Another Useful “Womanly Art”

Starting as soon as I could walk (late 1950s), my mother impressed on me that there were arthurmurray“womanly arts” every “nice” lady needed to know.  Thus I took music and dance lessons from tutors while my mother instructed me on the ways “ladies” should walk, sit, bend, eat, et cetera.  Mormor (my maternal grandmother) taught me how to knit, crochet and an array of traditional Norwegian handarbeider (handworks), but it was in school that I learned to sew.

I have been following the delightful and informative blogs of two amazing seamstresses – thornberry (in Australia) and Fit and Flare (in the U.K.).  After a long hiatus from sewing (except for making my daughter’s wedding dress), their blogs have encouraged me to pull out my sewing machine.  As I did so, I reflected on sewing projects in my past.

sewingclassesWhen I was in junior high (late 1960s/early 1970s), all the girls had to take sewing classes (pic source), while the boys took shop classes.  I discovered I liked to sew so in high school took tailoring classes as electives.  All my sewing teachers taught us how to do a lot of hand sewing.  I sewed a lot when I was young  – both by hand and with greenkenmore7525my trusty (and oh so sturdy) Sears Kenmore.  It sat in a sort of desk and looked a bit like this machine (pic source), if my memory serves me right.  As an adult my sewing was limited mostly to mending.

My most memorable sewing experience, however, was decades ago, and it was mending for my ex-husband, Beelzebob – yes I know it isn’t the correct beelzebubspelling of this “highest devil … insidious and mean” (pic & quotation source) but – well, let’s just say it’s closer to his real name.  Soon after I left him, Beelzebob showed up on my (new) porch with a basket of clothes in his arms.  He asked (well, more like demanded) that I mend them for him, and, not surprisingly, I refused.  Beelzebob immediately dropped the basket and started to yell and wave his arms, scaring my houseguest who thought he was going to strike me.  She jumped in front of me, calmed down Beelzebob, and assured him that she would mend his clothes.  He was immediately contrite and sweet (toward her).  I think his parting words were along the line of, “It’s nice to know that there are still nice ladies” (as he shot evil looks my way and stomped off my porch).  As soon as Beelzebob left, I told my friend that as I would have no problem dousing his clothes in gasoline and dropping a match on them, she should do the promised mending out of my sight.

Kenmore-sewing-machine-parts-5The next day I received a telephone call at work from my friend asking me (in a very meek voice) how to thread my sewing machine (pic source).  She admitted she’d never sewn before, so it was impossible to explain over the telephone.  I agreed to mend Beelzebob’s clothes only if she agreed to tell him that she repaired the clothes.  I stayed up very late that night doing the mending.  Thankfully my friend was fast asleep or she would have heard me giggling.  Here is an example of some of the “mending” I did to his clothes:

  • I carefully removed the cuffs from one shirt and put them on the opposite arms.
  • I carefully removed the front plackets from another shirt and reversed them so the shirt buttoned “backwards” (i.e., like a woman’s shirt).
  • On another shirt I carefully removed the pockets from under their flaps (ensuring he’d be puzzled when he tried to put a pack of cigarettes in his pocket).
  • On two pairs of blue jeans I pulled out the thin material lining the pockets and stitched them closed right where the denim met the thin lining (so he could get no more than his finger tips into the pockets).
  • On another pair of blue jeans I sewed the hems of the pant legs shut – matching the orange stitching stitch for stitch.
  • On two dress shirts I shortened the little button holes on the collar points (now he wouldn’t be able to button down the collars).
  • On another shirt I removed the cuffs, shortened each sleeve by an inch or so, and then replaced the cuffs (making him wonder if his arms had grown).

Sewing had never been so much fun!  The coup de grâce, however, was when my friend asked me for directions for a dry cleaner so she could have his clothes dry cleaned (she JohnHancockSignaturewasn’t willing to do that!), before he returned to pick them up.  I sent her to a dry cleaner whose practice it was to stamp (with indelible ink) the last four characters of a customer’s last name into the clothes.  She shared her surname with a man prominent in U.S. history and famed for his flamboyant signature.

Oh yes, happy sewing memories.  🙂

 

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About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
This entry was posted in Miscellany, Other Fiber Arts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Another Useful “Womanly Art”

  1. I cannot help but grin when I think of that night of sewing!!

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  2. Mrs. Optimistic says:

    Love this story! That is so awesome!! You’re amazing!

