My Week 264: Sew What?

I’m pretty good at a bunch of stuff. For example, I’m crafty, and I can take a piece of junk that I found at the side of the road and turn it into something pretty. In fact, this week, I was in our garden shed and saw the bottom of an antique piano stool that I had picked up in the summer time, and I made a toilet paper holder out of it, a piece of doweling, and a small finial that Ken found in his workshop. It’s the most fancy f*cking toilet paper holder that you could imagine.

I can also paint, I write a bit, and I’m a decent cook. At the present moment, I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people, and the turkey is in the oven as we speak (just as it was about to go in, the power went off. Then it came back on. Then it went off again, and I looked to the sky and said, “Don’t make me f*cking come up there!” The power is now back on). But the one thing I can’t do, the one thing I’d really like to do, is sew. Oh, I can thread a needle and attach a button to a shirt in a passable way if you don’t look too closely, but I can’t actually sew. When I was in Grade 8, while all the boys were having a fantastic time in the Industrial Arts shop, all the girls had to take cooking and sewing in the Family Studies classroom, and isn’t that the most goddamn sexist thing you’ve ever heard of? As part of our final project, the girls each had to sew something using a sewing machine. I made a vest. It was blue corduroy on the outside and blue sateen on the inside. It was horrifyingly lopsided. The worst part was that I had no idea how to use the buttonholer on the machine so it was a buttonless vest. Needless to say, I failed  Family Studies, mostly because I was incredibly pissed off about not being able to make a cool wood-and-welded metal candle holder like the boys and, having been a smartass from a very early age, may or may not have answered the questions on the final exam with joke answers:

Question: What is a dart?
My Answer: Something you throw at a dartboard.

My parents were called in to meet with the teacher. They were naturally furious at my deliberate self-sabotage, and my punishment was that I wasn’t allowed to go to the Grade 8 graduation dance. This just made me hate sewing even more; however, I forgave my parents long ago when I realized it was much better to have a story about standing up against sexism and paying the price vs. a story about a lame dance.

Over the years, I’ve never needed to sew—it’s amazing what you can do with a staple gun. But recently, I had a dilemma. I’d seen a picture in a decorating magazine that I really liked, and decided to redo our upper foyer. The problem was that the picture featured these beautiful curtain panels, and I must have gone to over 10 different stores but I couldn’t find anything REMOTELY close. So I went to the local fabric store, found the perfect fabric and bought a sh*t ton of it in the hope that I could just hang it and no one would notice that the edges weren’t hemmed. As I was paying for it though, the woman behind the counter said, “Before you sew it, make sure you—”, and I interrupted her with “Oh, I’m not sewing it. I don’t know how to sew and I don’t have a machine.” But instead of looking at me like I was an idiot, she said, “No problem—let me get you some HEM TAPE”.

HEM TAPE?! Did any of you know that this miraculous invention actually existed? That all you need to do is put it on a piece of fabric, fold the fabric over it, and iron it, and then the edges are FUSED TOGETHER?! I couldn’t believe my luck! So I brought the fabric and the hem tape home, and looked for the iron, because I haven’t used an iron in over ten years. But I found it in a cupboard, blew the dust off it, located the ironing board behind a door, and got to work. In under an hour, I had two big curtain panels, which I hung with these clip things that go over the curtain rod. Here’s what they look like:

My Family Studies teacher would be so proud.

Two quick things:

First, I completely forgot that My Week 260 was the 5th anniversary of this blog. Yep, I’ve been giving you a glimpse of my weird-ass life every week for over 5 years. Some of you have been here from the beginning, some of you are newer to the game, and one of you is no longer here (I miss you, Harry) but I want to thank each and every one of you for your support and for reading this nonsense.

Second, a box containing the author copies of my new novel The Dome arrived on my porch this week. I couldn’t be more thrilled. Apparently it’s been shipped to all the major outlets now too, so if you pre-ordered it, you should be getting it soon, and it will be on store shelves in the next couple of weeks. Here’s the synopsis if you’re interested:

“It’s the year 2135, almost four decades since the Water Wars ended. Much of the continent is a desert wasteland, and the powerful Consortium rules Adanac, one of the few habitable areas remaining, with an iron fist.

Cee and Dee, 16-year-old twins who share a special, almost psychic bond, are runaways from a Consortium workhouse. Now living as Freeworlders in the largest tent city in Trillium province, they’re determined to survive—Dee spends her days thieving with her best friend Rogan, and Cee makes a living selling his handmade woodcarvings to the Fancies, the wealthy elite. Like all Freeworlders, life is a struggle, made worse by the constant threat of The Dome, where punishments for the slightest offense are meted out by the Dome Master.

When devastating circumstances force the twins to become separated, all seems lost until the sudden appearance of a mysterious stranger who reveals some shocking truths. Rumours become reality, enemies become friends, and old foes resurface. Dee and Cee are tested to their limits as they confront the demons of their past and try to save the future, for themselves and all of Adanac.”

If you’re anywhere near the Drumbo Pub on the 9th, drop in for a drink. Happy Thanksgiving!

54 thoughts on “My Week 264: Sew What?

  1. When I was in junior high (1987-89), I remember there were a few gender crossovers in the shop/home ec. arena, so everyone here had a choice. Of course, there were more girls who opted for shop than there was boys who opted for home ec, because after all, junior high is the home to most of the bullies you’ll come across in life, and the worst thing a boy could do was take GIRL CLASSES! I took the shop classes, and made two years worth of utterly hideous wood and metal projects… some of which I still have to show off how unhandy I am. I’d have done just as bad with the home stuff… I’m just not good with my hands at anything!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it was because my dad was a toolmaker by trade and I spent a lot of time around machinery that I found it so difficult to be relegated to the kitchen. Now kids can choose, which is such a great thing!

