I am not a crafty person. I can’t wrap packages, sew my own clothes or turn a dishcloth into a tote bag or anything Martha Stewart-y like that.
If this were “Little House on the Prairie,” I’d be dead. Or, at the very least, pantsless.
Normally, I’m OK with that. Pants are overrated (see previous column about the empowerment of women), and Martha Stewart is a convicted criminal. Big whoop — she can make a set of curtains, arrange flowers AND cook a five-course meal at the same time. At least I’ve never been fitted for an ankle monitor. Put that in your red-enameled, cast-iron pot and stew it, Stewart.
But here’s my dirty little secret: I WANT to be Martha Stewart (minus the jail thing, obviously. I would NOT do well in jail). I want to be able to sew my own throw pillows or my kids’ Halloween costumes. (OK, I’d be fine with just the throw pillows. My hypothetical kids can fend for themselves.)
To that end, I purchased a sewing machine and am ready to stitch my way to domestic bliss.
Except, oh wait: I don’t know anything about sewing. And every time I pull that Singer out I’m gripped with the crippling fear that I’m accidentally going to impale myself on that needle of death.
Winding the bobbin? Sounds like the British version of “You’re pulling my leg” — is my Singer laughing at me? Iron my fabric before sewing it? Seriously? I don’t even iron my clothes, and those go on my body, not on a curtain rod in the guest bedroom.
I’m in a little over my head. That’s why this weekend I made the responsible decision to ease myself into the sewing game by starting with an allegedly simple project: a Roman shade.
According to a book on sewing my mother gave me from about 1982 — judging by the shoulder pads on the pattern for the ugliest, puffiest dress I’ve ever seen — Roman shades aren’t supposed to be that difficult. Sew a few pieces of fabric together, add a few wood dowels where you want your shade to fold as you pull it up, run some nylon cord and attach the whole shebang to the window using a piece of wood and voila: instant window appeal made by me.
So I toddled off to Lowe’s with Seth in tow to get the wood for my curtain weights. I made Seth come mostly because I was too embarrassed to ask the guys in the lumber department to cut my dowels down to curtain size. That’s not really a Lowe’s kind of project, you know what I mean?
But somewhere between the birch and the oak, I had a complete meltdown. Am I really supposed to get my curtain supplies at Lowe’s? Why am I doing this? Why don’t I just BUY curtains like every other American? Isn’t that what Bed, Bath and Beyond is for? And OMG, I’m totally going to stick that sewing needle through my finger. I should just quit while I’m ahead, and while all of my fingers are in one piece.
It wasn’t pretty. Never before has the lumber department been witness to such emotional distress, and I’m willing to bet there are aren’t that many people who have cried in the arms of a Lowe’s employee who got more than she bargained for when she asked if there was anything she could help me with.
But luckily, Seth found a guy to cut my wood for me, and that helpful (and hopefully not scarred for life) Lowe’s employee gave me a tissue and patted me on the back and told me everything was going to be all right. And, most importantly, Seth told me he’d have 911 on speed dial, just in case I get that needle stuck in my finger.
So curtains, prepare to meet your maker — and let’s all hope this project doesn’t send me to meet mine.