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  3. KerryCan says:

    Oh, I have no doubt! Nice, and funny!

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  4. :). I am really quite nice!

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  5. Lukewarm’s okay too! 🙂

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  6. Or maybe even have stood on the sidewalk … his angry shouts as he struggled with his clothes undoubtedly carried to the street. 🙂 >

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  7. I would like to try my hand at sewing a summer dress or swingy jacket out of a cotton jersey. I’ve never before sewn cotton jersey, however, but I signed up for a 4 hour class on that very topic! >

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  8. rthepotter says:

    Nice one! If only you could have been a fly on the wall …

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  9. thornberry says:

    That is SO funny! The perfect revenge, I think!
    And thanks for the mention too – I am blushing!
    So, what else are you going to sew?

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  10. I knew he would feel very stupid/ foolish so wouldn’t mention it. He never did! :/

    >

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  11. Suzanna says:

    I think you were very brave. If BBob was yelling and gesticulating just to get you to do the mending, I can’t imagine what he might have considered when he couldn’t get his smokes into his shirt or pants pockets.

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  12. Oh most definitely!!!

    >

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  13. Susan says:

    Yousa!! That was totally creative and worth staying up all night for!!

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  14. He kept trying to get back into my life (even after the divorce) until 3 years or so later I moved out of state while he was in Europe … and never during those 3 years did he mention the mending. Perhaps he felt it would be counter productive to his constant requests to reconcile. (Not a man who was used to hearing “no,” I guess.) 🙂

    >

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  15. KerryCan says:

    It’s never occurred to me that sewing could be so much fun! I loved every word of this but the dry cleaner’s stamp really takes the cake! Remind me never to tick you off . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  16. knotrune says:

    That was so funny! I hope he didn’t realise too soon that the clothes had been sabotaged 🙂

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  17. I had visions of you putting apple pies in someone’s bed, but then that just sounded too odd. So I googled … and then I giggled! Boy was i way off. 🙂 >

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  18. One of these days I’ll post a blog describing the womanly revenge of an acquaintance who was an upholsterer … 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. My friend meant well, and turned out I didn’t mind as long as I did the mending “my way” … 🙂 And she never told him!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. AND, no one was hurt. 🙂

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  21. You’re probably right … and he never again asked me (or my friend!) to mend anything. 🙂

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  22. “Devilish” ??? Nah, merely creative. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Socioknit says:

    This post was completely hilarious. I ADORE what you did with those clothes…absolutely brilliant. 😀 You have a devilish mind.

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  24. ethgran says:

    I’m sure that it didn’t take long to figure out who actually did the mending. Your “mending” was hilarious! One smart cookie.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. caityrosey says:

    I heartily enjoyed your story of a stitcher’s revenge. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. lisaross04 says:

    This is hilarious! I was a little disappointed when you agreed to do the mending, but that sewing job was priceless! I’m guessing he never asked you to do it again…

    Liked by 1 person

  27. darthmummy says:

    Too much fun. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. That really made me laugh out loud. I kind of wish I could have the opportunity to do a similar devilish thing. Sadly I am so far happily married. What a shame 🙂 Anyway, I admire how thoroughly you did your job but I guess it was well worth it. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  29. Brilliant! 🙂 I was once sent home from school (~1971 or so) because I wore (forbidden) Levi’s on the monthly “Pants Day” – the only day of the month when girls could wear pants.(excluding Levi’s!). >

    Liked by 1 person

  30. fabrickated says:

    Oh gosh! I have heard of spurned women slashing the Armarni suits, but this story takes the biscuit. You must have loathed the guy! I have made a few apple-pie beds in my time but nothing as creative as this.

    Would love to see pictures of the wedding dress. And so glad you are thinking of sewing again. And thank you for mentioning me.

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  31. Deb says:

    Absolutely brilliant!!!!!!!

    I’ve never used my sewing to that extent….I did use it to create clothes in “clothing and textiles” in high school to create clothes that intentionally broke dress code and would then wear them to school knowing it would create a problem.

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  32. Over 20 years later, I STILL giggle when I think about it! :). Glad to share your giggles!

    Liked by 2 people

  33. whip1up says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post! Thank you for sharing and making me giggle out loud, as i imagine you did.

    Like

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