Nov 15, 2010

Sewing teachers from Hell

I grew up in a family where everyone sewed. My grandmother sewed, my mum sewed, my sister sewed. I did not sew. I don't know why but it just never appealed to me... I loved making things but sewing clothes just looked so tedious... it took so long, as so much ironing and fiddliing and making it perfect- I also witnessed a lot of swearing and frustration around the machine ( sorry Mum but I did) .... . Plus the threading of the bobbin just confused me no end.

Fast forward to year 8 high school ( I was 13years old) and enter Miss Nash. Man was she cranky. She was old and mean and  always wore her hair in a bun nad her skirts were pulled up under her boobs.  She was one of those people who close their eyes for long periods when they are talking to you! I do not like that.  I remember we had to make a wrap- around skirt. The whole process was traumatising. She yelled and screamed and brandished that seam ripper in our faces- taking great pleasure in ripping open what you had just sewn if she deemed it " not straight enough" . She was so awful. She got really angry because I just couldn't thread the machine at all, I never got the bobbin to pick up the thread and I was too scared to ask for help. She actually said to me  " You really are terrible at sewing Cathy" . I use to sit in class and pretend to make my dumb wrap around skirt and then Mum would make little bits each weekend for me... ( thanks Mum)

Fast forward again to 2007 and I am on maternity leave having hand sewn a mobile for Busy out of felt and really wanting to make her some more things. Mum bought me a sewing machine for my first Mothers day and there it sat in the box for a few months. With Miss Nash ringing loudly in my ears, telling me I could never sew. One night when I was up breastfeeding Busy I thought to myself- I could just read the instructions!! This was a revelation to me as I am more of a press all the buttons , get angry , press more buttons, get angry and maybe maybe maybe find the instruction I have aften disgarded read one sentence , my mind wanders and then I go back to pressing more buttons. ( Lucky I married a methodical instruction reader, who reads instructions before he does anything??!!!- ) So the next day I got out some fabric and to my absolute delight discovered the bobbins actually thread themselves these days!!!!Why was there not a press release about this technological advance???


And that the internet really has quite a lot of useful information on it. And really you can teach yourself to sew from blog tutorials and craft books.

See this dress Busy is wearing! I made it! WITHOUT A PATTERN!! Can you hear me Miss Nash!!! I sewed it- on a  machine. I sewed it all by myself, I worked it out and I made it myself.
I made it from looking at Kates beautful skipping dresses that Busy has and from another dress she has... by looking at them and measuring and asking Mum how you do that bit... and it is far from perfect but it twirls and lots of people have said how beautiful it is.
It is the prototype and I am going to make another one. I am bizarrely proud of it as I have looked at those skipping dresses of Kates  really wondering "could I?" ( heaps of people have asked me if I made the skipping dresses it to which I have said 'No!- no way! I can't make things like that").

But now I have and now I can. So Busy is going to have a few of these for Summer I think.
Thanks Kate for your inspiration.
Thanks Mum for telling me of course I could make a dress like that!  

27 comments:

  1. Yah! What a wonderful story. I had a teacher just like that in year 8 textiles. She scared me away from sewing for at least 20 years.
    There must have been something in the water in the 80's that rendered all sewing teachers crazy!

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  2. Ah yes ... I had a pretty poor experience at school too. It took me more than 20 years to pluck up the courage to try again. Now I am a bit sad I wasted so much time - those cranky sewing teachers have a lot to answer for!

    Great work with the dress. Its fantastic. You should be very proud of it.

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  3. Ah Cath....echoes of my own sewing history are hidden in this post. Although in my case it was my own highly-strung, perfectionist, super-sewing mother (whom I love dearly) who put me off sewing. Good on you for daring to believe that you CAN sew. The dress is wonderful and a springboard to many more creations I'm sure. Well done! xxx

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  4. Great dress Cath. It is gorgeous, and Busy looks so chuffed to be modelling it for you. Fantastic!

    Add me to the list of traumatised by school sewers. I've been sewing for eighteen months now and I feel like I have found a piece of myself that was missing. This is one of the best learning curves ever.

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  5. It was collars at school that really put me off - i don't know why they tried to teach us such difficult stuff!
    I still have a mantra that "I can't sew clothes", the terminology on the patterns scares me.

    This dress is beautiful - make some more!!

