Giraffemom:  Where’s Elvis?

Mister Bubby:  He’s eating watermelon naked.

Giraffemom:  Good for him.

I’ve been teaching Princess Zurg to sew.  I was going to say this is like the blind leading the blind, but I actually know a lot more about sewing than I’ve let on.  I know enough about sewing that I can mend clothes, but I have not attempted anything more ambitious than that.  It’s kind of silly to get ambitious about sewing when you don’t have a sewing machine, and it’s kind of silly to get a sewing machine when you’re not ambitious about sewing.

Sewing machines are expensive, as I recall, but I figure I’ll buy one when PZ is ready to take the sewing thing to the HNL.  I think I could even operate a sewing machine, if I had one.  I took Home Ec in the eighth grade (I still don’t remember why I did that, it was so unlike me, but do it I did).  I watched my mother sew a lot.  So I think I could remember how to use a sewing machine.  I wouldn’t be able to thread the bobbin–I’ve never been able to do that–but I could probably figure out the other stuff.  It’s like riding a bike, eh?

I made a skirt in Home Ec.  It was baby blue and so very ugly.  I don’t remember ever wearing it.  But it was my first encounter with a sewing machine that I remember.  My last encounter with a sewing machine was when I was trying to sew my own temple dress.  Now that I think on it, I seem to recall that using a sewing machine was not so much like riding a bike after all.  I think I sewed half of the bodice, and then I had to go do something else.  My mother finished the rest of the dress that afternoon.  Which was fine, because I really only wanted to have the dress, not so much make it.  I was married in that dress and I wore it for ten years, even through four pregnancies (it was high-waisted, with a full skirt–also, I tend to carry my babies just above the knee anyway).  It’s somewhat dilapidated now, so I decided to retire it.  I bought a new temple dress.  It’s wash-and-wear, very pretty.  I won’t be sewing myself a dress in the foreseeable future, especially since there’s no one here to finish it once half of the bodice is done.  Also, I’ve never tried to sew sleeves.  They scare me.

Where I was going with this was this:  PZ has been mending some of her Barbie clothes, and I got the idea that she would enjoy sewing her own Barbie clothes, if only she knew how.  Which made me think, “If only I knew how.”  And that made me think, “Wait a minute, I’m not as dumb about sewing as I make out to be.  I know stuff.  I could teach myself how to make Barbie clothes, and then I could teach PZ, and then she would have herself a fun little activity to channel all her energy into, instead of evil.”

So I figured that I could probably find out about sewing Barbie doll clothes on the internets.  You would think that, wouldn’t you?  What with all the information on the world wide web, somebody somewhere has probably posted something about making your own Barbie clothes.  Right?  Turns out, not so much.  I found lots of sites selling Barbie doll clothes patterns at ten bucks a pop.  The only thing I could find for free was how to make Barbie doll clothes out of old socks, or some such nonsense.  Seriously, lady–socks?  Old socks?  For Barbie?  Please.

So I had to get creative.  I found an article on how to make your own dress patterns.  It was intended for human clothes, but I figured if it worked for humans, it could probably work for Barbie, no?  (The reverse is not often true, of course, but that’s another subject.)  So I took Barbie’s measurements.  She has a 6-inch bust and a 1 1/2-inch waist–which is proportionate to me when I’m pregnant and I confuse my waist with my neck–but this isn’t the place to discuss Barbie’s body issues.  So yeah, I took Barbie’s measurements–the center front line, the shoulder seam line, the whateveryoucallit line–and I wrote them all down, and I tried to make a template from that.  This was one of those situations where the ability to visualize 2-D objects in 3-D is really helpful.  I am somewhat deficient in that category.  My strength in linear math did not help me.

So I had to get more “hands-on,” as they say.  I draped some fabric around Barbie and estimated where cuts should be made, and I tried to make a template that way.  It was more successful than the pure-math attempt, but it left much to be desired.  I must have made four different Barbie bodices–whole ones, not just half-ones–before I ended up with one that was almost perfect.  Technically, almost perfect is perfect enough for me.  I was so pleased with myself that I made Barbie a skirt (she has 4 3/4 inch hips), and I was so pleased with myself then that I attached the skirt to the bodice, and behold, Barbie was clothed!  Not in high fashion apparel, as I was working with remnants of an old bed sheet, but it would have made a darn fine temple dress.  Except there were no sleeves.  Sleeves still scare me.

I can’t tell you the sense of accomplishment I felt.  Such triumph over tools and raw materials–all with my own little brain and hands.  I tried to share the joy with my husband, but you know men.  He didn’t really seem to “get it,” you know?  I sewed a dress, mate.  A freaking dress. He said he was happy for me, that he could tell it made me feel like more of a woman–but that wasn’t it.  I felt like a fashion designer!  It was like a whole new world had been opened to me.  I could sew Barbie clothes.  I could teach my daughter to sew Barbie clothes.  We could sew Barbie formal gowns, cocktail dresses, full skirts, straight skirts, A-line skirts–the possibilities were endless!  Everyone bow before the Barbie-dress master!  Don’t mess with me, girl, or I’ll go Vera Wang on your 4 3/4-inch @$$.

Now, if only I had time to do this again.  Then we’d really be in business.