Springing From The Hem

photo courtesy: Forest & Kim Starr

One year, young Ms. SpoolTeacher planted a packet of zinnia seeds in the little border patch under the window of her mother’s south facing bedroom window. She would look for any little patch of dirt to dig and dilly dally in, trying her hand at seeing what she could magically make appear. Sowing/Sewing

Whenever she has a day without alterations or sewing for someone else, she goes to her room full of fabrics and do dads and wills herself to do something with something. (It isn’t hard to make herself because that is exactly what she really wants to do anyway)

This day she found a border print that had been forcing itself to the top of the heap for some time. She cut it in half width wise thinking she might just be able to make one to keep and one to sell. It was a little on the skimpy side for the fullness factor (minimum 2.5%), but she knew she could come up with some kind of creative amendment if need be.

The next maneuver was to determine what length she would want. She used her metal yardstick and marked the measurements across the width with her blue chalk. (Measure Twice Cut Once!)

What to add, what to not.

Sewing is very improvisational. Thinking on your feet is a great skill to have. She decided to line it with the same pink she had used on her Red Gingham Dress.

Red Gingham Dress

Should the seam be pressed up, down, open? It makes a difference.

As it turned out, several trims would be added right at the seam and over it; so, it wouldn’t show, so to speak, anyway.

Now for how to gather at the waist.

It struck her that a pocket for a belt or tie to traverse through might be a novel idea. Something different, then the fullness could be adjusted for a smaller or larger waist size. And why not in a small version of the red gingham, especially since she had a wrap of it in her binding collection. Easy, peasy!


In her mother’s garden, to her delight the packet of zinnia seeds filed the plot to capacity, reaching ever closer to the sun each day with their brilliant multicolors. She felt thrilled by the lust the little seeds had to spring forth. Nothing she could do seemed to thwart their intent. They were hardy and low maintenance and seemed to love the placement she had chosen for them. They seemed to last forever that summer, reaching, reaching, holding the color intensity in their perfectly formed flowers onward and onward throughout the summer months.

springing from the hem

She learned patience and a little about longevity that summer. A little, too, about hope and expectation.

Ms. SpoolTeacher loves that she has lots of dirt to dig in of her own now. She’s a little frustrated that it is in a desert, where the summer sun is so intense, things only seem to want to grow under filtered tree light. Winters offer freezing just enough to threaten anything that can survive the summer’s scorching blare.

She saves all her table scraps and leaf debris, weeds that haven’t gone to seed and makes messy piles wherever it is convenient. Someday she hopes to have patches of better soil.

She has a garden of sorts inside the house where all the “seeds” of her imagination are sitting on shelves, in drawers, hanging on hangers or half put together into a vision of her own delight. Some things have to wait for the right amendment to come along, just as the grounds around her house are waiting for the leaves and food scraps to amount to enough to amend the composition of nature.

Be sure to put scraps in compost

Sometimes nature does whatever it wants to. Actually it always does.

Compost Heaps out in Ms. SpoolTeacher's yard

volunteer gardening

“Volunteer Garden” … happy, happy, joy, joy!

Anyone want to volunteer to be on Ms. SpoolTeacher’s table for dinner?

How about that!


No Lick Security Overalls

no lick security overalls

Little Red-haired Girl pulled through her lumpectomies A-okay! Hooray!

Ms. SpoolTeacher had been beside herself for the day, worrying (as is her inclination to do).

Dr. Nancy said the huge one was for sure fatty, but the other…she just didn’t know. (It was a little dangling fatty feeling thing on her right rear leg, and Ms. SpoolTeacher thought for sure it was the least of the worries, not so.)

Ms. SpoolTeacher had been upholstering two large Styrofoam cubes for Dr. Nancy and wasn’t sure what to charge. It has been her experience that the labor involved in sewing is seldom appreciated or valued.

“It took you how long!?” “Why did it take so long!?” “It’s how much!!!!?”

So she labored and labored over how to calculate what to charge. In the end, she called her upholsterer friend to get her opinion and was amazed that she came up with exactly the same calculation, albeit, through a completely different analysis.

She took the job with her when she went to pick up the Little Red-haired Girl but told the receptionist, “Perhaps we should do this another day as we don’t want to have the two amounts influence each other?”

“Oh no, Dr. Nancy will be working on horses this weekend and will be needing them. We’ll just do one and then the other.”

So, Ms. SpoolTeacher said she would drive around to the back stable and off load the giant cube she had borrowed to use to fit the cover and the other second casing that they would have to put on the other cube themselves. She had designed them to open and pull off for cleaning. It fit like a glove. It was a meticulous job. It ended up taking a lot of painstaking maneuvers to perfect it. She was proud of the job.

“So,” the receptionist said, “is that for one or both? Do I need to add the fabric in or is it included?”

“The charges are for both and the fabric is already added into the charge.”

“Wow, that’s a great price!”

Suddenly Dr. Nancy popped in and exclaimed, “Wow, you said you were a good seamstress, you weren’t kidding!”

Well, that did take out some of the sting of her own underestimation of value.

How to know? Ms. SpoolTeacher was just sure they would freak out over the charges she had quoted. Well, there was no going back now. She’d have to learn from the experience and hope the good will would benefit her in the future.

The great news for the day was that little “Bumpty Dumpty” was okee dokee.

“Don’t let her lick the wounds. Do you need a cone?”

“Oh, no, she will never stand for that.”

The little red overalls are from Ms. SpoolTeacher’s niece when she was a baby. The first day, she put them on her upside down for easier peeing, etc. But as it turned out, Bumpty Dumpty didn’t go out without her so she could manage the snaps for her.

The big cube

where to start?

on and off, on and off, pin, stitch, on off

Everyone is happy.

Not just Sewing and Alterations

We do whatever it takes

Coming Soon: An apron from scratch from a border print

So sorry for the missing images. As soon as Ms. SpoolTeacher figures out why they migrated and where they are, She will fix this. She no longer know where the originals are. If you have any suggestions, She has had no luck with WP for discovering the cause/cure and forums still sound like Chinese to her. She thanks you in advance.