Monday, March 27, 2017


A young friend and I were going to an event together.  As she was getting a coat from her coat closet,  I noticed a button on the floor.  I picked up the button and asked which coat it was from; she pointed to a plaid jacket.   I asked, "Did you want to wear that one today?"  She said, "No, but I wonder where it goes on the coat?"  There were buttons down the front of the jacket;  buttons on pockets on the front;  buttons on the shoulders holding decorative tabs;  a button at the neck to fasten another tab; and buttons on the sleeves.  Finally, after examining the jacket, I saw that the button was missing from another decorative tab on the back of the jacket.  I said, "This makes SIXTEEN buttons!  I'll bet that's an expensive jacket."  We had a discussion about covered buttons and other features which made clothing costly. 

I asked, "Do you want me to sew it on the jacket?"  She said, "Oh, yes, I am no good at those things;  I would have put it on with a safety pin."  She said that she didn't have any needles or thread;  I told her I had a little sewing kit in my "work bag" in my car.  I carry a purse, but I also have emergency items in another bag in the trunk of the car.  

I said, "You're driving;  I'll do it in the car;  I'll have it done in a whipstitch."

She said she had never heard that usage.

I said, "Well, it's an idiom;  my mother used to say it, but a whipstitch is also an actual stitch, but you don't use a whipstitch to attach a button."

Today, I looked for the definition of whipstitch and after the definition about sewing, it shows that, as an idiom, it means "at short intervals";  all of my life I've thought it meant "quickly"; I do learn something new each day, and sometimes, it's in a whipstitch! 

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