A Failure Story

My sewing machine and I have an abusive relationship.  When it's good...oh, is it good!  But when it's bad, she makes me cry.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Last week, I realized that it's getting to be time to consider the Kid's summer wardrobe.  When it comes to little boy's clothes, I tend to have Mini-Boden taste and a Target budget.  Every so often I splurge and fork over my thirty bucks for one t-shirt, but even as a treat it feels wrong because a) I have seen my child actively try to paint his clothes with macaroni and cheese, and b) we still have student loans.  

(Can't you see the conversation?  Picture me in a nursing home somewhere, begging the Kid to pay my rent so they don't kick me out.  The Kid, "Mom, why didn't you save some money for retirement?"  Me, "Well, we wanted to, but I thought it was more important that we send you to preschool in cute clothes.")

So, behaving responsibly, I dutifully set off to Target to find some t-shirts that weren't hideous.  I found one.  Seriously.

I'd be ok with corny pictures, but why-oh-why do they have to put stupid sayings on little boys' shirts?  The girls section has stripes and prints.  Why do the boys clothes have to be obnoxious?

"You know what?" I told Sweet Husband later, "I'm going to make him some t-shirts.  I'll cut up some of our old shirts for the fabric.  They'll be practically free, and they'll be cute."

He dutifully donated some of his old shirts to the cause, and even helped me cut out a few pieces of the pattern.  After we got enough parts cut for four shirts, he offered to put the Kid to bed so that I could sew.

The first shirt was a little wonky from the get-go, I'll admit.  But it was passable, until I sewed on the collar.  It had been kind of a long day anyway, and when I saw that collar--how it puckered and bunched in a way that I knew I'd never let the Kid wear out of the house--I felt tears start to prickle in the corners of my eyes.  If I had been able to tell where I made the mistake, that would have been one thing.  But I'd done what the pattern said, and I couldn't figure out where I'd gone wrong.

By then it was getting late.  I was too exasperated to continue piecing together wonky t-shirts, but I wanted to have something to show for my sewing in the morning.  So I decided to make a simple pair of shorts.  This is where the abusive sewing machine comes in.

I've made the Kid several pairs of pants, so I figured shorts would be an easy, feel-good win.  Until I ruined the first pair by sewing the inseam wrong and tearing the fabric as I went to rip out the seam.  And then the cuffs on the second pair came out so wonky that I broke into tears anew.

Which is how Sweet Husband found me.  To his credit, he did not laugh, but instead let me cry it out and ushered me to bed.  Attempting to console me, he said, "Hey, think about what a good story this will make--people love failure stories!"

(Really, it wasn't a complete failure, though.  The next night, my sewing machine decided to be sweet again, and I was able to fix one pair of the shorts and make another pair too.  But the t-shirts?  Well, perhaps Old Navy will have some that are less awful?)