Sewing Buttons

I love buying clothes on Ebay. Not that I do it often, but when I need something specific, this is where I head. There are many reasons why. I never have to step foot in a brick and mortar, avoiding the time suck of travelling to a place I don’t want to be. It’s cost effective. The savings buying something used, versus brand-new, are noteworthy.  Lastly, I appreciate recycling what is already in circulation, instead of being a spoke in the wheel of an industry ripe for disruption. A good purchase sparks a moment of happiness much the same way an unexpected cup of coffee from A Baked Joint does. It’s  always a treat.

There are some tricks to spending well on Ebay and avoiding unnecessary frustration. Knowing the exact item you want, including the brand, is crucial. Otherwise it’s a gamble as to what you might find in the package that appears on your doorstep. The opportunity for disappointment is high. Besides, perusing a never-ending scroll of items is more torture than just hopping in the car to retrieve the one thing I need. When ordering, I err on the side of too large if unsure of the size, and alter as necessary. I’ve learned having a skilled tailor is key. They are as paramount to your personal household as a good hair dresser, although much more difficult to discover. 

Mine lives in Texas. My mom said, “I have a great tailor,” after I recounted an experience with one around the block from me before COVID happened. She had shortened a pair of jeans. When I put them on afterward, one leg was over an inch shorter than the other one. I took them back and laid them on the counter folded in half along the seam. She looked at them, and without a word, tugged the end of the pant leg, stretching it to meet its mate. She looked me in the eye expectantly. “See? They match.” I picked them by the waist band and opened them up, holding them in front of me. They looked like clown pants. I said, “I don’t think this is going to work.” 

True story. 

(The lies we can tell [sell to] ourselves).

If necessary, I stockpile things until I head back to Texas a few months later. Tammy is THAT good. Even with tailoring, the total cost is only 25-30% of that item purchased brand-new. Every time I pick-up from Tammy’s, I do a little happy dance, thinking I’m so damn smart. 

One time I bought two blouses that ended up being a bit small. I decided to fix this by buying a third one to cut up, using the strips of fabric to insert side panels in the first two. It did and Tammy stitched them perfectly. Even my teenage niece approved of the alterations. (Whoa, PROPS!). But I forgot one of blouses was missing a couple of buttons until I put the shirt on. When I got back to DC I pulled out my (aka Russ’) sewing kit and got to work. It took me longer to thread the needle twice, than to actually sew the buttons onto the shirt. I stabbed my fingertips repeatedly pushing the needle through the holes in the button, but when I finished, those buttons were as tight on that shirt as the millions of buttons I threaded in many a horse’s mane in my career. 

I hung the shirt on a hanger, planning to button it up to soften any wrinkles before stashing it in my closet. I tried over and over, my fingers aching, but the buttons were too big for those button holes. I realised the buttons I had pinched from the corner in a dresser at my parent’s house were slightly bigger than the buttons that came with the shirt. 

 Often wrong, but never in doubt.

I love Tammy even more.

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