So when I was 12, my mom decided to break the vicious cycle. (I suppose it was also an effort to compensate for her millinery deficit, or to ease her mother-guilt for not being able to impart any home-ec skills to her daughters.) She gave me a portable sewing machine, sewing scissors, a thimble, and about a million straight pins, and then signed me up for sewing lessons at a local department store. I was like a fish out of water and was, by far, the youngest in the class and probably the most illiterate in sewing lingo. I didn't know my bobbins from my zig-zags, and I thought that "finding a bias" was something good citizens were supposed to avoid. Mind you, I had no Betsy Ross or Martha Stewart at home to tutor me either. Each of the students had chosen a pattern and fabric and set out to make our own dress for the grand finale, a fashion show in which each of us would model our handiwork. That in itself was enough to scare the "zig zag"out of an awkward pre-adolescent. Each lesson was an intimidating struggle, although I did manage to learn to thread the machine, and sew a reasonably straight seam. But my dress was a hideous nightmare--the arms didn't quite match, there were bunches where bunches weren't supposed to be, and it looked like something Igor on Young Dr. Frankenstein might wear. So, unless I was willing to change my anatomy or remake the dress, there was no way I was going to model that. Turns out I never had to decide.
I gave up learning to sew when we came to the lesson on "darts". I wasn't even sure what they were, but it sounded dangerous, and I'm not even left-handed. And the final blow came when one of my fellow students mocked me for not even really needing darts yet. Her name was Bunny, and she was blessed with the need for ample darts. I never went back.
Things worked out okay. I can still thread the machine and sew a straight seam, and when one of my girls needs a prom dress altered or cheerleading skirt made, I have a long list of seamstress friends whose moms apparently were not left handed.
(Editor's note: My Mom happens to be a really great cook and has imparted that as her legacy.)