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Forget Homemade Costumes, Most Moms Can’t Even Sew

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Where did Home Economics fail us? It taught us how to crack an egg. It gave us a general understanding of sewing, with the lasting lesson being that it’s nearly impossible to thread a sewing machine correctly. Honestly, who put that thing together? There’s absolutely no logic behind those random loops and bobbins. Home Ec, the easiest of all electives, was meant to teach us how to live on our own. But most of us seemed to agree that sewing wasn’t exactly a necessary life skill.

Now, it’s possible that you had a mother and grandmother like mine, who actually made their own clothes at one time. They have Singer sewing machines that see more than dust. They never have to take their pants to be hemmed, because they can actually run downstairs and do it the morning before they want to wear them. These wonderful ladies taught me the basics of sewing and are still happy to give me a little lesson when a seam pops on a dress I bought two weeks ago.

Or you could be like some of my wonderful friends who throw away a shirt because it’s missing a button. Honestly, one loose button can make a piece of clothing useless to them! Recently, a friend was lamenting a fleece blanket she agreed to make her son. She has a sewing machine that she’s not quite sure how to use, so she ended up hand-sewing a 4ft by 3ft blanket. That’s 14ft of stitching by hand. That’s a whole lot of craziness! This blanket might have taken an hour with a sewing machine, by the time you pinned the fabric and ran it through. Instead, she worked on it at night for a month.

Apparently, this time of year generates a whole lot of homemade vs. store-bought costume debate. But I don’t think “homemade” is really the word to describe these costumes. They’re not really made, they’re kind of foraged. Most moms I know simply can’t make clothing.

When I was a kid, my mother actually sewed a pink unicorn costume. The fabric was the color of bubblegum and thicker than wool, because she wanted it to last through multiple Halloweens. I think my sister and I both wore that costume twice, just to make sure that it was appreciated. I also distinctly remember a huge, green dragon’s costume with a two-foot tail that got trampled if during the Halloween parade. These costumes were actually homemade. My mom bought the fabric (and probably a pattern) and constructed these things.

Now, a homemade costume is anything that you don’t pull out of a bag with the character’s picture on the front. If you find an old flannel shirt, a bandanna at Goodwill and a cowboy hat at the mall, it’s considered a homemade costume. Ditto on the torn hand-me-downs and creepy face paint on a zombie. Bonus points for crimped hair, crazy hair.

I know that I’m not speaking about every mom out there. Those DIY mommy bloggers are a dedicated bunch and I’m sure their sewing machines see plenty of action. But for the majority of moms, sewing a costume isn’t even a consideration. Because sewing really isn’t in the repertoire.