Sew What?

Mary McGrath
2 min readSep 16, 2019

I couldn’t even thread a needle…


A button came off one of my favorite shirts. I thought I could wear it and nobody would notice, but no, the button missing was right by my boob. I couldn’t wear it for obvious reasons.

So, I thought I would revive the shirt by sewing on a button. How hard could that be? Since we were poorer than dirt growing up, my mother taught me how to sew, at least the essentials like buttons, hems, etc. I hadn’t done it in about 20 years but I remember it wasn’t very difficult, and it didn’t require an instruction manual. Anything’s easier than IKEA.

If you’re past a certain age, trying to thread a needle is next to impossible. Even with my strong readers on, I could barely decipher which end of the needle I was supposed to use. And trying to thread it? Where was a 12-year-old when you needed one?

So I pulled from the bowels of my memory to help me remember how to attach on a button. I am not very detailed to begin with, so I knew I was probably in for a disaster. Alas, I found a button that seemed like it would do the trick and I began to sew it on.

I was making a reasonable amount of progress, until I got ready to trim the thread. All of the sudden, my scissors cut right into the shirt I was repairing! There it was, a neat little slice, just like a surgeon’s incision.

I looked at it from every angle. Surely nobody would notice a small ½ inch cut into some fine linen. But no, it was evidence of my stupidity and inability to follow directions.

But I was not ready to give up. I thought if I applied a little bit of scotch tape to the inside of the fabric, that I could revive the garment. Gingerly, I applied a tiny piece of tape to the inside of the shirt and voila, the surgeon’s error was rectified.

Now my favorite blouse has come back to life, with a new button and a taped gash.

I am fashion forward once again.

Mary McGrath

Top writer in humor, short stories, writing, advice and poetry. She’s written for Newsweek, Wall St. Journal, Good Housekeeping, and Chicken Soup for the Soul.