Singer: they sure are bitchin’, but they sure were a bitch.