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."
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Beth - Badge magic? Now you tell me. What I did was no where near magical.
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.
Colour me impressed, I can't even sew a button! That's a lot of patches!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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