Men can sew too

DC1 brought home hir new orchestra uniform from school and the pants needed hemming.

My first thought was that I hate hemming pants and I was never very good at it, though my last experience was probably over 20 years ago.

So DH suggested we get them altered professionally.

But a quick search showed that all the alteration places in town had 2/5 stars and complaints about not following simple instructions and about losing orders and holding clothing longer than promised.

We know DC1 is going to grow this year, so those pants hems are probably going to need to be let out sometime this year, which means that cutting off the extra fabric, something a professional is likely to do (see “not following simple instructions”) is not a great idea.  The first concert was also only a couple of weeks away, which meant that losing the pants and holding onto them for a couple weeks was not viable.

I resigned myself to having to hem, but then DH said he’d give it a go.  There are plenty of youtube videos and guides.  I recommended the catch stitch to him since that’s the way I was taught.  (It might not have been the best recommendation since I hate hemming pants and I’m not great at it, but I’m sure if I hadn’t recommended something DH would have spent a few hours trying to figure out the best stitch.)  And then DH did it and did a good job and it took a little over an hour, far less time than going to one of the alteration places and returning to pick it up.

So… that probably saved $20-$40 in money, but also quite a bit more in potential aggravation, AND later this year we’ll know we’ll be able to let the hem down.  (It was pretty obvious from the fabric creases that last year’s kid had also had to let the hem back down, though that family had a sewing machine.)

22 Responses to “Men can sew too”

  1. Michael N Nitabach Says:

    Get yr dude a sewing machine for Christmas!!!

  2. xykademiqz Says:

    LOL I spent the whole weekend nudging Middle Boy on various home ec (family and consumer science) projects. The first one was making an emoji pillow, which involved stitching eyes and mouth and whatever else on the face using overcast stitch and sewing the two halves of the pillow together using blanket stitch. Turned out great! So dudes can definitely stitch and hem.The rest was meal prep (teacher calls it lab skills). He did a great job on both and was excited to eat his own creations both days.

    Also tangentially related, but it has to do with Middle Boy’s school and I gotta vent a bit. They were tasked with writing a short story and required to fill out a narrative arc sheet before writing, which led my son to completely freeze. Now, I actually write short stories and know a ton of writers, and I will tell you that writers self-identify as mostly plotters (carefully plot before writing) or mostly pantsers (flying by the seat of their pants; making things up as they go). I assume most folks are actually somewhere on the spectrum between these two extrema, where they have a rough idea and some plot elements but actually don’t develop the story fully until they start writing. So requiring that this very detailed sheet be filled out first before writing is going to completely block and intimidate anyone who’s not naturally a plotter (the writing-equivalent of a list maker/organizer). My terrified son was going to not turn in anything until I said leave the sheet aside, then probed him with questions about what kind of story he’d like to write, where it was set, who it was about, why they were doing what they were doing, and within 5 min, he was on the laptop and writing. After two days he had a really nice draft and post-filled the dreaded sheet easily.

    This brings me to something I see a lot in middle school: The kids are supposed to just do stuff that might be fun but is completely new to them and do it with truly minimal explanation/directions so many just flail about and end up not turning anything in. My son is lucky that I can help out with pretty much anything, but I assume most parents can’t (no time, no experience, etc.)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I have an unwritten post that’s currently just a title about DC1’s experience in English this year and why zie dropped out of the top English class to just Honors. (Honors is not going any better grade-wise, but at least it is way less work so zie has more time for hir other classes… guess we won’t have to worry about saving enough for Harvey Mudd after all.)

      Part of it is that experience your son is going through in Middle School DC1 didn’t get until Freshman year when grades actually count.

  3. Matthew D Healy Says:

    I’ve hemmed many pairs of pants, and sewed on lots of buttons: I happen to be better at it than DW. Inability to do such things is NOT linked to having a Y chromosome.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Though being taught as a child definitely seems to be linked to not having a Y chromosome. Fortunately people can learn things as adults!

      • Matthew D Healy Says:

        My Intermediate School, back in the early 1970s, required every kid to take basic Home Economics. Which included me sewing a stuffed animal from pre-cut fabric. Sadly, I don’t recall what species but I think it was some sort of big feline.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        They had just phased out shop vs. home ec as required courses when I got to middle school and made them electives instead (and you took one or the other, not both, so shop was mostly boys… home ec was more mixed– it was popular because they spent a lot of time making cookies IIRC). I was in Band instead. (I did take small engines in high school, which was one of the shop electives.)

  4. SP Says:

    We own a sewing machine at T’s request (I’ve never used it). He does all the mending, which isn’t a lot – mostly has hemmed curtains for us. When we bought it, his mom helpfully told me that he and I could learn to sew together… but I’m not interested and he already knows enough to get by. T can just handle the minimal sewing needs of the house. Although going to alterations places is a pain in the butt, as you point out.

  5. teresa Says:

    I can’t remember anyone in my house growing up doing any sewing beyond replacing a button, and that’s as much as I ever learned. I’ve repaired some torn pet toys by closing them like a surgical incision but that doesn’t work so much for clothes and anyway I can’t get used to holding a needle with my hand instead of instruments. Luckily my husband DID learn basic sewing skills as a kid and is perfectly comfortable doing things like hems and simple alterations and random projects he comes up with (and actually bought and uses a sewing machine for a lot of it). Works for us.

  6. Matthew D Healy Says:

    My suburban Intermediate School didn’t have Shop at all. Indeed it had almost nothing for the kids who weren’t college bound. As a faculty kid myself, at that age I took it for granted that most of the adults I knew had PHDs. Only in retrospect is the utter absence of options for kids who didn’t like books obvious to me.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Interesting. I also grew up in a (smallish) college town, but one that still had a lot of agriculture, so there was a big vocational track mostly geared towards FFA.

      • Matthew D Healy Says:

        Shorewood is such an easy walk to the UW-Milwaukee campus that my parents never bothered to obtain any species of UWM Parking Permit. And it is a long way to any type of agriculture.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I know SO much about crop rotation (among other cash crop specific things), starting when we moved there in second grade. Though I did learn in college that some of the “facts” they taught us about, say, the environmental benefits of ethanol, were not actually correct.

  7. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Update: DC2 was complaining about a pocket having a hole in it in a hand-me-down coat and DH just got out the sewing stuff and went at it. (If it were me, it would go into my to-sew pile along with a skirt that’s missing a hook and I’d get to it maybe over winter break.) Of course, at DC2’s age, I was starting to do most of the mending in my home… probably nothing so advanced as coat pockets yet though.


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