Ruffled Feathers…. Or, Why Melle Didn’t Learn to Sew Until Last Year, Part One

There’s Always Room For J-E-L-L-O…

When I was in seventh grade, I signed myself up for Home Economics. Y’all probably all took home ec. It’s a pretty basic class.

Goza the Gozarian
Mrs. Goza… Junior High Principle. Really, though with a name like Goza and purposefully surrounding herself with 7th graders, she was asking for it…

I am bettin’ though that not a single one of you walked up to the door on the first day of the third week and were greeted by the teacher, who barred your entrance. I was, instead, to report to the guidance office where Gozer the Gozerian was waiting. (Ghostbuster had just come out. Her name was Mrs. Goza. I got caught calling her Gozer the Gozerian to her face though…. To say I wasn’t her favorite student would be like saying Titanic was running a little late getting into New York.)

But I’m getting ahead of myself… Let me start at the beginning…

Class Schedule
Classes had been picked. Home Ec should have been an Easy A.

So it’s the first day of seventh grade. We had picked electives over the summer and as always, I had picked chorus. That left me one more elective to fill. The year before I had taken clogging, but that wasn’t an option at Sandy Springs Middle School. So, I signed up for Home Ec.

I come from a long line of crafty women who also are amazing cooks. My grandmother on my dad’s side owned a restaurant in Galveston, Texas. And my Granny, who worked for NASA, was just amazing in the kitchen. My granny also made probably every piece of Barbie clothing I ever owned that didn’t come in the original package with the doll. My mom had spent time under both and was just gifted with raw talent in the kitchen.

Cake. Yum.
My mom made my wedding cake. It was a dreamy delicacy of assorted cake layers separated by ganashes and or fruit curds and cheesecakes…. yes. Cheese cakes…. Each layer of that cake was a layer of cake, then cheesecake, then cake. All three layers.
cake. yum.
And each of those sugar peonies and leaves? Hand crafted. To match my bouquet.

She was also an artist. And came from a frugal family background. I can remember getting little pinafore and bloomer sets from my great-grandmother for my birthdays. And mom was always making our Halloween costumes. I honestly thought of home ec as an easy A kind of class.

But then, I hadn’t really spend much time in the kitchen… or really… in the house?

My parents were big believers in tossing us kids outside into the Texas (and then Florida and then Georgia) sunshine. We spent more hours outside as kids than we did inside. Including time spent in school and sleeping.

Home Economics: The Art and Science of Effective, Efficient, and Affordable Household Management

So I sign up for Home Ec, because it should be easy. Finally, summer is over and school begins and we start…. Home Economics.

We begin class with a sewing rotation. Four weeks of sewing, four weeks of cooking. I don’t know what was planned after that because, well, I wasn’t there anymore. heh.

We were given, I’m assuming, a brief overview of sewing machines, safety, operation, how to thread the needle. (This was many moons ago, folks. My machine that threads itself is considered by my family members to be pretty space age. We won’t even get into the 70+ stitches PLUS built-in embroidery. Plus that it hooks up to my computer.) This was also, though, long before the days when flighty children were appropriately medicated for ADHD. We had discipline beaten coerced lovingly into us and we overcame our distractibility. So while I’m assuming that I received all of that necessary instruction, I can’t exactly tell you that I *heard* it.

We picked our first projects. I’m a selfish punk, so I wanted to make myself a pillow. (Maybe all this was Karma, dharma, whatever you want to call it…). I picked my fabrics. My thread. My machine.

I cut my fabric precisely into squares (uhm. yeah. no. I can’t cut straight even now. With rulers and a rotary cutter. ) and began threading the needle.

Which amounted to stabbing the thread at the teeny tiny hold and making lots and lots of knots.

Up at the top? Where the little hooky do slides up and down above the needle? Still don’t know what the parts are actually called… but you know what I mean… that hooky doo thingy where you go down and then up and then over to the left, and then down again with the thread and then it goes through the needle? Yeah. That part.
Sew4Home helpfully had this diagram and I now know that that little hickey doo thread mover arounder I was unable to identify is part #12. Thread take-up lever. Which is almost like saying the same thing. Right?

I knotted it up there.

This is getting a little long. And we haven’t gotten to the Good Part yet. So I’ll call it a night and post Part Two tomorrow.

Have any of you ever taken a home economics class? Did you like it? Did it instill in you a love of sewing and cooking?

Or, like me, did you learn to hate sewing with such a passion that you didn’t even buy items with buttons unless they had the little loops on the back so that when the buttons fell off, you didn’t have to sew them back on, you could simply re-attach them with safety pins?

True story. I hated sewing So Much that for a very long time I would actually REMOVE those flat buttons with the holes in them from new clothing and replace them with the buttons with the loops on the back.

True story.  Even now, my machine will sew the button on for me. I still don’t sew buttons.

Love, Melle

2 Replies to “Ruffled Feathers…. Or, Why Melle Didn’t Learn to Sew Until Last Year, Part One”

    1. First, welcome to my blog! I really enjoy everything I’m reading over at yours. And I did indeed go back and read through the entire New Blogger series to date. I’ve added the SM icons and am working on Readers now to make it easier for folks to follow. 🙂 I appreciate all you’re sharing over there.

      Cottage Mama also did a series on new blogs/etsy businesses. She was my inspiration, but a lot of the lingo escaped me. Your blog really helped me understand what folks are talking about….

      Now… to your comment here. 🙂

      Needles are cheap. 🙂
      When I first bought my machine, it literally sat untouched on my dining room table for 3 weeks. I was terrified… especially after my whole home ec experience….

      Now though, I’m more afraid that when the needle DOES break, that I sit so close the little tip is gonna put my eye out! LOL I always Frankie’s mom from Christmas Story.

      If you have the foot, go ahead and try it.

      Go slow. breathe deep.

      And if you have to, walk away. I’ve done that with button holes…. just walked away…. Go make some cocoa. When I come back, TADA! Button holes!

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