Wrong-Side Out: Ten Things I Learned About Life From Watching My Mother Sew

1. The fabric of your time will probably not go as far as you think. Anticipate shrinkage: wash and dry it before you let anyone cut into it.

2. Iron things out early and often.

3. The mechanics of your personality will not work with everyone. Consider those who are tough and rigid like denim or those who stretch the truth like Lycra. Don’t break too many needles learning to avoid them.

4. Create for what you are, not what you wish you were.

5. Let it out. Anger is an unsightly bulging seam, and a rip is tough to repair.

6. Make sure you have plenty of light.

7. To remain sharp, be true to the purpose for which you were made. We are not unlike fabric sheers, which become dull when used on paper.

8. The pattern is only a guideline. It is okay to make adjustments.

9. Before you decide that your work is done, that there is no room for improvement, take an honest look at yourself in the mirror. A full-length mirror. Including the view from behind.

10. The garments which are most attractive on the outside are beautiful specifically because of the time and attention spent on the inside. When you’re sewing, all the work is done wrong-side out.

(Easter, 1979, in a pretty dress made by my talented mother.)


One Comment on “Wrong-Side Out: Ten Things I Learned About Life From Watching My Mother Sew

  1. Dismayed at his lack of academic achievement over the years, my father’s teacher wrote, in his final report on the young Tom Hemming: “A stitch in time needs no Hemming.”

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