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Don’t Sew and Tell

Theo Huxtable from The Cosby Show in a shirt Denise attempted for him.You know the age-old advice about not cooking or baking a dish for the first time when you have guests? It applies to sewing, too.

I found these wonderful instructions on how to make a tablet sleeve. I’d stocked up on material from my local warehouse store, including some retro Marvel Comics and DC Comics prints. I thought I’d be the coolest mom on the block if I made a Marvel Comics tablet sleeve that could be raffled off for a school fundraiser. The pattern looked easy enough: lots of straight edges, lots of pinning, lots of ironing. I’d been practicing straight edges since I’d bought my machine almost two years ago. I pinned fabric with my mom when I was kid and the only options for Halloween costumes were plastic smocks and cheap masks. I’d also learned how to iron in my teen years.

I had this made. No pin intended.

I’m glad I never took a picture of the sleeve, and I’m glad I never volunteered that day to see how little money it raised. It probably cost the school more in volunteer hours to lay it out than money they got for it. But I had to send it along, because, unlike when I cook something and make sure it’s something I’ll eat regardless of the dish’s reception, I made the sleeve with the Marvel Comics fabric. I’m a DC Comics fan. (1980s Superman, anyone?) I wasn’t going to betray my favourite drawings of a man in a cape by housing my tablet in a Marvel Comics sleeve.

I would’ve been better off making a bag for my head. Okay, maybe that’s a bit too drastic. But I did make two pillowcases for my husband in about three hours, and they turned out better than this sleeve. (But they almost didn’t fit the pillows, despite allowing an extra two inches or so.)

I swear I measured all the pieces correctly. I swear I followed the seam guides on my machine correctly. I swear I read the instructions correctly! When it was done, though, it barely fit my own iPad, and it would’ve likely been too small for a full-sized Samsung tablet. The bottom seam probably had a 10˚ angle to it, and the Velcro looked like someone had given it to a dog first to be played with.

The sleeve is likely sitting in someone’s to-do pile, with the person wondering how best to deal with the misshapen, unwanted tablet sleeve that had “homemade” written all over it.

And before you say, “Well, then the pattern must have been too hard,” that’s not it, either: I followed the exact pattern again to make two sleeves for myself, and they turned out almost perfect.

So, if you won’t listen to your parents, listen to me: Never plan a first-time project as a gift.

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