Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How to flunk Home Ec

Some classes I took in high school: Algebra. Trigonometry. Calculus. Chemistry. Biology.

Some classes I didn't take in high school, or ever: Typing. Home Economics.

Ironic that now I have a blog that requires a great deal of typing about topics that were probably covered quite thoroughly in Home Economics.

Like Basic Sewing.

Here's a little coaster from the set I'm making, exactly like the ones I made before. Well. They aren't exactly like the ones before. I'm using different fabrics. Oh. And these seem to have some problems.

At a glance, you might think the problem you have here is the bottom little opening. No, no silly. That's just as it should be. That is the part that gets sewn up after you turn the whole thing right-side out. That is not your problem. In fact, it's the least of your worries.

Here's your problem:

This side view clearly captures the defining feature of Basic Sewing Deficiency Syndrome (BSDS) -- an inability to sew a seam allowance. Sewing too close to the edge makes the whole thing come apart. Basic. Idea. In. Sewing.

If you are kind, which I think you are, you might be willing to let me slide on this one. It's a tiny little hole. Sew it closed. No big deal. Okay. Swell.

So, how about this one?

Same thing with the bottom opening -- disregard. Everything else seems fine.

But, please look closely here:

Oh, wait! No looking closely needed! The WHOLE SIDE is very obviously split open! Full-blown BSDS-style.

I could take this opportunity to open a discussion about the political implications of having taken classes that were intended to pave the way for "higher" education (the calculus, the trig) which required the simultaneous marginalization of skills that were emblematic of "women's work" (the typing, the home economics). I could discuss the ways in which the current online community of women re-claiming women's skills has generated an incredible movement that is all at once inspiring and connecting to history and to culture. I could talk about how great it is to be a self-employed professional who uses her brain in complicated ways that include critical thinking, theoretical exploration of experience, while also writing/typing, sewing, knitting and making art.

Instead, I'd just like to say... Can you fucking believe I can't even sew a seam allowance?


tiennie said...

Sometimes I think I'm all that and then I make a boner mistake too.

I never took Home Ec either and scarily as a Registered Nurse, I've never ever taken a basic biology class in high school or college!

Jaimie said...

Turn it back out ward. Give it a 1/4 inch seam allowence.(You'll have to trim up the inner layer of batting/fleece) To keep the small SA from pulling the stiches out, try using a fusable web inbetween the layers of the SA. It sticks the fibers together, adding stibility!

Matthew said...

I find that leaving the seam unsewn on a coaster enables my guests to pull out tufts of stuffing as an appetizer with their drink. What's the problem?

Dr. B. said...

Oh, you are all too kind! Just as I'd hoped.

I shall take comfort knowing Tiennie has also made boner mistakes, re-do some of the coasters with Jaimie's suggestions in mind, and if all else fails, I'm sending everyone to Matthew so he can show them the proper way to enjoy their "stuffing tufts" appetizers.

The Calico Cat said...

Tee Hee, but it's not "sew" funny, huh? (The basic story sounds familiar) However, I am getting better with the seam allowances...

Do you pin? (Don't say you don't need to pin, we have seen evidence to the contrary, ahem.)

Have you tried to "draw" the seam allowance? Some piecers do better sewing on a line...

Kim U said...

If it makes you feel any better, I did take home ec in high school (everyone had to to, even the boys) and I'm fairly certain that not a single thing from the class has stuck with me. At least judging from my sewing skills :) I actually remember a lot more from the shop class that I took (everyone had to, even the girls) where I learned how to make bakelite coasters and how to wire light switches.

alib said...

I love those coasters...where can i get me some of those??? or are those mine??? ;-) (btw, I don't care if the seam is split, Matthew is often a guest at my house and clearly enjoys the tufts of stuffing!)

but on another note, when do I get to read about "the ways in which the current online community of women re-claiming women's skills has generated an incredible movement that is all at once inspiring and connecting to history and to culture." Sign me up for some of that!!!

Dr. B. said...

Kim U - Your high school sounds great! Taking shop would've been so useful.

Ali B. - Why yes. Those are, indeed, your coasters-in-progress. And I'll see what I can do about your request for a post about the awesome crafting women online. You rock.