Remember that one time I tried to learn to sew? That dress is still sitting in a box in the closet, as half-finished as it was when I wrote that post.
Clothes are not really my area of expertise. I’ve only just begun learning how to wear them properly. Until last year, I owned a pair of cargo pants, which I wore — unironically. My favorite item of clothing as a teenager was a pair of JNCOs. My entire sense of fashion was set in stone by 1999, so learning how to dress like a grown-up (ish) took me a whole decade (and a half).
Consumed as I’ve been with rolling up and buckling my pants, the finer points of clothing maintenance have totally eluded me. Things like reading tags before throwing everything in the dryer on high, or spot-treating stains instead of hoping the washing machine will magic them away…these things are recent (shaky) additions to my domestic skill set. Ironing and sewing? Forget about it. A needle and thread inspires the same reaction in me as pyrotechnics would have inspired in a Neanderthal.
Usually, this just means that my husband has to wear slightly wrinkled shirts. But every once in a while, a button falls off a shirt. (Not mine, obviously. I don’t own shirts with buttons, which should be painfully obvious by now.) It’s always the worst kind of shirt — one of the expensive ones from Macy’s with the super-starched collars that stay stiff and alert-looking and that come out of the dryer with nary a wrinkle. The kind that are made by Santa’s elves especially for men whose wives are always on the naughty list. Unicorn shirts, basically.
One time a button fell off one of the Ogre’s shirts when we were staying with his mom and she offered to fix it, but I couldn’t even find the button. She grabbed the shirt, whipped out some kind of Mary Poppins bag, found a button that was exactly like all the other buttons on the shirt, and then just put the button on the shirt like a wizard or something. I guess she used a needle and thread, but it happened so fast I’m pretty sure she actually whispered “Reparo!” and then moved her hands around busily for a second. (Can’t breach the statute of secrecy, after all.)
Every time a button falls of a shirt in my house, it’s a catastrophe. Mostly because it’s usually my fault, like the shirt got caught on the bottom of the washing machine and instead of patiently untangling it, I just yanked. But even when it’s not my fault, the outcome is the same. The Ogre grimaces when I offer to safety pin it together if he wants to wear it again, I promise to find a tailor or a button-wizard, the shirt gets thrown in the “to be mended” pile, and there it stays. Right next to the box with the half-finished dress.
Luckily this doesn’t happen often. Unluckily, it happened four times in a row last week.
None of those were my immediate fault, either. The Ogre was just buttoning up his shirt and buttons kept falling off for no apparent reason. The last straw, though, was when one fell off his favorite shirt. He got a face on his face that I’ve never seen there before, and I hastily poured him a glass of wine.
Leaving the glass untouched, he walked to his computer with a purpose. He was there for a while. I kept popping my head in, and then walking casually around behind his chair as if I needed something back there, but every time he looked up he still had that face on his face. So finally I gave up and drank the glass of wine.
About 20 minutes later, I went to the bathroom to wash my face and found him sitting in a chair, with my forgotten sewing kit, sewing his button back on his shirt like it was no big deal.
I stood there for a second with my mouth hanging open, fascinated, then said, “hey, I could probably do that for you if you teach me. I could fix all your shirts!”
“No,” he replied quickly, without looking up. “But if you really wanna learn, you can google it.”
Seriously, I love my husband. He knows me so well.