The first thing I ever sewed was an apron. It was my first 4H project and there was a certain pattern that we all had to make. Straight lines with a drawstring that goes around. We were to choose a fabric that we didn’t have to match. So a small print was the best, since a plain solid color would show mistakes. My mom took me into a local department store where we chose the fabric. I was 9 years old. I could have used my mom’s sewing machine but we were instructed to come to the school at a certain time on a certain day where my 4H leader would instruct me. Under her watchful eye I would learn and do it right. The day came and I was excited but nervous about the project. I was actually a little afraid of the machine itself. Mom’s machine was a treadle machine and I would be using an electric machine. Mom had let me use her machine a little when I was making some things for a doll.
I did everything the leader told me to do. She was a seasoned leader and was used to skittish little girls. I kept getting the stitching too small or too large. I tangled the thread on several occasions. I had a terrible time backstitching and I was just plain frustrated. I sewed all day on the darned thing. And did quite a lot of ripping. I still have that seam ripper someplace?? In the end the leader finally took my seat and actually finished the project, told me to clip the threads and iron it. I took the project home and was really sort of dejected over the whole thing. I told Mom that the leader really did most of the work. We took the apron to the fair and I left saying that I would NOT be in the Fahion Review where we all modeled our projects. Mom told me that the leader called and thought I would change my mind when I learned of the purple ribbon that I got on the project…..
I was not convinced that I got the purple ribbon and I wondered how many other girls actually earned theirs. I did the Fashion Review. I was scared to death. The lights were bright and I could not see the edge of the stage. I couldn’t see the people in the crowd so I could not see my mom and dad. All I could think about was that stupid purple ribbon, that I didn’t earn, hanging on the apron that I didn’t make.
I hung onto that purple ribbon for years, and I still have the apron. Through all those miles of moving and boxes, I retained the apron. Maybe I kept it to remind me to strive for perfection, Or maybe I kept it as a reminder that things are not always what they appear to be. Or maybe I kept it to remind me of a time in my life that I got something that I had not earned. Something I didn’t deserve.
Jesus paid the price. He did the work and we get the purple ribbon.