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  2. Hem tape is a miracle, and I’m not too proud to admit I’ve hemmed a pair of pants with a stapler (it was my lunch hour, and believe it or not, my hem tape had given way—what’s a school speech pathologist to do but improvise?). Your well of talents is deep, and I’m very much looking forward to reading
    The Dome, because I know that of your considerable talents, writing is your superpower. Enjoy the party—you have earned it!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I can’t sew, and I failed industrial arts. Twice. My wife is crafty and my mother-in-law can sew anything. It’s not what you can do, I say, it’s how well you can butter up to those who can. 😉

    I’m an alpha-level ass-kisser. 😁

    I just checked and Amazon says, about my outstanding order of “The Dome”, “We need a little more time to provide you with a good estimate. Please check back again.” I added the period at the end, cuz they forgot. I ordered your book the moment you announced. I’ll read it the moment it arrives. 😊

    Incidentally, I ordered a pole saw from Amazon last week and received a note in my mailbox instead of the saw. It said “too long!” Do you suppose the mail lady loaded it in her van that morning and said, “I can do this!”? At any rate, I have to go down and pick it up now. Bless you, Amazon. You’ll never survive the Water Wars.

    Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving, my friend. Remember that the important thing today is family. Well, that’s true, but the even more important thing is that the Rams beat the Niners. I would be eternally thankful.

    I miss you, Harry. Godspeed and RIP.

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  4. Welcome to the “he-man woman can do man things and can’t sew club!” Your curtain panels look Joanna Gains fabulous! Lol. I’d heard of hem tape but have always hemmed anything by sewing it with a needle and thread. But now, I’m going to go get some because I’m tired of sitting and sewing when I can iron in a hem two minutes! That definitely is a cool toilet paper holder! I’m crafty too but I refuse to decorate the house I’m living in now because my oldest son that lives with me is, well a man and it’s impossible to have anything nice right now 😡.
    Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!! Americans have to say that because our Thanksgiving is next month, so it might seem weird but enjoy your family, turkey and your new curtain panels! You totally rock my friend!! 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s really cool that you’re so crafty. And, hey, you write a little bit too? I never would have guessed.
    It’s also surprising to me that you had to take Family Studies and couldn’t take shop. When I was in middle school we had a series of classes we all, boys and girls, rotated through: art, home ec, where we baked cookies, music, shop, and introduction to computers.
    There were girls who made better shop projects than I did and I made some pretty good cookies. If that’s not an argument for gender equity I don’t know what is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know—all the classes have been co-ed for a long time but 40 years ago in Cambridge Ontario, it was very much boys vs girls. Luckily I learned to love cooking as I got older or Thanksgiving would have been a bust😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve really found it extraordinarily easy to pay someone to do the sewing for me. I’m confident I could learn to and I’m confident I don’t want to. I did manage to make a whole slipcover set for my outdoor furniture using a glue gun though. There’s always some sort of monkey business.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hem tape is great isn’t it? I can sew, as boys used to to have learn it alongside the girls. But I don’t have a machine. But I would have to agree that if I can get away with it Hem tape is great. I hope thinksgiving dinner went well despite the power cuts.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy belated Blogerversary!
    I’ve never been able to sew, and my Mum couldn’t either. It didn’t help that all 3 of her children attended Scout groups when they were little and came back every week with new badges to be sewn onto their jumpers. There’s this amazing fabric glue you can buy in the UK called Sew Simple – it was a lifesaver for her!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I can relate to your sewing! Or lack of it:). I’m incredibly thumbing at that and all other crafty endeavors–could never have done what you did with the bathroom fixture. And glad to see your creativity is making its way to the printed page. Congratulations!

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  10. Congratulations on your multiple achievements!
    I quite like sewing with or without a machine, I’m pretty sure I own an iron, although the only time it has been used this year is to fuse plastic sheet (trying DIY repurposing). I never got the option of woodwork or tech studies, possibly due to attending an all girls secondary. At least we had pretty good science lessons.
    My husband did sewing at least one year at his school, and apparently reduced his teacher to tears by dismantling the sewing machine because it needed fixing. He’s the sort of person that would fix your broken toilet flush when attending a party; just has a lot of mechanical sympathy.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Way back in high-school me and my friend Keith were the only boys in the sewing class. In fact Keith and I took sewing all four years. It wasn’t that we liked to sew. Kind of hated it, to be honest. We were in love with Mrs. Fisher. You never did laugh at our jokes but it was worth it. Bloody fingers be damned.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Back in the early 70s when I went to school, the Shop class/Home Economics class divide was pretty pronounced. Still, in addition to making the usual Shop class artifacts I managed to take a Home Ec class oriented around cooking. My most memorable moment was baking a chocolate cake in the microwave – using a metal pan. Apart from a little arcing it wasn’t too disastrous, the principal even had a slice. For years after the only thing I’d do in a microwave was TV dinners. (No, not with aluminum trays…)

    These days I’ve finally learned to cook. Having someone else to cook for is a good incentive to learn.

    Congrats on the book. I’d promise to read it (I like SciFi), but there’s already about 20 in the queue, and blog reading gets much of my reading time anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My husband’s fave sewing accessory is the stapler. And I don’t have a sewing machine, I sew everything by hand. By ‘everything’ I mean things that need repairing as I still can’t figure out sewing patterns. Congrats on the 5 year mark on your blog, and the book!

    Liked by 1 person

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