Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Sewing

Back before school started, we went shopping for clothes for the 7th grader. The feet are now man-sized and those skinny jeans purchased in December could not even be pulled up all the way. On the way out we spied a nice jacket, perfect for the soon to be cooler mornings. It had a superabundance of pockets, a zippered front. Nice; but $50. bucks___ and made of some pedestrian broadcloth. I piped up with the words that have undone dressmakers since the flood: 'I can make that!' (for you newbies).

I knew I had a piece of a fairly sturdy denim-like dobby weave in a inky navy that had been aging in the larder since the days of Natural Fiber Fabric Club. I showed it to him. "That's nice." he said. I sketched all the pockets it could have. Pockets on the shoulders? "OK!", he said. One shoulder or both shoulders? "Both". I was off. I knew not to show him the Lutterloh schematic I was using for a kid's jacket, those drawings are from the 1980's and would have probably been scorned by 12 year olds of the time.

Sewing was very straightforward. I didn't need to make any adjustments to the pattern except for the desired length, the child is basically a pole with shoulders. I may have made the sleeves a mite longer to anticipate growth. There was however, putting in six pockets, two bound buttonhole pockets, two chest pockets with flaps and two shoulder pockets with flaps. There was the trip to find a separating zipper and the specific care to be sure the flap opened up on the … which is it? right or left side?… the other side anyway.

All the while the weather did get cooler and I wanted needed to get on to a similar duty jacket for myself. I'd looked at the one I'd had, a copy of a barn jacket in a mustardy color with plum velveteen collar, and sent it off to Goodwill. I may have had it 20 years. While I sewed on those pockets, and tried to work out some topstitching scheme, I wanted to figure out what to wear that wasn't a heavy sweater or overcoat.

I finished the little jacket in time for Maker Faire, a bright, crisp morning. We were all excited to go, but when the moment came, the 7th grader refused to put the jacket on. Not only was it unsatisfactory to wear to Maker Faire, it didn't pass muster for 7th grade either. I was---- what's the word? oh yeah--  crushed.

After awhile, my head cleared and I just decided this was the inevitable moment. While he appears oblivious to "fashion" and we have been spared any yearning for expensive sneakers and label heavy vines, he does not care to be seen about in something his Mama made. The Dad was privy to the reason for the rejection however. Apparently, the color was "too dark", and the jacket had a quality… too… neat? Whatever, it seemed like something a g--l might wear. Kiss o' death. And why weren't these opinions expressed early when the Mama asked for them? He said he didn't want to break my heart.        awwwwww. 
Well, that's about right for a 7th grader as far as judging foreseeable outcomes goes, no?

So it's months later and we're actually in the store on the Black Friday after a movie. It was calm in the store we were at and we were on a mission for necessary unmentionables, which can't be put off. While waiting on line I sent the child over to check out a 50% off rack for anything he might fancy. He came back with another little jacket, pocketed to a fare-thee-well, zipper down the front, of possibly less substantial fabric than the first one, now marked down to $25. Let me say__ had it been marked at that price from the beginning I'd have bought it, because it wasn't worth a cent more than that, even allowing for a reasonable markup.  I looked at it in his hand while the boy read my mind out loud. I told him to get it if he wanted it, whereupon he put it back, came home and put on the jacket I made for him.


  1. I never saw that ending to your story coming. It sounds like he is a sensitive and caring kid. I think it is a great looking masculine jacket. But I have two boys and know how important wearing the same clothes as their friends can be at certain ages.

  2. Awwwww! That's not how I expected the story to turn out, he's a good lad.

  3. I love this!!!! So exactly accurate for 7th grade boy- he sound super sweet. Great writing- I love your style!