February 26, 2019

Before you volunteer...know what you are getting into...

Remember Field Day?  Way back when we were in elementary school?  There were potato sack races, tug of war, the water balloon toss, etc.?  I loved Field Day.

Well, last year Man-Child - because he is the PE teacher at an elementary school - was in charge of Field Day.  At the last minute, he was in search of "potato sacks" (i.e., burlap sacks...because they were "more authentic").  Needless to say, in this day and age, one cannot just wander into any store today and buy potato sacks so I convinced him that pillow cases would fill the bill.  He so disheartened about having to use pillow cases that I offered to make him some potato sacks for this year's Field Day.  Classically, I figured, how hard could it be?  Buy some burlap, zip, zip on the sewing machine and DONE.

Let's not forget that a seamstress I am not.

So about two weeks ago, it dawned on me that if I were to fulfill my promise on these potato sacks then I needed to get started.  So I headed out to JoAnn's - and lucky me - the burlap was on sale!  As the lady was cutting the yardage I requested, it occurred to me to ask..."Can I use my sewing machine with this fabric?"  The short answer? No. (And if you tell me in the comments that I can, I will just keel over and die - but after working with this fabric, I'm thinking it wouldn't be the best idea for the machine as burlap sheds like crazy).

Nonplussed, I pressed on - I mean, honestly, how hard could it be to measure the fabric, fold it up, stitch up the two sides and call it done?  I should probably mention here that I've never actually worked with burlap.

My prototype went fairly quickly - took maybe an hour...until I realized that the prototype was unraveling at the seams as I was sewing.  I set the project aside for the following weekend - whereupon I made ANOTHER trip to JoAnn's after seeing on Google that I needed some kind of binding material.

The knowledgeable lady showed me the bias tape and explained how it worked.  I bought it and brought it home.  Where I then spent a good FIVE hours sewing, by hand, a new prototype.  And discovered that my handiwork is kinda sloppy but it seemed to work.

Today, I found myself with six hours to kill as I waited for the repairman to show up to fix the dryer (seriously?  For a dryer that's only THREE years old?  And, a SIX hour window?  And then didn't show up?!) I figured I'd repair the first prototype - which took me (yep, you guessed it! Another five hours - so ten hours later and I only have two potato sacks to show for it.  On the plus side, my handiwork is improving).  Somewhere in there, I realized that even if the binding works this material is kinda flimsy - and that I think I'm allergic to burlap seeing as my eyes have been leaking for hours and I've been sneezing non-stop.  So having kids, stuffed into it and jumping to a finish line is going to ruin all the work I am putting into them on the first go round - not to mention that surely some child out there would be as sensitive to this stuff as I seem to be...

So I texted Man-Child about the possibility of finding a fabric that looks like old flour sacks instead.  And he was fine with it...of course, he is.  Is it possible that I was the one that was over-thinking last year's Field Day?  Of course it is.

At least with flour sack-type fabric, I can literally zip, zip on the sewing machine, DONE and finish this project in one weekend...I think...

Oh hell, what do I know?

I do know this...know what you are getting into before you volunteer.  AND?  Know that maybe what you are volunteering isn't even a "requirement."


  1. Now that's a project I wouldn't have even considered taking on. But you did, and now those kids will have the BEST sacks to destroy! :-)

  2. Oh, brother. You have taken on quite the task. The whole time I was reading it, I was thinking about how the sacks were going to be destroyed when the kids hopped around in them. The things we mothers won’t do for our kids. When Lad was in 6th grade, he thought he was going to dress as the 4 horse men for Halloween. The 3 other kids ditched him a week before and he was in tears. I told him he could still dress as the 4 horse men. Um, I created 3 dummies and connected them by a dowel rod and he carried it around on his shoulders. He was sleeping when I stayed up all night to compete it (had been working on it for days), so when he woke up we realized that he could barely lift it. His school had a huge parade and he never came thru the gym, so I went to his classroom and found him sitting alone because he couldn’t carry it himself. I hid behind him and he and I marched thru that gym while I helped him hoist it up. I wanted to punch those punky ‘friends’ in the face!

  3. You are a good mom for even attempting burlap sacks!! I hope the new ones go much more quickly for you!