SEWING: Just the Basics


I’ve had a number of people confess to me (because I think I’m just a person people confess things to…) that they don’t know how to sew on a button. Or, that they do, because who doesn’t know how to sew on a button? Pfffftt – of course they know how to sew on a button… it’s just that the button doesn’t stay where they sewed it. Sometimes they’ll mutter a bit about (GASP!) throwing a shirt away when it gets a tear in it. Or they’ll hint at the pair of pants that’s in their closet that has the hem ripped out of one leg, eyeballing me, “Hey, you sew, right…?” But when they process the look on my overly-expressive face, the conversation will switch to the weather, or how mass transit sucks in San Diego.

Not knowing how to mend clothing or do basic sewing isn’t a real logistical problem. There are SO MANY people willing to take your money to do simple repairs. Moreover, clothing is so relatively inexpensive in this country, it’s essentially disposable. If a button falls off that Forever21 top (I don’t judge [much], I love me some Forever21), and I’m nowhere nearby to witness it, does it really matter if you shove it deep into the trash so you don’t have to look at it hanging useless in your closet anymore?

Nope. I did a whole Master’s thesis on why throwing away clothing could be perceived as a mortal sin, but I’ll spare you the existential crisis-making. Instead, consider the following:

  1. $8 spent to hem a pair of pants at the corner dry cleaner would taste way better in a frosty glass with friends at happy hour. And, let’s just be honest. You are going to happy hour with your friends, not to the dry cleaners to get something mended. I know you. You and your pants are both getting trashed. Alcoholic.
  2. Decent design and workmanship are so rare in our crap retail clothing culture that if you find something that fits or is well-made, you’ve either made a significant investment or had the sartorial gods smiling down on you. Either way, quality garments are unicorns that need to be preserved.
  3. People who know how to make/mend/do things are just cooler and more attractive than everyone else sitting around wasting flesh and oxygen.
  4. As if being a hot mender weren’t enough, knowing even a little bit about how unicorns are made makes it more likely to spot them in the wild. Are you following me here… too much with the analogies?
  5. Learning to sew on a button could very well serve as the gateway to learning how to sew a Fig._30._Button-holes_in_dress-materialsbuttonhole… then, how to insert a zipper… how to make pants… how to make pants WITHOUT a pattern. Dabbling in basic sewing could be the start of a whole new passion.
  6. Passionate people are definitely more attractive than the rest of the paperweight population.
  7. Sewing is a foundational skill that can be used in a ton of applications – think: upholstery, leather tooling, bead work, taxidermy… again, sewing is the gateway drug and you know you want to try it.

Anyway, what I’m really driving at is that I want YOU to join me at our latest workshop:

SEWING: Just the Basics
Sunday, February 22
Arts: Lost & Found Studio

We’ll talk about how to fix clothes that done broke, what to do about missing buttons, how to tell when a garment is unfixable or when you should just relegate it to the rag bag and go have a drink, and what fiber content on a garment label means. Then we’ll take a quick spin around your very own sewing machine that’s been gathering dust and taunting you from the corner underneath that stack of mending you’ve been meaning to take to the dry cleaners – how to thread it, what the hell to do with it once it’s threaded, and how to maintain it. And maybe we’ll have a glass of wine or a beer and make a nice lazy Sunday afternoon of it. I’d love to see you there, and I’d love to turn you into a hot mender. Join me!

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