My son's button popped off his coat last week and I immediately whipped out my sewing box and sewed it back on again. I'm proud of this for a number of reasons, not least because I have been wearing a coat for more than a year with a missing button that I have been too lazy to sew back on.
My other son's school jumper needs a few stitches in the cuff, yet I seem to keep forgetting about it until I see him pull it over his head in the morning. I'm mortified sending him to school with a ripped jumper, but it actually matches the unrolled trouser hems that are dragging along the ground, so I guess he has a whole look going on.
My mum will be horrified to read this story as she is one seriously gifted seamstress. She knitted my school jumpers, made me new dresses for every other birthday party I went to as a child and even made my Communion dress. She even made a schoolboy mascot for my brothers' rugby team complete with tiny embroidered school crest and rugby boots with little felt-rolled studs.
From an early age, it was obvious I hadn't inherited mum's skills. Despite being artistic I think I was too lazy to master needlework. I still recall sewing a button on to my school shirt as a teen without lining it up to the buttonhole. Before cutting the thread I realised my error, so simply created a thread extension that saw the button dangle off a 5cm long thread. When closed my shirt gaped indecently but it was hidden beneath my jumper so I didn't care.
Last year, I asked Santa for a sewing machine and signed up to a fantastic sewing class. It proved great fun and I made a stack of simple but lovely covers for my cushions as well as a gorgeous set of bunting for my daughter's bedroom. Most of us were beginners in the class, many new mums, and all of us hoping to pick up skills that mums of old seemed to possess by default.
My mum still takes up trousers for her friends and I've been known to ask her to patch the boys' trousers, fix a hem or do a little job on something that doesn't quite fit. In truth, I wish I could do all these things myself and maybe it's time I went back to sewing class or simply asked mum to show me how.
Hemming trousers requires a different technique to sewing cushions and I want to avoid ruining any garments until I'm au fait with the new stitch. I know the technique would be a valuable life skill, and, seeing as I now own a sewing machine, I don't have much of an excuse for my slovenly ways.
I take heart in the fact that so many of my peers are as domestically challenged as myself, but it doesn't bode well for future generations.
Thankfully, we are passionate cooks in my house and my children will grow up being taught how to cook and bake. I'm hoping they will master these skills and all leave home accomplished cooks, but only time will tell. On the other hand, I honestly fear for the future of their clothes. And my legacy.