Challenge of the patience-testers: summertime, kids, and sewing

Ruthie Rearing 5 Comments

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Challenge of the patience-testers: summertime, kids, and sewing lessons. How carving time to bond is especially important. Summer parenting advice.


How are you doing with the dog days of summer, mom?  Are you finding time to bond with your kids?  Or are you just surviving until school starts and you can resume a schedule?


Summertime can be a patience-tester


I am teaching my daughters to sew.  They are ages 20 and 22.  It’s about time, right?

My mother was a seamstress by trade.  She basically made everything I ever wore until marriage, including my wedding dress.

She loved to sew.  Like it was her job.  (Which it was–she worked in the alterations department of Stone & Thomas back in the day.  Anybody remember Stone & Thomas?)

My poor mother wanted to gift me with her sewing skills.  She tried to teach me, bless her heart.

I hated it.  Like it was MY job.


Sewing can be a patience-tester

I got SO mad every time I had to rip out a seam or cut out a new sleeve (because I cut the other too short) that I tried to quit.  That also proved unsuccessful, because mom did not quit anything and neither would she let me.  Plus, I would be wasting material.  Which was not acceptable.

Anyhow, I’ve never quite gotten as angry as I have while sewing.  It’s tedious work, and one wrong move (or slip of the scissors) and you’re back at the drawing board.

Fast forward 15 years into parenthood.  I developed a new resolve toward sewing (clothing four kids’ll do that to ya), and decided to make Christmas pajamas and scarves.  It turned out well, so I graduated to a few other garments.

Life got busy, everyone played either sports or some sort of musical instrument, I went back to work, and the old sewing machine sat stored in a basement closet.




“Mom, I’d love it if you taught me how to sew this summer–you know, while I’m doing my internship and not working a job yet” proclaimed the recent college graduate of the household.

{Did you know they move back home sometimes?  This mama is TOTES elated.  We will take her while we can have her for a few short months!}

“Hey, I wanna learn to sew!”  Chimed in little sis, halfway through college, working, busy social life.  You know the type.

I’ve already released two from the coop.  Time is fleeting, these next few years will soon be gone, and Jim and I will be staring at each other across the aisle of a giant RV (not a bad way to go, btw, but trust me, we will lament the “good ole days”).

It’s been ten years since I’ve sewn.  I’m super rusty.

And so, I said yes.

We took a trip to the fabric store, picked out a simple dress pattern (with 6 variations), admired all the beautiful fabrics before making final choices, and got to work.

If you never sewn, you may not know that you do not just sit down and sew a dress.

It’s kinda like painting.  If you go into a room without taping and covering every wall, ceiling, and floor, well, you’ve got a wreck on your hands.  You can’t just go paint.  You have to prep.


Challenge of the patience-testers- (2)


Ladies and gentlemen, the prepping has commenced


1.)  Find pattern pieces for said “pattern A”

2.)  Cut out pattern pieces

3.)  Lay material right sides together, minding “selvages”

4.)  Pin pattern onto material

5.)  Mark all circles, dots, arrows, boxes, grain lines, and anything else that resembles Egyptian symbols

6.)  Unpin everything that you forgot to put on the fold

7.)  Cut out fabric

8.)  Return to fabric store for more fabric due to cutting on fold

9.)  Do it all again with daughter #2 (who chooses pattern E)

10.) Return to fabric store for more fabric due to cutting front five inches shorter than back (forgetting hem length for pattern E wasn’t the same as pattern A)

11.)  Begin to regret saying yes

Ok, just kidding on that last one (sort of).


I read this quote from The Nester this morning:

Sometimes I do something less than ideal so I can do something else that’s more than ideal.

Granted, she referred to skimping a bit on writing over the summer in order to spend more time with her family.

{Which I am also doing.  In five years when we’re cruising down the highway in the big ole’ rolling turd, just the Mister and I, data will be burned via mifi while I blog my brains out.}

But I’m viewing this quote a bit differently.  To me, this whole sewing deal is less than ideal.

