At the end of January, I started taking a sewing class to expand my skill base. Our first project on the list was making an apron. The first class was all lecture and stitch tests, but by the second class, we were knee deep in pins, needles, patterns, and fabric.

Have you ever seen that episode of the Cosby show when Denise makes Theo a knock-off of the Gordon Gartrell shirt? It came out all wonky and lopsided and I was a little worried that’s how my apron would turn out. I mean, I’m pretty skilled with my hands and have somewhat of an artistic eye, but this teacher made me feel really nervous. But it was time to look past that and see if I had what it takes.

For the second class I came stocked with all the supplies from the supply list. Fabrics scissors, pins, needles, markers, everything she asked us to bring. The only problem was that I took all of these supplies from Aya. She was an apparel and textile design major in college. And since they were her supplies, everything was pink or had sparkly heart stickers on them. Ugh.

Normally, I try really hard to blend in. I imagined if I was a woman, my pink scissors with heart stickers might make me the talk of the class in a good way. But as a man, they’d make me talk of the class, but… well, not in the same way. So to overcompensate for these “girlie” supplies, I carried them to class in my Craftsman tool bag. That’s right, instead of carrying a canvas bag, or plastic art bin, I tried to step up my “guy factor” by using a Craftsman tool bag (I did the same thing through college for all of my interior design classes too). Now let’s fire up this machine and get to work.

The brand name of the sewing machine we use in class is Janome. And every time I see the logo I picture Michael Jackson grabbing his crotch shouting, “Jamon!” I almost want to say it out loud, but I know for sure that would elevate me to total weirdo status, so I just keep it to myself.

I have worked a sewing machine a few times in my past, but not enough to make me feel proficient. But I figured it can’t be too difficult to work. It has a foot pedal and requires some hand-eye coordination. I can drive a stick shift, play a drum set, and walk and chew gum at the same time! I got this!

This pedal was a little fussy though. Have you ever driven a car with a really touchy gas pedal? Well, this was the exact opposite. Your foot needed to be about halfway down before the machine kicked in. And when it did, watch out, it went from zero to sixty in .2 seconds! It took a little while, but I was able to gain control and not have it suck up my fabric like an angry monster and eat it with it’s needlely teeth. Who’s the boss!

Measure, fold, cut, fold, stitch, fold, cut, stitch, stitch. I was almost finished. I just had to attach the neck strap.

When I was adjusting the strap in class, the teacher looked at me and said, “You like it like that? Don’t you want it lower?”

“Why, does it look stupid?” I asked.

“No, just most guys like it to rest lower,” she said.

“It feels fine. I don’t want it too low, right? Then it won’t protect my fine sweater while I cook,” I said facetiously.

Total blowing off my nerdy sweater comment, she seemed surprised about me cooking and proceeded to invited herself, and the entire class, over for dinner. I think she was joking. I hope.

Going against her recommendation on the length, I made my final stitches. Alas, my first project was completed!

I came home excited from class to show Aya my handy work and modeled my apron complete with spatula in-hand (you know, for her to get the full effect), and the first thing she said was, “It looks kind of short don’t you think.”

Ouch. Whatever, it’s not your apron.

With my new skills, I quickly churned out an apron for Ellie at the next class. My kitchen assistant was now equipped with the proper gear. Can you picture it? Me with my apron and Ellie with hers, each of us “cooking” in our respective kitchens. We were gonna have sew much fun! Well, the only problem was, turns out she really doesn’t like wearing the apron.

Double ouch. A guy just can’t catch a break, can he?

Oh well. I set out to pick up a new skill, and I did just that. In the process I’m becoming a regular at JoAnn fabrics (I’m not sure how I feel about that). I can already feel the addictive claws of this popular pastime digging into me as I get all kinds of ideas for new projects. But the first project was just a simple apron. We’ll have to wait and see how I do after the next project, a skirt for Ellie. Now that will be the real test.

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