This is part one of a random series of posts that I suspect I will resort to when the blank bloggy screen mocks me with its un-filled-up-ness. I may also start a series on "Words that should exist but don't so I am inventing them. Stop laughing." I will see how I feel.
Anyway, number one on this list is: I wish I could sew. In an absolutely ideal world I would be able to make my own clothes, so that when I had the idle thought of "I could really do with a plain black skirt about so long, with pockets, and maybe some cool button-y detail", I could do something about it that did not involved traipsing round clothes shops (yuck) looking for stuff that will not make me look like Jabba the Hut's less attractive sister and having to go into changing rooms and try said stuff on before rejecting it on the basis of the said resemblance to siblings of Jabba the Hut. (Wow. That was a long sentence. Are you all still breathing okay?)
A friend/flatmate from university days had a friend who could do this sort of stuff and I was very jealous. She could say "I would really love a long, gathered grey skirt that has lots of fabric in it and reaches down almost to my black pointy goth-type shoes" (it was the Eighties after all) and lo and behold, her pal would come up with the goods.
Or my friend B. from school days who was really arty and could draw and sketch and paint AND make clothes. She made my wedding dress for me. Based on my very clear and comprehensible instructions along the lines of "Long, silk, cream/ivory, sleeves, no foofy stuff. Well maybe a bow. A small one. Maybe." B. took this in her stride, looked me up and down and produced a drawing of a design that up until then had only existed in my head. She then made the dress for me from scratch, without ever going near me with a tape measure (a dangerous endeavour at the best of times) and with minimial alteration. I loved it. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to do that whenever you felt like it?
Frankly I would be happy just to be able to take up hems neatly, sew on the odd button/name tape (OMG the name tapes on the boys' uniforms!) or make minor alterations. But I can't. I am hopeless with a needle. Well actually, I can thread a needle really well, really quickly. But then I don't have a clue what to do with it.
I was pretty good at school - most subjects I did well in. The academic stuff was fine, PE I managed by dint of being a reasonable swimmer and badminton player and remarkably good at conning my way out of everything else. Cookery, or "food and nutrition" as it was then known I got by in because I was an okay cook even if I tended not to follow the recipes properly. Sewing however - sorry, "fabric and fashion" - I bombed in. Just useless.
The first item of clothing we were supposed to make was a really basic skirt and I failed before I got anywhere near a needle by cutting out two fronts instead of a front and a back. Teacher sighed and cut out a back for me. I signed my F&F death warrant, however, when I went to the sewing machine to sew the seams in said skirt. And threaded the machine with elastic thread (I think the kind of thread you use when you do that sort of gathered elasticated stuff). My teacher could not believe I was so dense as to do this by accident and decided instead that I was obviously trying to be funny. I was thrown out of the class, to the relief of all.
I like to think that I was just a victim of the last vestiges of institutional sexism as only us girls had to do Fabric and Fashion and Food and Nutrition. The boys got to do Woodwork and Technical Drawing, which would have been much more fun. If I could screw up threading a sewing machine, imagine the havoc I could have wreaked with a circular saw!
All of which is a long way of explaining why it's not really my fault that I am sitting here wearing my nice almost-designer grey trousers, the hems of which are currently held up with sellotape.