I’ve been trying to teach myself how to sew for a few months now. This desire to operate a sewing machine didn’t stem from any designer aspirations as much as it did from the frustration of having busted seams on the sleeves of once favourite tops and altering tight/loose clothes into better fitting ones as opposed to giving them away to smaller/larger friends and relatives.
I can now hem neatly, and a lot of my older clothes are more wearable now thanks to my alterations.
A week ago, I got started on my most ambitious project yet, to stitch a basic saree blouse. I’d taken the measurements from a blouse I had already owned and things were going swimmingly until I had to measure out the sleeves. I ironed my alavu blouse’s sleeve to get the perfect measurement and lo – the iron box had left a large gaping hole in the silk sleeve because I hadn’t the basic sense to reduce the temperature on the iron while switching fabrics from cotton to silk.
It took my eyes a good two minutes to adjust to the horror which was this crooked hole marring my otherwise beautiful, floral printed silk blouse. I thought about crying, almost did and nearly gave my new hobby up altogether. Then, in what felt like a Tim Gunn inspired trance, I removed the sleeves completely, and carefully hemmed the edges, making the half sleeve blouse, a sleeveless one. The final, altered product looked as good as the original, if not better, and I don’t think any project that I had undertaken thus far in my life had given me the amount of satisfaction that this sleeve operation did. In my obvious excitement, I texted my sister photos of the blouse with the hole, and what it looked like when it was fixed.
It feels brilliant to know how to sew, I told her. Isn’t it the most useful thing in the world? I can teach you, you know. Basic hems and stitches to fix holes and stuff in case something like this happens to you too.
Oh that won’t be necessary, she told me silkily. I know how to use an iron.