Three Cotton Pleats

I’ve always wanted to learn quilting. It’s a beautiful American tradition, with powerful preservation of community and culture built right into the process. One day I will learn how. I am held up, however, by an important hang-up.

I hate sewing. This seems like it might get in the way.

It might also be a problem when it comes to completing Jared’s Big Present this year: a cassock.

If you don’t know what a cassock is, it’s a piece of ecclesiastical garb that my husband wants very much. It’s a black (or blue, if you’re in the choir, or fuscia, if you’re a canon or bishop, or mauve, if you’re a verger [I’ve actually had to stop my husband from walking up to one and saying “Are you still a verger?”]) dress-type thing, usually fitted and buttoned down the front, and usually worn under something else like an alb (a white dress-thing) or a surplice (a white poncho that is flattering on no one). They’re expensive, and I convinced myself a long time ago that I would overcome my hatred of sewing out of love for my husband, saving us a couple hundred simoleans in the process.

To convince myself that I would pull this off, I told everyone who would listen to me that I was making Jared a cassock for Christmas. I hyped myself up until November, when I went to JoAnns and blew a bunch of money while the fabric was on sale. But Christmas is upon us and… Its… not quite done.

It’s not for want of time spent on it. Jared is at school without me for at least two days a week, and I didn’t spend those days twiddling my thumbs. I blame the pleats.

These pleats took about 8 hours for me to complete, and probably stole a good year of my life-force. They might even have been worth it. Since I did these blasted pleats, I’ve been paying attention to other folks’ cassocks to see if they have them. (It just occurred to me that this might have made it look like I’ve been checking out priests’ backsides.) Some of them do, but they aren’t centered like this, and most of them don’t have the three piece back that was a complete plain, but I have to admit, looks pretty slick.

After that, the double pockets (so you can both put things in them but reach past them to put things in your pants pockets) were a breeze.

If you can’t tell, I completely failed my promise to myself to buy a fabric that wouldn’t need ironing. It’s especially a bad since it’s been stuffed in a box. I’m telling myself that it won’t really be seen aside from Good Friday, and I think I can reconcile myself to ironing it once a year. Or Jared can iron it; he’s a grown-up.

Sadly, the rest of the project still looks like cut out pieces of fabric and a bewildering variety of notions.

And with all the stuff I have to do this spring, I doubt it will be finished by this Good Friday. But I’m committed now. And I know this will completely jinx it, but my sewing machine has been behaving perfectly so far. I might even be enjoying it. Just a bit. Nobody buy me quilting fabric just yet.

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