By Marla Walters
Our children learn what we model . . . so if they see us struggling, and then practicing patience, so will they.
Several weeks ago, I began to write an article for a very simple sewing project, an apron. I selected pattern Butterick 4119 and purchased fabric for two aprons. As any good seamstress does, I pre-shrunk the cotton fabrics and ironed the fabric prior to cutting out the pattern.
I laid out my fabric. And as we teach children: I measured twice; cut once—after playing with the layout to see if any fabric could be saved somewhere. I long ago learned that fabric scraps will eventually be wonderful for patchwork quilts.
All was going fine until two things happened. First, my laptop died. For those who have not been through this experience, the lesson is: back everything up. The second mishap was that my sewing machine, which had just turned 33, decided it would only do a zig-zag stich and sew backwards. For an impatient person, these were both upsetting events. I love to write, and I love to sew. I could do neither.
I am not, by nature, a patient person. I am a git-’er-done type. Having to wait for a sale to buy a new laptop, and then for the sewing machine repairman to have a look at my Kenmore, were both irritating. Why? I have always prided myself on getting things done, and quickly. And then, I read this:
“The end of something is better than the beginning. Patience is better than the pride” (Ecclesiastes 7:8).
I had to regroup. My first step was to swallow that pride and write to my editor here at Molly Green, whose name is also, coincidentally, Marla. She was so lovely and patient about my inability to accomplish something on time, that I had committed to. It was a reminder that I needed to slow down; that people are really kind and good-hearted.
Secondly, waiting for that laptop sale wasn’t all that bad. I was able to purchase a much higher-quality computer than I had previously owned, at a great price.
Third, I met the nicest sewing-machine repairman, who lovingly restored my old machine. But in the meantime, I got out my grandmother’s Singer Featherweight and we got reacquainted. I spent a lot of time thinking about my grandmother and what her Depression-era life was like.
And finally, back to the aprons. They weren’t easy, which also hurt my pride. I fought with the tension on the old sewing machine, had thread break frequently, and discovered that our tropical climate is making a lot of my pins and needles rust. It was a trial.
I still think aprons are a wonderful project, especially for kids. Cooking is a messy business, and to protect clothes, an apron is
a very practical project. The sewing on an apron is all “straight sewing,” which is good for beginners. When selecting a pattern, make sure you choose one meant for “easy” or “beginning” sewers.
The most tedious part of aprons is turning the apron ties. This YouTube video has a great way to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXhA7rvsSz4.
While I am grateful to have finished my aprons, and finally, this post, I think the more important message was in learning more about patience. There can be value in unexpected interruptions, if we look for them. There can be blessings in learning new things and meeting new people through trying situations. There can be growth and strengthening of our character while enduring circumstances we did not choose.
As I said at the beginning, our children learn what we model . . . so if they see us struggling, and then practicing patience, so will they. Let’s give it a try, shall we?
Marla Walters and her husband are Hawaii transplants. They have one grown daughter, several spoiled pets, and live near an overactive volcano.