The Wrapper

It was probably over a month ago that I said “This week, definitely – I’m finished booking.”

And here it is Monday August 20 and I’m still anxiously looking for emails from this club or that, waiting, waiting to hear if I can put Denver, or Memphis, Los Angeles, even Chicago – a place I’ve played dozens of times yet continue to have trouble with – on the list of tour dates. Aargh. (Booking is trying in the best of times but the few weeks before South by Southwest, and the last weeks of August? I thought everyone was connected always, everywhere, these days. I have to take a moment here to say how sad I was to hear about the passing of Brent Grulke, one of the organizers of SXSW – he made me feel like there was always a place for me down in Austin in March. He was a sweet music-loving man)

The record’s done, mastered, going to be manufactured this week, soon to be the subject of its own celebratory post no doubt. The house and garden maintain their state of “works in progress” – I remind myself we’ve been here just under a year. But there’s one achievement, an accomplishment nearly a lifetime in the making that I can say is absolutely finished. No, not my book – a complete draft of that anvil sits waiting to be examined and refined.

No, what I want to shout from the rooftops is – I MADE A SKIRT!

On a sewing machine, with my two hands and the foot pedal that feels conveniently like a keyboard expression pedal so I can almost, almost justify time spent sewing as piano practice. But I don’t – I won’t, because sewing, like the gardening that I swore off this summer after my poison ivy trauma, exists purely for its own sake…a…could it be – hobby? Not something that has to relate back to everything else. Only a means to an end. An outlet. A tangible, finish-able, controllable activity (much more so than gardening!) that doesn’t require anyone to say yes and has no bearing on anything but maybe getting dressed.

A skirt – started overseas when I found a Liberty skirt in a UK charity shop and decided the elastic waist was wrong (there’s something about elastic waists that make me feel like I’ve given up and the only logical next step will be Pringles on the couch in a darkened room watching One Life To Live). It seemed like it would be simple enough to take out the seams and use the subtle quality fabric for another skirt. Two years later I was still carrying around the hopeful elements.

I found a late 70s wrap skirt pattern on Etsy and these days a new sewing machine costs less than dinner for two – it didn’t seem possible but soon I was cutting and sewing, a little bit every morning. Every step made me wonder if the whole project would end up stuffed in a bag in the back of a closet somewhere, and I was haunted by the memory of high school Home Economics and the beige polyester A-line probably seen on Cheryl Tiegs in Seventeen magazine I worked and reworked, trying to fit a zipper until the greasy fabric was grubby, frayed and misshapen. By the time I sort of finished it I wanted to set it alight which wouldn’t have taken more than waving a match in the skirt’s direction given the high petroleum content.

But finish I did. Okay, this time there’s no zipper – it’s a wrap skirt. And I admit I used snaps instead of dealing with buttonholes. At least I didn’t resort to Velcro – I wouldn’t stoop that low.

I finished it, and I wore it. And I’ll wear it again. I might even start another sewing project, a 60s shift dress pattern. It would work great with this Marimekko-style fabric I’ve been carrying around for twenty years. I could cut it out this morning. Then I’ll get back to booking and fretting.

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10 thoughts on “The Wrapper

  1. BC

    Congrats on the skirt, it looks fresh and fun to wear! I love making stuff. Keeps the muse happy… can’t wait to hear the new music!

  2. sam

    yes, yes! please come to denver – you are long overdue for a colorado visit! don’t know if i can help facilitate that, but i’ll do what i can if need be. oh, and yes, the skirt looks great, too.

    1. amyrigby

      Where where where! We have tried some places – are thinking maybe even an instore somehwere in Denver, Sam. Let me know if there are any shops /galleries etc you think might be up for doing something.

      1. sam

        okay, i’m a bit out of the loop, but here goes nothing (or, umm, something…) Twist and Shout (last of the great independent music stores, they have live in-stores frequently). Larimer Lounge (dive with a capital d but smallish and with an eclectic roster). the Meadowlark ( is a very cool place, also books eclectic range of acts – bit hipsterish and it is downstairs (so load in/out probably sucks) but it does have a great vibe. the Walnut Room is nice too – real stage, lights, sound and made for listening, but i think it is a ‘pay to play’ situation…not sure. i will keep thinking and let you know if i come up with more…

  3. mick

    Skirt looks nice – you’re clearly a long way from the elasticated waist… Good to hear the book’s progressing – looking forward to reading it;

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