Little Riding Hoods


Francis asked for a Little Red Riding Hood this last Christmas.  Being the generous, always ready to give mother that I am, I sighed deeply.  The kid wants EVERYTHING.  Really.  If I wasn’t so exhausted with her requests, I would admire her pure desire (and imagination too really).  Like most things she asks for, I started sort of “hell no!” and worked towards, “hmmmmm….”.  Hmmmm won out obviously.

Back in high school, my friends and I made capes to wear around, because we were just those kind of dorks.  One of my fondest memories was of wearing our capes down to the beach one night and stripping off all our clothes to go jump in the ocean.  It was dark, the beach was empty except for us, and it was probably cold too as we’re talking about the Oregon Coast where the water reaches a balmy 40 degrees.  We were 18 and preparing to go off to college, so jump in the ocean naked, right?  Totally logical.  Many of my friends were quite conservative young ladies, so when I saw their bare little butts go bolting down the beach, I fell on my face in the sand laughing.  I don’t even remember jumping in the water myself (although I certainly did).  I just remember eating a lot of sand.

Anyway, the point of this digression is that I have made a cape or two before, so I figured I could whip one out again.  All the same, I thought I would buy a pattern just to be sure.

Too bad that my resolve to make things does not match my ability to read a pattern.  Sigh.  Directions.  What a drag that there are people out there who know how to do things and think that they can TELL me how to do it!  It is like my brain refuses to learn.  It is like I enjoy being ignorant or something, because truly I sit down to figure out a pattern and find myself skimming the written instructions.  I find myself daydreaming.  I need to talk sternly to myself to focus.  FOCUS, Ingrid.  You stupid, stupid girl.  You NEED this.  Now think!

I actually find that I am able to better follow directions if I sort of act them out.  If I read slowly and make hand gestures for things like “RIGHT SIDE OF FABRIC” then the words more readily permeate my dura matter.  “Seam allowance” needs a hand gesture too.

All the same, I, of course, bought the wrong amount of fabric because I didn’t understand the numbers on the back.  Turns out those numbers were referring to how large the bolt of fabric is…like the size of the roll.  I couldn’t figure out why the pattern that to my mind was for a taller person needed LESS fabric.  Of course these things are all clear when you sit down to cut things out and can’t get the pieces out of your chunk of fabric.  Ohhhhhh.  In my defense, would it have killed them to write “size bolt” under the numbers?  No, not really, but these pattern people think they are dealing with the able-brained public.

Ennnnyway, I made the capes.  They look great, and I am pretty proud of them when the kids get compliments.  (I do need to teach them to beam beatifically and say, “My wonderful MOTHER made it for me!”).  I didn’t realize that I would get such an onslaught of requests from strangers for making capes when we go out in public.  I am numbering about request number 20, so if I ever need to go into business, I know where I will turn (but surely someone is doing this on ETSY right now?).  I really can’t imagine being motivated to sew a million and one capes.  It was not that exciting truthfully, and required far too much ironing for this girl who never wields an iron even for her own clothes.


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