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  6. My sewing teacher wasn't too cranky although she didn't like the bobbin requests either but she was insanely jealous that my waist was smaller than hers and she was never nice to me again. Crazy teachers have a lot to answer for. Cherrie

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  7. I was miserable in home ec class...I couldn't thread a bobbin to save my life! I realized the other day that I can finally do it without my blood pressure rising...

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  8. see- who needs to pay a therapist Cath? We are all here for you ;)- just let it all out sister. I remember our 'sheetmetal' teacher telling my firend her keyring was "'orrible, absolutely 'orrible"...I don't think they'd say it like that these days! My mum was a textiles teacher, a few people have since said they got their 'sewing machine license' from my mum! Hope she didn't traumatise people like you (her name isn't Miss Nash!)

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  9. Great dress, well done. I have memories of running away from mum's machine because I'd made an impossible tangle - and I realised the other day, that I am now able to fix tangles so I must be a grown up. My mum made a lot of our clothes, and pretty much all the important ones (for dances, etc) and I SO want to be able to do that for my girls. Aren't mum's great! Boo to yukky teachers though.

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  10. WHAT?!!!! Bobbins thread themselves?!!!!! Are you for REAL?!!!!!
    God God, clearly I need to update!

    Super-awesome dress making by the way!

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  11. Good for you! My sewing teacher was awful as well. I've only just started trying to sew again after 15 years!

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  12. You go girl. And one of these days I'm going to be giving old Mrs Watson and her sneer of disapproval whatfor...

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  13. Yay! Thanks for sharing your story.

    I was never the sewer in my family either, and hearing about how hard it was certainly didn't help. An unsuccessful CAE course that everyone else raves about made things worse. Still, I really do want to learn to sew, so I bought a machine a few months ago and I'm taking little baby steps. My current projects are bunny rugs for our baby, who is due in April. One day I'll work up to something more complicated, but right now it's just satisfying to sew *something*.

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  14. The dress is utterly gorgeous Cath, you're amazing!! xo

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  15. what a gorgeous dress!!!
    high school really can be a dreadful place ha ha.

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  16. I'm inspired! I wouldn't attempt to make from a pattern, and I've done fashion and design!!
    (maybe I shouldn't really admit that!?)
    Anyway...thanks for sharing that story, and sorry that that awful god knows why teacher, stripped you of confidence.
    Teaching is all about building someone up...encouragement and gentle leading the way - the way you describe your teacher it sounds like she needed a long break away from 'whatever'...although i do have to wonder what on earth was gong on in her life to make her that way .. still no excuse.

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  17. I'm inspired! I wouldn't attempt to make from a pattern, and I've done fashion and design!!
    (maybe I shouldn't really admit that!?)
    Anyway...thanks for sharing that story, and sorry that that awful god knows why teacher, stripped you of confidence.
    Teaching is all about building someone up...encouragement and gentle leading the way - the way you describe your teacher it sounds like she needed a long break away from 'whatever'...although i do have to wonder what on earth was gong on in her life to make her that way .. still no excuse.

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  18. Heck..i meant to say I wouldn't attempt to make WITHOUT a pattern..
    and sorry..don't know why my first comment has appeared twice.
    perhaps i should shut up now !!

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  19. Beautiful, I love how it twirls. I never learnt to sew at school, it was cooking and typing for us ladies. I did learn to sew from my Mum, thats why my blog is called Maika - it translates as Mother.

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  20. Awesome stuff!! Those gifted inspiring teachers are far and few between, spaced out by the cranky pants meanies...your dress is beautiful and there's no need to follow patterns if you can create things this well without! You go girl :0)

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  21. Hooray!!!!
    I know that feeling and it is wonderful! You should be proud, it is a magical dress for so many reasons. So much possibility from one dress, a new world my friend and you are off and running!
    Fantastic!

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  22. Hey I had the sewing teacher from hell when I was in year 6...I could do nothing right...and now I'm actually teaching sewing to kids!

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  23. Dropped in to say that this post of yours motivated me to finally sew a garment for myself after saying I'm going to for months! Thanks.

    http://theslightlymadquiltlady.blogspot.com/2010/11/finish.html

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  24. i can totally relate. it is so funny how a bad teacher can put you off something.
    boo to bad teachers, yay to the good ones!

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  25. School sewing classes can scar you for life. My teacher was nice enough but that crepe fabric and zipper scarred me for life. Lovely post. That is one impressive dress (says someone who NEEDS to have a pattern to make something)

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  26. It looks like you've made up for lost time!

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