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When do-it-yourself jobs are best left to the pros

Wannabe seamstress winds up threadbare

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My friend Melissa is amazing. And by amazing, I mean, unbelievable. She can do anything. I have watched her design her own eco-friendly home, complete three acres of landscaping with a boyfriend and a shovel, grow her own garden, build her own chicken roost, and make jams, jellies, cookies, roasts, cocktails and more look e-a-s-y. When people compare her to Martha Stewart, I just laugh. My money's on Melissa in any contest of ingenuity and wit. Melissa is so impressive that she became a bit of an inspiration for our little family. Why, if Melissa can make couch cushions out of recycled flour bags, then I'm sure I could make a pillow case! And maybe I could hem my own pants? Or make beanbags. So, I gamely took out the sewing machine my mother gifted me more than 10 years ago. I actually removed the sewing machine from its original packaging, as I had ... ahem ... never actually opened the box before. Something about sewing at home seemed very lonely and very domestic. Meanwhi...