Friday, October 01, 2004

Help wanted

Both Hancock Fabrics and Joann’s have Vogue patterns on sale right now. Hancock’s are 75% off and Joann’s are $3.99 each. The new Vogue catalog is out and I’ve been chomping at the bit waiting for the sale. Yes, I know I could have paid the usual 50% off price they sell them at every day, but if I can get if for less, I will. To a point. Last night I decided I wanted to buy a new shirt at the mall after being frustrated wearing a just-a-bit-too-small shirt yesterday. The shirt was uncomfortable and I was frustrated that I’ve gained some weight over the last year. The mall is across the street from Hancock Fabrics whereas Joann’s is a few miles farther away. I also prefer Hancock’s to Joann’s. So saving a few dollars was not worth driving out of my way and having to deal with surly management. My plan was almost perfect.

As I approached the entrance of Hancock’s I saw the “help wanted” sign but didn’t think anything of it since they always seem to be advertising for help. However, when I saw the bolts of fabric stacked on the cutting tables I knew it was trouble. But I wasn’t there for fabric, I was there for patterns so I made a beeline for the back of the store where the pattern catalogs are located. I silently cheered when I saw the new Vogue catalog and when I found the patterns I wanted. I should have headed straight for the register but nooooooo! This is a fabric store. I can’t get out that easily! I browsed for more patterns but nothing caught my eye. Then I wandered over to the fabric (mistake!) and found some nice looking camel colored suiting. It was poly but for $5.99/yard, I thought I could make some muslin pants that might just be wearable. Next to it was some chocolaty-brown 4-way stretch poly. As I walked to the cutting table, I envisioned a trendy crossover top, a Jalie tee or something like that. The cutting table (still piled with bolts) was not a good sight. A young, frazzled, very naïve looking young man was cutting some brightly colored fleece for a customer. He was about to hack off a yard (with his cheap, dull scissors they give their employees) when the customer informed him that he needed to cut at the end of the panel, that they’re printed like that because they’re supposed to be blankets. A very bad sign indeed. There was another woman ahead of me, clutching a spool of ribbon and a few other items. Right in front of her was a tall pile of bolts of fabric. I prayed that those weren’t hers or the current customer’s, because at the rate Mr. Hancock Employee was cutting…I didn’t want to think about it. I considered just how badly I wanted the fabric. Fabric I surely don’t need. The current customer’s kids were getting antsy and climbing over the cart. She feebly attempted to entertain them in between instructing Mr. Hancock Employee on how to cut fabric. I gave up. I put the bolts back and went to the checkout. At least the other employee, a young girl I’ve seen there before, was manning the register. There were no problems or questions when I produced my American Sewing Guild card for my 10% discount. My transaction went quickly and smoothly. She stuffed some Hancock publications in my bag along with a flyer announcing a “big sale” coming up. “We’re going to be open late that day”, she chirped. I glanced at the flyer that said: open 9 am to 8 pm. “Oh, it must be a Saturday”, I replied, knowing that they close at 6:00 pm on Saturdays and I often run out of thread at 5:59 pm. I hope they hire some help by then.

I dashed off to the mall to buy my shirt. After trying on what felt like at least 296 items I finally found three shirts and a pair of pants. I was discouraged by the wild variations in fit of the pants but absolutely dismayed at the poor sewing. On one pair of dress pants from a well known manufacturer’s “second line”, the waistband was puckered and sewn slightly twisted. The “stitch in the ditch” sewing missed the ditch. I refuse to spend $55 for a poorly sewn pair of pants. I just can’t. If I were a faster sewer, I’d have been better off spending the time at the sewing machine than at the store.

I hope to find time to sew this weekend but we have some yard work to do. So if the weather has cooled down, then that’s what I’ll be doing – when I’m not watching the college football games of course.

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