August 25, 2021

working my fingers to the bone, almost literally

I'm on a mission. Curly has an Irish dancing school jacket with the school's name across the back. Every time she goes to a big competition she gets a patch. Organized dance moms promptly sew these patches (or hire someone to attach them) on the back of their kid's jacket. 

Me:  (stands to the side, hands behind back, whistling, looking towards the sky, tracing an arc with her toe . . . finally faces my readers who are glancing at me with a look of disbelief . . .) 'I was busy, damn it'.

The older kids didn't dance in as many 'big' competitions - typically one a year versus Curly's three a year. We have some patches from the older guys' dancing days. We often have 3 or more copies of the early-day patches, because I had several dancers at once. 

If you ever want to see a frazzled woman:  follow a dance mom of 5 dancers around a HUGE venue trying to get each kid to the appropriate stage by herself. Nightmare. I once put Curly's number on Reg. Oops. I could go on and on with my stage-side mishaps.

Anyway, I have a drawer in my laundry room that held the patches. I never sewed patches on a jacket . . . Ed started dancing in 2008. Maybe I was waiting for the kids to grow so I didn't have to move all of the patches from a small jacket to a big jacket following a growth spurt. Maybe I was waiting because I thought we might change schools (we are on our 3rd and final school). Maybe I just didn't bother.

Translation:  I wasn't the crazy dance mom that I am now. There, I said it. Happy?

So, I have a ton of patches from the early years. Curly was still in diapers. I asked her if she wanted me to sew the unused sibling patches on her jacket too. 

"It'd look as if you started competing as a prodigy at the age of 2 or 3." 

She declined. 

I may or may not  be considering sewing the extra patches, even those in triplicate, on a jacket for myself just to show off my 'been-doing-this-longer-than-most-of-you' status. Please feel free to weigh in on how ultra-cool you think that might be. And if we're going there, we may as well envision me cutting up the dancing dresses that hang in my closet. They cost a small fortune but I haven't been able to resell because of constant changing fads (blood pressure rising rapidly). What'd ya say I use the cut up pieces of now-outta-date-dresses to fashion a fancy long trench coat for myself. Can you see it "Ernie and her amazing Celtic technicolor coat"?

Anyway, I lined up Curly's patches. Pinned them in place. Re-pinned them if I didn't like the spacing. Allowed room for other patches from upcoming competitions that we aren't sure are going to happen - even though I hope that she retires soon, early retirement will now leave the patches all lopsided. Trying not to get obsessive, but this is a work of art. It's tough to plan for other patches when we just don't know how many patches she'll end up with due to pandemic AND as-of- yet unspecified retirement. 

Then I gave my brain a break and started sewing. 

You know what's fun? Trying to jam a needle through an embroidered patch. Yes, I'm using a thimble to complete the grandma persona I've previously painted for all of you. Still, not an easy thing. Then I try to reach under the jacket to find the needle stab myself with the needle as it comes back through. In this 'feeling-for-the-needle' mode, I inadvertently run my hand across the protruding pins from the other positioned patches. 

Have I told you about my incredibly low threshold for pain? It's a thing. Not sure if there is a label for my 'condition' other than wussy. 

If anyone needs to test that I am indeed O negative, come over. I'm leaking bloody droplets all over the place. 

But damn, isn't her jacket fabulous? 

I think Mini still has girl scout patches that I never sewed floating around her mudroom locker. Weird because I know how to sew. Yes, I suck. 


Amy said...

You're not alone! I have a sewing side business that's mostly sewing motorcycle patches on vests, but also hems, repairs and quite a few girl scout vests. It's not that people don't know how to sew, they just don't want to. I'm just weird in that I like sewing. And it's easier to do all that with a machine - hand sewing patches is awful. Your poor fingers!

Beth Cotell said...

I definitely would have paid someone to do that! You did a great job. I used a product called Badge Magic for Peter's and Sarah's scout badges. I doubt that would work on a coat though.

Cheryl said...

Super glue those patches on...just kidding.

With all the dance dresses you have, did you ever think about selling them on eBay? I just looked and there are several listed at some good prices. Maybe you can recoup some of the expense. Selling on eBay is pretty easy.

Ernie said...

Amy - What a cool side business, because I think people NEED your services. I have a machine and I know how to work it . . . I just couldn't bring myself to sew them that way because I feared it'd look sloppy and if I messed up the stitches would be IMPOSSIBLE to take out. Maybe I'll give the last remaining patches the machine treatment and see what happens.

Ernie said...

Beth - Badge magic? Now you tell me. What I did was no where near magical.

Ernie said...

Cheryl - There is something called fabric glue. Hmm. I think I would've messed that up and glued the sleeves together or something.

I'm not afraid of ebay. I just don't think there would be much interest in the ANCIENT out outdated dresses I have. There is a facebook page where people sell them. I actually did sell Curly's most recent dress there over the summer. It's a crap shoot.

Nicole MacPherson said...

Colour me impressed, I can't even sew a button! That's a lot of patches!

Ernie said...

Nicole - Ha. Most of those patches were in a drawer in the laundry room, but a few were scattered and gathering them and organizing them in a chronological order was half the battle.

Anonymous said...

I also know how to sew, but getting all of the stuff out and the repeated self-stabbing, such a chore!
I 100% think you should sew all of the leftover patches to a jacket for yourself, after all, you’ve EARNED them too. But maybe stick with a black jacket like Curly’s and skip the retired dance dress jacket, too much more stabbing involved with creating that.
I also suffer from the very low pain tolerance. But, I am a red head and have seen scientific articles that say people with red hair tend to require more sedation, Novocain at the dentist, etc. so I blame it on that.

Ernie said...

Anonymous - It IS tempting to get myself a jacket with my extra 'earned' patches. Some of the moms . . . well, they think they know all the stuff about dancing and I just internally roll my eyes. Been here, done that - forevah.

I hadn't heard that about red heads. I have NO EXCUSE. Just wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.

I still have my old dress from when I danced. The dresses of today look NOTHING like this anymore. When Mini was shopping for a dress we sent a pic of her wearing my old dress to her teacher, as if we'd found the perfect dress for her. Fortunately the teacher didn't have a stroke before we told her it was just a joke.

Bibliomama said...

Yeah, you've got six kids, you are literally busy and I would never judge. And sewing patches on sounds incredibly frustrating and painful. And Ernie's technicolour Celtic coat is funny and would be awesome (but you're too busy).

Ernie said...

Ali -You said it. Part of me wants to be known as the funky weird Irish dancing mom who shows up to competitions wearing her own bedazzled jacket full of patches.

Suz said...

I can sympathize on what a pain in the ass patches are to sew through as my girls were Girl Scouts. Of course, we didn’t move them from vest to vest, but a huge pain to sew even once.
I remember one of my scouts showed up to a meeting and her patches were stapled on her vest. Me thinking: that’s not a horrible idea!

I do t know how you managed all the kids performing at the same time——it’s mind boggling that you even know your own name at this point.

Ernie said...

Suz - I hope the mom that stapled the patches got a box of free girl scout cookies for being an innovator. I applaud her.

Oh my gosh - when I was growing up big families at Irish dancing events were the norm. Nowadays, if you have more than 2 dancers you should be awarded something, put on a pedestal, worshipped. I say this as I am down to one dancer and I look at families with more than one dancer and I shudder.

Speaking of dancing . . . I'm posting my own dance moves on tomorrow's post and I'm hoping I don't lost any friends over this leap of faith (pun intended).