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Seeds of success not sewn in this skill
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Forsyth County News

For the past few months, we have been redoing our bedroom closet. It has taken so long for several reasons.

First, we have had a busy summer with weddings and other family-related happenings. Secondly, we are doing it all ourselves.

Paul may try to interject that he is doing most of it, but my direction and suggestions also count.

Lastly, closet makeovers can be costly, so we are being creative to keep the expenses down.

The other day I was going through the enormous piles of “stuff” I removed from the closet when I came across my sewing box.

I say “my sewing box” since I bought it some 25 years ago. But in reality, it should be classified as Paul’s.

Not because of its flowery and decidedly feminine look, but because he is the only one who ever needs a needle and thread to sew on a button or for some other minor task.

My history of sewing began when I was a little girl. My mother always sewed, although she would probably tell you she was never good at it. I thought she was amazing.

I remember going to the fabric store, which back in the day was a trip in and of itself. There was not a fabric department in every store like there seems to be today. It was a destination trip and I loved to go with her.

I remember walking down the endless aisles and taking in the scent of fabric. Who knew fabric had a scent, but it does.

I loved touching the fabric and admiring all of the colors and patterns. I especially loved the “fancy” aisle with the satins, lace and sequins.

My favorite was to look through the massive books of patterns and find a sundress or other fun outfit. My mother would analyze it and determine if it was something she could sew and then it was off to pick out the fabric.

In my little girl mind, the whole process was like magic. You picked out what you wanted to wear and the fabric, and then the magician magically made it to your exact measurements.

I loved helping my mother cut out the pattern with that ridiculously fragile paper. I wonder if patterns have improved over the decades? I’m sure they must have.

With all of that description, you’re probably thinking I went on to become a great seamstress. Sadly, I didn’t get that gene.

I did learn to make a rudimentary pillow as a young girl. And I went on to produce many of them in all sorts of colors. I realized pretty quickly that none of my pillows had the professional look of the ones my mother made.

In middle school, I took home economics and while I absolutely loved the cooking half of the year, the sewing part was painful.

I tried so hard to master the art of making that darned skirt. But if my mother had not helped, I probably would have failed the sewing part of the class.

When I got married, I decided that every bride should know how to sew and that surely with my new maturity I could master the craft. I even signed up to take the beginners sewing class at the Singer store in Roswell.

The class was at night and it was a long trek for me to drive from the Ducktown community, where we lived at the time, to Roswell. Add to that my dismal ability to sew and it is easy to see why I dreaded that weekly sewing class.

Of course, it didn’t help that the instructor paid no attention to me and focused mainly on the other women, who were far from beginners.

I remember their questions about having trouble putting in zippers and working with delicate fabrics. I wanted to scream, “Putting zippers in? This is supposed to be a beginner class. That is for people who already know how to sew.”

As with home economics, I suffered through the classes. At the end of it all, I decided we cannot all be good at everything and sewing was just going to have to be on my list of “not good ats.”

As for Paul, he learned how to sew buttons on when he was in the Air Force. Over the years, he sewed on many buttons for all of us.

He once asked if I wanted to learn how, but it just seemed too humiliating. After all, what if I couldn’t master that?

After reflecting on my sad sewing history, I decided to toss out my feminine sewing box. It was pretty tattered after all.

Instead, I think I will look for a masculine sewing box and just call it a day.


Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at