There is an old joke about nationalities. If two Americans find themselves in a space, they’ll start a committee. Two Englishmen, a queue. Two Frenchmen, an argument. The premise — beyond the stereotyping, of course — is that if there is a vacuum, there will be a natural way for people to fill it.

In much the same way, I find myself, when faced with a piece of time, be it a summer or Lent or a weekend with no commitments, deciding to learn something. This is not a weekend with no commitments, since I still have work to do. But the winter storm which is currently acting like super noisy snow means I won’t have church or a play, as anticipated, so I have a little space. Lent is coming up, too. Usually my Lenten studies are on topics like God and physics or global hunger or stewardship of the planet, stuff like that. IN the summertime I typically take a class, either at the college or with one of those self-study books.

Last year I did just a single week of summer study, but the year before I had determined to learn a couple of additional sets of skills in domestic arts: pastry and tailoring. I’m a good baker, if I do say so myself, and I think I can easily learn to make pastry. I bought the Cordon Bleu textbook on the subject and got through several lessons before things got too busy for some reason and I stopped. I am not such a good seamstress, but I am willing to give it a shot and I have wanted to learn tailoring for years, so I enrolled in a Craftsy class and got as far as cutting out the jacket before whatever it was that stopped my projects happened.

When I began thinking about the jacket for my SWAP, I went to Craftsy to try to watch the video class on tailoring, but it was gone. I was surprised, frankly, because it seemed to me that it was a single purchase and we could take the class whenever, but after all that doesn’t mean till the end of time, so I just left disappointed. That day I received an offer for their new tailoring class at a 67% discount so I signed up. I’m still paying extra compared with having completed the class when I signed up the first time, but at least I might learn how to make a jacket.

Butterick 4610 is the one we’re making in the class.


I think jackets are being worn a bit longer than this this season, but it’s a classic look and I will be happy to wear it if I am successful. It is to be made in wool, and I have several lengths of wool, so my first step will be to see whether any of them will fit into the Spring SWAP. If not, I’ll make it anyway, in order to have the skills to make the jacket I have planned for the SWAP.

Pastry? It is connected in my mind with tailoring now, since I started the two classes together, so I will see if I can do the two together. Today I plan to make Portugese Custard Tarts and sew up the skirt I have already cut, in amongst blog posts and grading papers. Next weekend I hope to get the tailoring class underway. True, it is not summer, but that didn’t work out last time anyway.