Saratoga kids need to sew

March 21, 2020 — by Jeanette Zhou

Twenty-three. This seemingly unassuming number represents the number of times my sister has asked me to embroider a shirt for her. Yes, I’m counting.

I don’t know why she places so much confidence in me; my sewing skills are limited to what I had learned as a fourth grader in Girl Scouts. Nevertheless, my sister has recently turned 20 and, since she is in college, I couldn’t celebrate with her. As a result, I’ve decided to attempt to rework some clothing for her in the two weeks before she returns home.

I started my journey by watching how-to videos. After about two hours of research, I deemed myself ready, so I opened my sister’s Pinterest to choose a design.

That was a mistake.

I am a VERY indecisive person — I change my order at LEAST eight  times as I wait in line — and when faced with hundreds of choices for designs, I knew there was no way that I could choose just one.

But, not to worry, I had a backup plan. I narrowed down the designs into three categories: flowers, astrology and landscapes. 

I then messaged my sister with a very inconspicuous message: “For no particular reason, could you pick a number between one and three?”

After receiving a confused response (she picked two), I settled on a design with both of our star signs (scorpio and pisces) together.

The design consisted of our two star sign constellations surrounded by stars of varying sizes.

From my research, I knew that I needed a 4-inch hoop, embroidery floss, thin scissors, a pencil and a milliner’s needle (thanks, Martha Stewart.) I’d already ordered the materials off of Amazon.

I began my project by pulling the shirt taught in the hoop and sketching out the design in pencil, which took me about seven minutes (I started over three times during this process, so it would probably take someone else less time.) After I was satisfied with my outline, I started the tedious process of stitching.

My design required twinkle stitches, where you make several straight stitches across each other of varying lengths in a shape that resembles a star, and running stitches, which is the most basic stitch where you pass the needle in and out of the fabric. 

To my surprise, my fourth-grade Girl Scout sewing skills held up and I completed the stitches with ease.

The final product took about two hours to complete, and although the process was relatively time-consuming, I actually found the monotonous action really relaxing.

I would definitely recommend embroidery as a pastime to all of the stressed out souls during our crazy, quarantined, coronavirus-infected times to help relax and create a personalized article of clothing.

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Due to the lightning complex that occurred in the week of Aug.17, Santa Clara County is currently surrounded by wildfires, covering the city of Saratoga in heavy smoke. The air quality was in the range of 100 to 200 for the past five days, forcing SHS to close down. Photo by Selina Chen.

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