March 30, 2007

Mad Skillz

I had to bust out the sewing machine early this year. Usually, it follows soon after I unpack the summer clothes (in order to ensure wiggle room for the new season), but my sad, sad backpack needed a little Botox—or rather, collagen. Years of wearing it the in the “cool,” non-beaten-up-getting way (i.e. over one shoulder) have resulted in one seldom-used, puffy-with-life shoulder strap—and one flat, flaccid flap of fabric that, while awesomely alliterative, needed some serious TLC.

I have had this backpack for literally longer than I can remember; I know it accompanied me in my tirades against Heart of Darkness as gay maritime porn in my high school AP English class, but I have a rusty memory of it being given to me sometime before that. I don’t have any particular affection for it; it serves its purpose, intrepidly sporting the same goth patches and protest buttons it has since my campus days, and that I can’t be bothered to remove. However, for being nearly a decade old, it remarkably shows no real signs of wear; thus, despite failing one of the main tenants of its existence—to transport heavy things comfortably—I cannot throw it out.

Those who know me know that 1) I will make my fingers bleed altering an item if it means I do not have to buy a new one, and 2) I get an odd, fuzzy, Laura Ingalls Wilder feeling out of making something myself. So, after six months* of the dental floss-like “strap” machete-ing its way into my newly-protrudent collarbone, I decided it was time to switch the two straps. I’d been putting it off, since I was pretty sure the sewing would be a cinch (ha! no? eh), but the ripping would be a two-ton bitch. Those who are always right are seldom happy. Ow.

I don’t really mind the odd non-sterile needle jab to the index finger, since having a thing that exactly suits my needs gives me such a sick thrill. I have had to alter clothing since my teens, when wearing hand-me-down was bearable if they made you look only halfway as dumpy as a Polish maiden aunt. My mother and grandmother, an indefatigable couture team churning out outfits at least as fast as offspring, kept all six of us dressed in whatever embarrassing fetish we had latched onto that week (hi, succession of ruffly dresses with dinosaur patterns!); becoming an ace sew-er by the time I was twelve seemed hardwired into my DNA.

And a good thing, too, since the nation that bore me is completely incompetent when it comes to clothing me. I can see how a jacket cut for the shoulders of John Travolta and the waist of Bette Davis would not readily be found in most clothing stores. But also not standard are pants cut for a 5’ 4” torso-stunted woman, leaving me with a “choice” between pre-growth spurt Huck Finn or Skipper raiding Barbie’s casualwear. And the new capris? Forget it. Invention of tall people who didn’t look good in the Laura Petrie originals (I, being the height of your average pygmi, can passably wear the current capris as slacks if I low-ride them). The fact that I can rock the Lauras has been rendered moot, now that they have been eradicated from the globe by types who are bitter about getting rained on first.**

I appreciate that I am built like a tanker, solid and low in the water, and that designing for a wide range of body types can only go so far before specialty stores are needed. However. Can we show the short curvy sistas just a little more love? We shouldn’t have to develop our tradesman’s skills in order to not be naked.

Even if it means swinging our bags over our shoulders with cheeky satisfaction.

* 3) Lazy.
** And who, as soon as I find a stepladder, are all getting lit matches in their back pockets.


crdrue said...

So what kind of backpack revamp is planned? If it were me, I'd use a roll of electric tape and hot-water pipe insulation.

We need pictures. Action shots with sweat, blood and seam-rippers appreciated.

Beedoo said...

Dude, I just switched the right and left straps--the Before and After would look like mirror images. Also, as if the backpack weren't unphotogenic enough, it's black. A picture was not going to turn out well.

Also, I thought I could cut the tedium of a sewing post in half if I omitted photos.

Jason said...

You can't just throw away a perfectly good backpack, thats just unamerican. By the way my blog is up and running. See you soon.