IMG_1031You wouldn’t ask ________________________ (insert famous artist here) to paint your walls, so don’t ask me to hem your pants.

It is as though painting the walls is somehow beneath the artist.

I started sewing in my late tweens, early teens making, attempting to make garments. I got fairly successful at making skirts. Altering clothes, not so much. I don’t quite understand shaping. Many garment makers will do a process called making a muslin, where the garment is made with muslin, and fitted to the person, making adjustments for the bust, hips, shoulders, where ever the general pattern needs a bit of tweaking. The thing is we don’t all fit the basic pattern, and pattern companies cannot account for all of our unique shapes, and sizes. The more experienced the garment maker, the more likely they are to make the muslin. Why? Because this process will give them the necessary information to correctly make adjustments.

cropped-impractical-color-wheel-complete.jpgI don’t do garment construction now. I don’t hem. I don’t do garment repair. Only because I don’t have that, haven’t developed that skill set. Well hold on a moment please allow me to clarify a bit. I know how to make button holes, do blind hems and other garment related work because I had to know how to teach these things to customers learning how to use their machines. I would teach these things to every single person purchasing, even if they were “Quilting Only”. Why? This teaches them how to use their machine. The knowing is as important as the using. You see knowing how to use the blind hem foot means that a binding can be applied by machine. Or a quilter can can make decorative stitches into beautiful embellishment on plan fabric.

I have a quilter friend who does the hemming and repair work on garments, because she can. She finds great value in getting more use out of the garments. I love this about her. She KNOWs how to do this stuff, and get more life out of the stuff she owns.

creative genius 002And the thing is the artist might enjoy doing the hemming, preparing the canvas, making the thing that is not of their particular art. Not enjoying something is sometimes a good reason not to do it. There is something more, something holy, something needful about having the ability to do the work. There is something more about having the willingness to do the work.

I’ve also heard, “I won’t purchase an X for you because you do X.” Valid point to be sure. That said I admire so many people who do X that owning one of their works would be an honor. I admire people who say, “red is a neutral” or “it doesn’t matter how we cut the fabric” or “I put a lot of effort into this”. I encourage people who say things like “this isn’t my best work ever” to stop pointing out things they consider to be flaws because those are character traits. The same types of character traits, the same kinds of skills that inform the work.

quilting Serendipity gone huge 081If I’m asked to hem someone’s pants I’m going to say no. Because I really don’t have that skill set and don’t want to screw them up. I’ve screwed up a couple of garments that I really loved. The beautiful thing about being asked: is someone recognizes the skill and hard work that you’ve put into learning this thing. Just like there are different fields of law, there are different types of sewing, and in both there are specialties.

The only thing beneath you: God holding you up.
The only thing above you: God lifting you up.
The only thing beside you: God holding you close.

May you find great joy in doing the work, that leads to the art, and the art that leads to the work. May they inform each other in their simplicity, and in the depth of character in the doing. May the “offense” be set aside, to the acknowledgement of the skill.

God bless,


Bonus Experience:

I took Algebra I in Junior High (Eighth Grade). I failed miserably. It was kind of terrible for a number of reasons. As a Freshman in high school I took Algebra I again, and passed without studying. Geometry was super easy for me. *I have nooo idea why* Algebra II, failed miserably. Bang. Head. Here. Algebra II second time around passed without studying. With both Algebra I and II – the second year I held a high B average. Now I do quilt math in my head, which is essentially a basic form of Algebra.

Part of the failures had to do with the beginning of the year and somehow missing something key, and not being able to catch up. Part of the failures had to do with the teaching styles. The first time around I really thought I was stupid. Seriously, I’m not, your early teens though make failure really personal.

When I was in ministry at a parish in Elizabethport, NJ the eight grade teacher showed myself, and a class mom that we’d learned Algebra in first grade

1 + { } = 3

Yeah it’s that simple. Knowing that shifted my entire focus. The teachers I had weren’t terrible teachers, they were simply not the ones for me, that met my needs in those moments.

And further – there have been times when I have FAILED – miserably. Though that happened I’m here to tell you about the experience. The experience taught me, continues to teach me, and inform how work with my students. And in other areas.

There I said it. I’ve FAILED! And I’m still alive, kicking, praying, seeking, guiding, being guided, and Loved by our Creator. ❤



2 thoughts on “Repair

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