Thursday, 2 March 2017

Thursday, or Thereabouts - March 2, 2017

A time to sew…

This takes every morsel of my concentration and determination, every ounce of my courage and fortitude. When it comes to that branch of the domestic arts and sciences that has to do with fashion, fabric, needles and thread, I have little more than rudimentary skills and even less desire.

I was a straight A's academic smarty pants in school. Physical Education, Art and Home Economics were an entirely different story. I couldn't jump, run, skip like the other kids. I couldn't paint, draw or create pretty things out of paper. I couldn't knit, sew or serve perfectly toasted white bread with just a smattering of butter and dash of cinnamon.

My first and only knitting project, a pair of slippers meant for an adult foot, looked like they would fit an eight-year-old. A problem with the tension you think?

Auntie Elaine with my daughter on her wedding day, 2015
(probably not sewing advice)

The skirt I was required to make in grade 8, was only saved from complete disaster by my Auntie Elaine. She did her very best but my unique skills were impossible to transcend. It was a memory maker not only for me but for the teacher, Mrs. Graham who upon meeting me six years later remarked, "Oh April - that skirt!" She then struggled to contain laughter. She failed.

It may come as a surprise then, that I do have a sewing machine. It's a 25+ year-old Kenmore that was bought when money was scarce and little ones needed flannelette blankets, clothing repairs, and pants shortened, and rooms needed rod-pocket curtains. If it’s a straight line with a straight stitch I can usually accomplish it.

First, though I have to devote a minimum of 30 minutes to making friends with the machine again, figuring out how to load a bobbin and place it in the bobbin case, preparing the needle and top thread, then picking up the bobbin thread. Phew! And my palms begin to sweat just hoisting the machine out of the closet.

After putting off the task as long as possible the day comes when I must tackle the sewing job and today is the day. Actually, yesterday was the day, but the thread I pulled from my late mother-in-law’s sewing box was so old – I think it was one she brought here when she came to Canada in 1953 – that once set up in the machine it broke every few centimetres of stitching. So off I went to the shops to buy new thread.

Now I’m ready, again. The pant legs are pressed and hems pinned, the bobbin is in place and I’ve managed to thread the top needle – only swearing twice, okay maybe three times – and now the top and bottom threads stretch out behind the gleaming needle. My clammy hands flutter over the stretchy fabric while my right foot hovers over the presser foot…

Shhhhhh…April is sewing.

What? You want pictures?! Oh, I think not! Well, not about sewing anyway.
How about a few of the places I'd rather be than sitting in front of a sewing machine...

I'd rather be...

enjoying breakfast in Cordoba, Spain

slurping oysters in Dunedin, New Zealand

(no explanation needed)
buying figs in Crawford Market, Mumbai
cycling along the Appian Way in Italy
sitting at a cafe in Mykonos

And I did get the sewing job done - the hems are straight and even, but the stitching not so much... Honestly, who is going to notice??

©2017 April Hoeller


  1. Lol! Thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog after a long time... I too was a disaster at 'needlework' in school ... I have memories of frantically learning to 'knit' one day before an exam... but I forgot to learn how to finish so my sample at the test was just pulled off the knitting needle and submitted!!! Needless to say I scraped through the test with a lot of grace marks from the teacher who didn't really want me back in her class again.
    I have gotten a tad better over the years and done some sewing when the children were little ... and learnt to enjoy doing cross stitch embroidery for a bit. As it happens, I have just tried to relearn crochet and have managed a single granny square so far!
    Loved the photos .... ��

  2. You are a brave woman! I would forgo a meal or two to save enough money to pay someone else to sew. I can do hand sewing and darning for emergencies but a sewing machine??,,,,,aaaaaawwwwwwwkkkkk! NO!

  3. Hi April. Your post made me grin and smile. I'd love to see that skirt, perhaps a photo or maybe you can describe it in your eloquent style:)
    And those pics of your happiness...bliss!
    Thank you. xx