April McGowan

Say It Isn’t So (Sew)

SingerDo you ever find it’s hard to live up to someone else’s expectations? Although you may be embarrassed to admit it, you just can’t quite measure up?

My daughter has been in more than a couple events that required costumes. As the mom, the ‘stay-at-home homeschooling mom’ no less, it’s assumed as rolls are handed out, that I can sew. To which I always find myself in a bit of a conundrum.

I come from a long line of seamstresses. My grandmothers sewed, one of them quite expertly. My Mom1 sews pretty well. My Mom2 was a professional seamstress (and still is, but now she only does it for ‘fun’). All of these wonderful women tried to teach me to sew. My Mom2 even gave me a brilliant sewing machine to use. They were all patient, and caring and encouraging in their instruction.

And yet…

The other day my daughter went through my sewing kit and found a bag inside. “What’s this?” She held up a sack and proceeded to dump the contents out. I knew what was inside—I didn’t need to watch.

“A baby bib,” I responded rather quietly—trying not to look at my failure.

“For who?” She held up the tiny circular bib with teddy bears on it, edging hanging askew.

“You.” Keep in mind, my daughter is fifteen.

You’ve got that right, I can’t sew. Well, I take that back, I can sew rectangular things-like tablecloths and curtains and pillow cases. But, as for the aforementioned circular bib-no. Doll clothes? Nuh-uh. Dresses? Let’s not go there.

Sometimes it’s hard to admit you’re beat. At other times though, I’d love to wear a sweatshirt that says, “Yep, I’m a mom who isn’t crafty and who doesn’t sew!” just to get startled looks from people. Because, really, I do get them. (I would naturally have to BUY the sweatshirt).

As I’m maturing, though, I’m learning that it’s okay not to be able to do everything. God made me for a particular purpose, with gifts and talents and it doesn’t mean I have to live up to other people’s expectations of me—just His. That sure takes off a lot of pressure when I remember that.

As I put the half-sewn bib carefully back into the sack (with about three others I had cut out) she wondered why I didn’t just give it away. I shrugged, but in the back of my mind, there was that nagging voice saying I might be able to finish them in time for grandchildren one day in the far future. Well, you never know…


  1. Lynn Trachte
    Mar 18, 2013

    I have to admit, that early on when we were getting to know you that I was surprised you didn’t know how to sew. You had told me you were an interior design major and I thought all interior design majors were required to sew. Also, where I grew up, all girls were required to take a sewing class in junior high. The truth is, my mother had already taught me the basics of sewing at home. Anyway, I didn’t think anything less of you. Although I know how to sew, my sewing machine sits in storage somewhere in this house because I don’t enjoy sewing. Both of us can hire someone who loves to sew and is good at it and can use the work!

    • April
      Mar 18, 2013

      Hiring someone sounds perfect! 🙂 Interior Decorators might be required to know how to sew–I have no idea on that one. Interior Designers are more in the space planning and design side of things rather than the hands on creation of items (although I do enjoy working with wood and sculpting!). I do know about fibers and materials and can tell you what kinds of woods go with what 🙂 I used to be quite expert in building codes (but that was many moons ago!) and I can usually pick out a load bearing wall pretty fast 🙂

  2. elainemanders
    Mar 19, 2013

    It’s good to hear I’m not the only one who’s not perfect. I used to sew, for my daughter, her clothes, costumes, and then the grandchildren, not so much. The last project I started was a dress for my granddaughter and I didn’t finish it. The enthusiasm had died, but that’s when the Lord started pointing me to writing. He knew I wouldn’t have time for both. We use the gifts we’re given, when they’re given.

  3. April
    Mar 19, 2013

    That’s true, Elaine–a season for most things. I don’t know if I’ll ever be seasoned enough to start sewing up a storm–but there are other things, I’m sure, that I’ll try!

  4. Darlis Sailors
    Mar 24, 2013

    I admire people who can sew, but as my High School Home Ec teacher would attest, I am the only student she ever had who put the bobbin in backwards and when I cut the material along with the “tacs” she just shook her head. Sewing is not my thing either. You and I are kindred spirits in the (non)sewing department.

    • April
      Mar 24, 2013

      Glad to meet another kindred spirit! Or…sorry to, as the case may be. But, we can do other things well, and that’s what’s important! Good thing there are folks out there that can make stuff for us! Blessings. 🙂

  5. Christine
    Apr 3, 2013

    Loved this article. I too am NOT a seamstress and don’t even own a sewing machine. However I can more relate in other areas like even homeschooling. I don’t think I was cut out for it. Tried it for a bit, but no thank you. I love you April! I have always felt so unconditionally accepted by you regardless! And this article is just another smile from you.

    • April
      Apr 3, 2013

      That’s so sweet, Christine, and I’m glad. 🙂 We all have our gifted areas. I do okay teaching my kids, Ken’s more of a natural at it–but I don’t enjoy teaching other’s children. Makes me panic just thinking about it! LOL Many blessings!

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