I admit it. I almost flunked the sewing semester of my sophomore year in Home Economics. I couldn’t (still can’t) sew or measure fabric, and you need both of these skills to make a peasant blouse, and peasant blouses were all the rage in 1975. I actually had daydreams of my blouse being the prettiest of the entire class. Total fail.
The pathetic excuse for a top went into the Salvation Army bag upon entering our house, my parents couldn’t even feign praise, it was that bad. Ma Mowers let me draw my own design for a bell bottomed plaid pant suit for extra credit, otherwise, I would have failed the class for sure. God love her.
I did redeem myself with the best Baked Alaska in the cooking section, even if my stoned cooking buddy tried to eat all the meringue before I could get it in the oven. Sweet redemption, but if only I could have learned how to sew.
So, when this adorable little seamstress’s chair caught my eye at a nearby consignment shop recently, I could not contain myself. If I can’t sew, I can at least have a 1950’s seamstress’s chair! It would be perfect for our bedroom, low to the ground, original vinyl fabric, just a tiny rip in the top — I can reupholster that, right? The top is hinged with a place for my sewing supplies underneath, you know, the little baggie with a few spools of thread and some random needles, or if nothing else, my slippers. Heaven, I tell you, this chair was a seamstress-wannabe’s heaven.
It was marked $35, and my hands were damp as I tried to steel my nerves to wrangle the price. If twinsie had been with me, she’d have walked up and said, “How much will you take for this chair?”
Not me. I’m not a wrangler any more than I’m a sewer, but I was going to get that chair for a good price. I stood looking at it with what I had hoped looked like a furrowed brow.
“Oh, you like the sewing chair, I see,” the young lady stopped texting long enough to note me standing in front of her with the chair beside me.
“I do, but it does have a rip in the cushion here,” I said, poking my fingers into the tear.
“But, you don’t often see a chair that is the perfect height for a sewing machine table.”
Hmmmmm, furrowed brow for real. “Well, actually, I could be wrong, but I think this is a seamstress’s chair from the 50’s, so when a woman was standing on a platform, the seamstress could sit on the chair and pin the hem of a dress up and make other alterations.”
“Oh.” Obviously impressed with my astute mid-century decorating style and sewing knowledge.
“I’ll give you thirty.” I said jumping in with the wrangle.
“Hmm,” she hesitated, looking at the piece with new awareness and a quick glance at the text that came on her phone. “Okay. But you got a great deal for this 1950’s seamstress’s chair.”
Yep, I sure did.
Hubby liked it when I texted him a pic, but was not so impressed when he saw the rip in the vinyl.
“No big deal, I can reupholster that,” I said, lifting the top to show him how easily I could remove the lid and the fabric. God love him for not laughing out loud at me. “I just need a staple gun!”
Now, I was talking his language!
Off to Lowe’s we go. Two hours later, we are on our way to Joann’s Fabrics with me clutching my new staple gun and staples in my hand.
We easily chose the fabric among the million bolts of cloth in that store, design is where it’s at for me, I know what I’m looking for, and I just pointed hubby in the right direction, and let him choose. Perfection. Yes, we are perfect together, if you don’t mind me saying.
“I think we’ll need about 3 yards, to be safe.” I told him as he grabbed a number. He looked at it, number 99, looked at the number being served, 86.
“Where you getting this “we” thing? This is your baby,” he said as he grabbed a chair by the sewing class table.
“True,” I said. “I think I’ll get three yards to be on the safe side.”
When our number was called, I watched as she measured the fabric, holy cow, three yards is a lot of fabric! I was thinking 36 inches is a yard, right? Who knew it could fit a king sized bed?
Then, we were on our way home as the sun was setting with the perfect fabric and my new staple gun. I was armed and ready to go.
I took out literally a hundred or more rusted staples. I was careful to not harm the rolled vinyl trim, so I could reuse it to coordinate it with the rest of the chair. This was advice I got from my sewing friends, it’s good to get advice from the experts. I’m no fool.
Then, I cut the fabric. I had to use my kitchen shears which I tell everyone not to use on anything but kitchen things, but they are the best scissors we have, so… I found out that they aren’t the best to use on fabric, but with so much extra fabric, it really didn’t matter if the cut wasn’t perfect.
I called for Rick to help me center the fabric perfectly. This took a lot of time, we are meticulous at stuff like this, and when it was perfectly centered, I began stapling and wouldn’t you know it? The staple gun didn’t work. I tried taking out and putting back in the staples. I studied the little picture on the stapler of how to load the staples, the staples were in right. I tried again but the staple gun would not work.
I was perplexed.
Out to the garage I went, I find some cardboard in the recycle bin, and I removed and reinserted the staples again. I even tried new staples, nothing. I was just shooting the darn thing into the cardboard like a wild woman. Then, I realized that there were a bunch of staples on the cardboard. Ooops, I was using the wrong side of the staple gun. Now, it’s definitely a miracle from God above that I didn’t staple a body part or a pet somehow in this learning process.
Rick didn’t say a word. We were back in business.
Another hour of wrangling, and stapling and voila! We did it, with an emphasis on we. We had a sweet little seamstress’s chair for a girl who never learned to sew.