My grandmother, Odessa, was an excellent seamstress. She could sew clothing “from scratch.” She could alter clothing to fit any body. She could identify fabric by touch. And she knew her sewing machine and notions like many people know their kitchen tools … because she used them so often.
I have been sewing forever and ever. I still remember a halter top that I made for myself when I was in 5th or 6th grade. It was made from white material. I embroidered a perfect yarn red heart right in the middle with a simple straight stitch. And I ran a metal choker necklace through the casing at the neck and a ribbon through the casing around my ribcage. I still remember how proud I was that I had created a piece of clothing … by myself! Thinking back, my grandmother lived in another city and we visited every few months … but I don’t know that I ever showed her my halter top. If anyone would have encouraged me in my new sewing adventure, it would have been her.
Though my Mama was a seamstress and I began sewing early, I am not well-trained. What I know about sewing, I have learned by accident or through books or youtube videos. You won’t find me creating clothing with a pattern, notions and fabric. I more enjoy altering and embellishing existing garments or creating things for the home like pillows or curtains. I am all about zigzag and straight stitching.
About a year ago, I realized that I needed more straight pins. I choose the type that have the brightly colored-plastic balls on the end. I like to join my work together with pins and pull out the pins shortly before the fabric guides under the sewing needle. I find the round ball heads easier to grasp and remove as I am sewing.
But, when pressing my fabric before sewing, those pretty little round balls melt under the heat and pressure of my hot iron. I end up with flattened balls … that sometimes have a rough edge that will catch on certain fabrics. And … sometimes, the plastic heads actually embed themselves into the weave of the fabric.
So, I recently decided to buy a small pack of straight pins that have no ball on the head. They just have a tiny little metal head. What a difference!! I chose the thinner, longer dressmaker pins. They have a great thin shaft and a super nice point that moves through fabric so smoothly.
But … ya know what? They don’t look like much sitting there cold and shiny on my magnetic plate pin cushion.
As I was sewing the other day, I thought about how similar this is to life.
Sometimes, what looks cold and boring,
is actually very practical and helpful.
And sometimes, what looks colorful and fun …
does a very poor job of handling heat and pressure.
This is true in the physical, emotional and spiritual worlds.
As that fabric slowly moved between the pressure foot and feed dog,
I began to think about how we will often choose what looks better
over choosing what IS better.
For example, I have a beautiful friend who is dating a man who has skin that does not match hers. In today’s world, biracial dating isn’t shocking …. to many. But, to some people, it is still taboo. It’s true; mixing cultures can be tricky. But, so can mixing families, languages, lifestyles, attitudes or even college loyalties. It depends on the couple as to how tricky the melding may be. They may l.o.o.k like they don’t fit to some people, but they may actually be an excellent team when paired together.
Sometimes we choose to live in a house or drive car that represents a monetary worth … that we can’t back. Living that life, brings a financial burden and an emotional struggle that will eventually implode upon itself. So, maintaining the l.o.o.k that the car or home offer may actually cause so much damage to us emotionally or financially that we find yourselves exhausted and drained.
Life is full of messy and change.
Every day brings new decisions about how we will live our life.
The question is: will we live according to our own values and desires …..
or will we let others’ likes and dislikes direct our decisions.
Will we choose what looks better … or what IS better
for ourselves and those in our lives?
It helps to be clear on exactly what you’re leaving behind.
If you need, ditch those colorful, bright shiny stick pins
and go with some plain, metal straight pins.
Push aside what looks better to others … for what truly IS better … for you.