A Sewing Fool: The Case of the Complicated Cassocks


Once a sewing mom, always a sewing mom. If you haven’t heard that phrase already, I’ll take credit for it. After taking four measurements for each member of my daughter’s youth chorus, the adult-sized cassocks I ordered for them were way too big for many of
the kids.

Driving home after a lunch after church, I commented to Mark that I had a lot of work to do on the cassocks. Never expecting the proverbial fan to turn on me, what hit it was rotten.

Mark said in a disturbed tone, something like, “Aren’t they robes?”

“They’re called cassocks.” I explained.

“You just love to say that word. I’ve heard it over and over lately. I’m sick of it.”

Had I really said the word cassock that much, I asked myself? I should have let it drop there, but, voicing my opinion, as always, is more important than peace.
“Well, that’s what their called,” I said. “I didn’t know the word cassock before a year ago. Our church doesn’t use such a garment. Why not call them by they’re right name? You want me to call them robes? A cassock is a type of robe, I guess, but not vice-versa.”

This was too much for Mark and he belted, “Am I not entitled to my opinion? I’m sick of the word cassock.” The sound decibel climbed to a level which, I picture, swells our van’s roof and bulges my brain.

I hoped God’s sympathetic eyes were looking down as I asked him to help me keep quiet. I turned toward the passenger window in exasperation. “Concentrate on the scenery and simmer down,” I told myself.

I determined that I would not let this man deter me from using a perfectly good word, yet, the next day I heard myself say, “I’m taking Kathie to rehearsal and I’m going to stay to work on the robes.”

Whatever they are called, they plagued me the entire week. Even with five ladies helping at various times, I spent four nights in a row sewing. After hours spent on alterations, I had to wash out some of the stiffest sizing I’d ever felt or the kids might feel they were
wearing burlap.

I took them to a Laundromat. Before putting them in machines, Kathie put numbered labels on each so we could tell them apart. All but a couple of the labels came off in the wash. We had to re-measure the lengths we’d altered to figure out who they belonged to.
We carried the 19 cassocks to the car in a large garment bag that had been used for prom dresses, but it was both heavy and awkward. We made do with long dry cleaning bags (some of the cassocks are 62 inches long for 6 foot kids).

Kathie carried more than half of the “robes” into St. Paul’s Church in Salem, Ohio, where her chorus had a send-off concert. They would next be draped over a seat in the chartered bus and accompany us to Williamsburg and Washington D. C. on the chorus’ concert tour. “I can manage maybe seven cassocks at a time, Mom,” she told me, “but I draw the line at 12.”

The moral in this story is, of course, think before you speak, especially if you are about to say “Yes, I can sew.”

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