Sunday, November 28, 2004

Hemming and Hawing

I went through my closets earlier this year and cleaned out all the clothes that didn’t fit anymore. I would usually keep a few outfits just in case I put weight on again, but didn’t want to defeat myself with this behaviour, so dutifully gave them away. After all, this is not a diet I am on, but a life-style change and this time it is going to stick. I would not need those clothes again and someone else could use them, so out they must go.

Now that the Christmas season is here, we have dinner invitations and other functions to attend, plus we want to entertain here at home, so festive attire is required. Seeing as my old party togs are now having a celebration at the Sally Ann, I hit the stores to find a new pair of pants that I could dress up or down depending on the occasion. I found the perfect pair - black corduroy with a red undertone. They could be made to look dressy with a fancy top and pretty shoes, or very casual with a sweater and boots. Yep – perfect. Well except for one thing. They were a tad too long. That’s easy enough to fix, just hem them an inch and they will be fine. Right? Sounds pretty simple and straightforward doesn’t it? Wrong! Nothing is ever simple when it comes to hemming pants.

It isn’t the actual task of hemming that I mind, it is getting them the right length. I pin them up, try them on and think they are fine, so I sew the hem and try them on again and they seem a tad too short. Or I wash them once and they shrink just that little bit and end up being way too short. Of course, after washing, the hem now has a mark in it and spots from the needle and thread too. Grrrr!

The saleslady at the store suggested that I wash them first and then hem them. I thought about doing that, but it didn’t help me find the perfect length, and I also wanted to wear them right away so I settled for plan B. Big mistake!

Plan B
- My youngest daughter has been known to hem her blue jeans with duck tape, and she says it works fine and stays in place until the first washing. Hmmmmm? Maybe I should try that.

I cut four pieces of duck tape for each hem – front, back, inner and outer sides - and turned the pants up to what I thought was the perfect length. I wore them around that day and felt they were too short, so I took the tape off and lengthened them and got my outfit ready to wear to a dinner party the next evening. These pants could take me anywhere – out for an afternoon of shopping with a friend or dressed up for a dinner party. I would look and feel great whatever occasion it was. Yahoo.

The next night we got gussied up and set off for an evening of fun and I must say, I looked spectacular in my new outfit. When we got to the house I took off my boots and put my slippers on. It was then that I noticed that one piece of tape had come undone so I quietly tucked the hem up again and pressed it firmly in place. Not a major problem. Oh sure!

We sat in the family room talking and I crossed my legs and noticed the tape had come lose again. Oh dear. I bent over and pretended to scratch my foot with one hand while I fixed the tape with the other. There, all fixed! The conversation moved along and I forgot all about the sticky situation or should I say non-sticky situation. We got up from the couch to move into the kitchen and I heard a ripping sound. The hem of my pant leg had become stuck to the carpet. Did anyone else see what was happening? Nobody mentioned it as they sauntered off to the other room, so I lagged behind to try to fix the hem. Only problem was, now the tape had carpet fibres all over it, and it wouldn’t stick to anything again. Ever! So, there it was hanging down and flashing silver. I tried to quietly remove it, but the part still stuck to the outer pant was really stuck and wouldn’t budge. I folded the tape up and hoped for the best. Maybe the other three pieces of tape would be strong enough to hold the hem up and allow me to get by for the rest of the evening. Wrong! From there it just went from bad to worse. Throughout the night all the other pieces of tape came lose and I had tape stuck to my sock, slipper, carpet, kitchen floor - everywhere but to the inside of my pant leg. The part on the outside was stuck but good though and wouldn’t come off. So there I was, with four pieces of silver duct flapping merrily on the bottom of each very festive, red and black pant leg. Not a pretty sight!

I thought the best thing to do was to fess up to what I had done, laugh at myself and go from there. The hostess thought that this was the funniest thing she had every seen or heard. Being an expert seamstress she just couldn’t fathom that anyone would even attempt to tape up a hem. She seemed very pleased that she had a good story to take to the office the next day. Sigh! I walked around flashing silver duck tape for the whole evening, but didn’t let my sticky situation get in the way of our good time. I just peeled my feet carefully off the floor each time I wanted to move around and actually had an absolutely “ducky” time.

The next day it took me forever to get the tape off the outside of the hem on the pants. It wouldn’t stick to the inside of the leg for love nor money, but on the outside it seemed like it was attached with crazy glue. Take it from me, don’t ever – EVER - try to hem corduroy pants with duck tape. It might work on denim, but NOT corduroy. The tape ended up taking all the fuzzy part, off the corduroy, when I removed it! I don’t know whether the fuzzy part is the cord or the uroy, in the fabric, but whatever it is called, it seemed to melt right into the glue on the tape and wouldn’t let go. I had to cut it away with scissors. Sheesh! Luckily the “bald” patches are now firmly sewn up inside the pant leg. Double stitched in fact.

So if the next fashion trend is pants with bits of silver trim on the hem – you will know who started it.

As embarrassing as it was to have the tape hanging off my pant cuffs all night, I am happy to say that I now have a good story to go with my new pants and that is worth more than every ounce of embarrassment. I do love a good story don’t you?

Write a chapter of your own story today and don’t forget to laugh at yourself if you get in a jam. Have fun and take good care of yourself.


Butterfly said...

That one was a giggle-fest to be sure!

Next time try wide masking tape. I've been know to put that through the wash even. Fantastic stuff! One piece of masking tape lasted me months. So long in fact that I had forgotten that I had even used it.

Anonymous said...

I have found the stuff that comes in a roll, that you cut off suitable lengths, place between the folded under material and the pant leg, and iron to 'glue' into service, works admirably in place of needle & thread.

Cuppa said...

Thanks Anon. Sounds like great stuff to turn up a permanent hem. I will give it a try next time. Do you have any suggestions for securing a "temporary" hemline?

Lynn said...

I was sorry to hear about your embarrassing experience, but I won't lie, I'm still chuckling. Sorry, I don't have any good tips about hemming slacks or trousers.

I recall a trick I learned about spit shining shoes when I was in the Marine Corps. You obtain a can of black spray paint just before you are to stand inspection and you just shoot and spray. It makes the shoes look as if you have been polishing them all night. Of course, it ruins the leather of the shoes, but eventually you are discharged from the service and no longer need to wear them. My father, who was always a fussy perfectionist about his clothes, was appalled when he discovered what I'd done to the shoes. It wasn't until I came home with straight A's on my report card my first semester in college that he changed his mind about me being a completely irredeemable reprobate.

Thanks, for the short note concerning my where abouts. I traveled to my sister's home in Iowa for the Thanksgiving holiday last week, plus I started a new writing project last week and I have poured heart and soul and every spare word and moment into that. The project is now off to a joyously good start and I expect to attend to my blog a little more regularly.

I'm going to my favorite Chicago restaurant tonight with two of my favorite buddies. I'll eat a great steak and enjoy great conversation about sports, books, politics, and the vagaries of the business world.

So, life is good down this way. And of course, reading your blog each morning remains a pleasant start to my day.