In fact, our sewing experience will go down in history as “THE GREAT PATIENCE-TESTER OF 2016”.

Upon the announcement that we would be taking yet another trip to the fabric store, my husband (not so subtly) commented from his easy chair, “You can buy three dresses for the price it’s costing you to run back and forth to the fabric store and purchase more”.

Well said, Man.



Perspective on summertime patience-testers


The truth is, I’ve spent more hours locked in my study the past few months than I care to admit.

(Granted, I was writing a book–have you sneaked a peek yet?  It’s about overcoming mom frustration and anger.)

(Which I will need to read again as soon as sewing season is over.)

But right now, I am doing something my girls want me to do (at the expense of about 25 new grey hairs per day), because I’m spending time with them.

And time with my girls before they go off and marry and can’t spend one-on-one with me anymore is priceless.

(At least that’s what the commercials say.)

In the past three days since we began our sewing venture, I’ve sat down and laughed ’till I cried twice.  I’ve chatted with my girls about nothing and everything, taught them the importance of the Bee Gees (because who can sew without Pandora ’70’s Scenario Radio), and I think I’ve taught them a few things about sewing.

{Or at least what NOT to do.}

Mom, summer is fleeting fast.  More importantly, your kids are growing faster. What are you not doing with your kid that you know you should do?  What should you put down and take time for before the dog days of summer are over?

How will you meet the challenge of your patience-testers this summertime?

This is not a guilt trip. (I know you’re ready to run off to a remote island right about now.) But give it some thought.  There’s never a better time to capture your season that right now, eh?

I’ll let you know how the sewing goes.  If you hear screaming from over in my neck of the woods, you’ll know.

Featured post from last week’s Link up!

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What's the big deal about Pokemon Go?!


You are never going to believe the post I ran across last week by Holly of While I’m Waiting–she actually LOVES the new (and controversial) Pokemon phone game!  Why?  Because it’s giving her lots of connection time with her son!


So, what do I know about Pokemon Go?  Absolutely nothing except for one thing…if you want HOURS of time with your teen son, get him to download it immediately (I’m guessing he probably already has it downloaded!).

This app has only been out for barely a week but it dominates the conversation between Colby and I.  Anytime I get in the car, he wants to know if he can come.  I don’t care if he’s searching out tiny virtual Pokemon, he’s in the car with ME!  It’s time we have together and that time is hard to come by!  I’ll drive him all over Bryan/College Station if he wants me to!  Read on for more great pics and the fun experiences Holly and her son had last week!


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Comments 5

  1. Ruthie, I loved this so much! My mom was a seamstress. My wardrobe down to my wedding dress all came from her hands. My girls were never interested and I haven’t made anything in years. In fact, I looked at my machine in the basement the other day and wondered if I’d ever use it! And sure, this experience with your girls may have cost more than a shopping trip for dresses but oh, the memories you’re making! Thanks for this! It blessed me!!

    1. Post

      Thank you, friend! So we are kindred spirits in this! Did you know I lost my sewing machine directions, but you can type in the type machine you have and download a PDF off the interweb?! I was pretty pumped about that. It’s been slowwww going since it’s been soooo long. Dress number 2 won’t take near as long as this first one!! Thanks for your kind thoughts! Always good to see you in my neck of the woods!

  2. Ahem … I know this oh, too well. After my own experience learning to sew (I made very few items … And most of the, ended up on the other side of the room at some point during the process) … I sent my girls to summer sewing school to let someone else teach them the RIGHT way. Good stuff here, Ruthie … As always!

    1. Post

      Oh man. Do I ever know about throwing stuff!! UGH. Did I mention I used to sew stuff together that wasn’t supposed to be sewn together?! Like my own clothes I was wearing to the garment I was sewing!! ACK!! Good idea about the summer sewing school…maybe a little too late though…hmmm….;)

  3. Pingback: Count to Nine-Interview with Ruthie Gray - Sweeter than Honey

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