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BellaOnline Literary Review


Sewing Hotline

Sue Ellis


"Gran! I´m so glad you´re home. I´m at my wit´s end with this fairy costume I´m sewing for Tina."

"Do you want me to finish it for you?"

"No, you´ve got enough to do, but if you could explain the instructions to me. The problem is these bell-shaped sleeves. I´m trying to fit one onto the bodice, and it´s not going well. I sewed basting stitches along the sleeve cap, just as I was supposed to, but--just a second, let me find the instruction sheet--here it is--it says: pin sleeve to bodice, right sides together, matching notches and circles, easing to fit. What in the world does ´easing to fit´ mean?"

"It means you´ve got to force that sleeve to fit, Love."


"Pull the basting thread to gather up the cap part of the sleeve, just enough so the cap will fit between the notches on the bodice. It won´t fit nicely, mind--you´ll have a few puckers, but it´ll go together well enough to suit a third grader in a spring pageant, I imagine."

"Oh, but Gran, I wanted it to be perfect. How did women manage in the old days when they had to sew all their dresses?"

"I believe that was when we invented the shawl."

"Ha! What would I do without you?"

"Why I imagine you´d cut the thing up for rags, like the sensible woman I know you are, and brew yourself a cuppa´ tea. I´ve got an old fairy-looking dress that was your mother´s when she was about Tina´s age. Come on over and I´ll show it to you."

"I like your tea, Gran. Have you got any of that lovely peach brandy?"

"Not precisely the same bottle perhaps ..."

"Be there in half an hour."

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