Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sloppy Craft

Photo courtesy Flickr


Perhaps the term should be “mock up”. Mocking is in order for my recent attempts at fabricating pillow cases. I let my sewing machine go a few years ago, having grown tired of dusting the case and toting it off to be tuned. Sewing is not a cost-effective activity for me.

The Great Big Northern European Home Furnishings Chain used to sell white waffle-weave short staple cotton dish towels, and I picked up a ton of them when I returned a rug too late to qualify for a cash refund. The towels are honeys all, and last summer I wanted pillow shams for a bed so that it would look presentable during the day. I didn’t want to bother with a sewing project, and the new dishtowels looked like promising candidates for casual bedding.

I hot-glued a pair of shams, and they’ve worked well through a number of washings. The waffle-weave cotton is very comfortable in hot weather.

A couple of years ago, I used a remnant of unsized artist’s portrait linen as a support for experimental writing with archival quality markers. It was fun, and the unpremeditated project sat around waiting for me to figure out how to use the goods. Another pillow sham shortage developed in another space, and I hot-glued seams with the raw edges out. Now I have a small collection of talking pillow shams, reminiscent of some of the most vulgar products of the 1930s. I hope my language is a little more edifying, though. The random statements generated by cutting and fabricating the original piece of linen are like overheard mutterings on the bus. The work suits the room it’s in, and I can always salvage the fine linen and use it in another application.

If I really cared to sew by hand, I’d hunt up a piece of beeswax to stabilize the thread, use a needle of the right size to pass between individual threads rather than splitting them, and be sure to have the leading end of the thread off the spool be the trailing end of the thread on the needle. If I were being furiously exact, I’d dull the needle ever so slightly to protect the threads of the weave. If this stuff matters to you, hunt up London’s Royal School of Needlework. They’ll really know what they’re doing.

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