My friend and I set up our sewing machines across from each other and pulled up a blog with a pattern for a simple “Three Stitch Dress.” One yard of fabric, a bit of elastic and three stitches is all the pattern calls for. I was giddy with excitement and sat down in front of my brand new Singer sewing machine. I pressed the pedal and pushed my fabric along, loving how my machine runs much smoother than my mother’s that I’ve used many times before.

I don’t know how my project went awry- I must have looked away, blinked for too long of a millisecond, or something! Something felt off in my stitches, so I took a closer look, pulled my left hand away, and heard the sound of the spools manually spinning; I sewed over my finger and I was attached to the thread.

Utterly confused, I start laughing, cut myself free from the spools, and tweezed out the thread coming in and out of my nail. I soaked my finger in antiseptic and wrapped it up in a Band-Aid. Quite determined, I got back to sewing. I replaced the fabric under the foot, went to let down the needle, and found that the tip was missing. My heart started racing, but I calmly replaced the needle and set the broken one aside. I would look for the tip of the needle when it came time to clean up.

About a half an hour later, I took a break to iron out my fabric. As the iron was heating, I glanced down at my finger, laughed at my amateur sewing skills, but quickly got quiet. Something pointy and metallic was sticking out of the tip. I casually grabbed a tweezers and tried to pull it out, but it didn’t budge. I tried again, but couldn’t get a good grip. I panicked. I ran back to the broken needle and compared its length to a new needle. I suddenly realized that a whole quarter-inch of metal had gone through my nail, to the tip, and was stuck inside my finger. Tweezers didn’t work, nor did pliers.

At the hospital, an X-ray showed a claw-like figure—the needle very much in my finger. I winced as the doctor pulled on the exposed tip of the needle with two sets of tweezers. He left and came back with another doctor. One pushed down on my skin, while the other worked on prying out the needle. I closed my eyes. Tight. A third tool was used, a fourth, a fifth; finally, the sixth tool did the job.

As I left the hospital parking lot, I couldn’t believe the irony of how much the homemade dress cost me. What started with six dollars of fabric ended with a quarter-inch souvenir and a hefty hospital bill.

By Angela Bishop

2012, TESOL and Spanish Education Major