Sewing Plan

Posted April 30th, 2012 by Candice

It was the best April plan ever.   I’d use the month before my husband’s surgery to whip up a little book.  Keep myself sane, productive.   

First, I’d pick out a pattern for my new book (Simplicity!).  Next I’d go shopping for material–something chapter-bookish, maybe light blue gingham or a little sailboat print.  Then I’d come home, pin the pattern to the fabric, cut them out, baste the big pieces together.

While wisteria bloomed, I’d stitch up the chapters.  One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.  Maybe eight.  I’d sew on a row of pearly buttons to close those chapters fast.  At the last minute, I’d decide to add a pocket with the scraps.  Embroider the main character’s initials on it.  That would tickle her.

But the plan unraveled before it hardly started.  Today is the first of May and I’m frantically ripping seams.  There is no April book.  There is one revised-ten-times frayed Chapter One.  And that’s it.

I know, I know.  I was rushing.  But I wanted a new book so bad.  It was like ninth grade when I was dying for a Villager shirtwaist dress.  I might as well have asked for a Dior ball gown.  Then lo! our home ec sewing project was a Village-style shirtwaist dress!  I picked out a tiny turquoise floral print I adored.  In no time flat, I’d be sashaying down the halls of Woodson High in my new fitted-to-me dress, just like the cool rich girls.

A Dior ball gown could not have been more complicated.  Invisible side-zipper, button-front placket, buttoned cuffs, Peter Pan collar, pintucks.  Every day, I sewed feverishly on our class sewing machine.  Every day, the vision of myself sashaying in turquoise grew dimmer, especially after I sewed the dress to the skirt I was wearing.  I took the bungled mess home to my mother, who nursed it back to health, though it failed to thrive (my mother was an excellent seamstress, but not an exorcist). 

Some of the girls’ finished dresses could not be distinguished from a real Villager, their pintucks were that straight, their zippers truly invisible.  Mine wasn’t ready for the ragbag like my friend Sandy’s, but it radiated homemade.  It didn’t really fit.

This book plan didn’t fit either.  I can’t write a book in four weeks (though I used to, all the time).  Especially since I had a meltdown every week, zigzag-stitching my terrible mood right over my hapless characters.

So I’ve gathered up the loose threads of that story and packed it in my bottom drawer with all the other half-finished projects.  It’s May.  I have the Iva sequel to revise.  That will be like darning socks, lapwork I can do sitting in a comfortable chair with good light coming over my shoulder.