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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Friday, July 29, 2011

Where did the week go?

Good question.

I have had a work intensive week which is a good thing because I am feeling well caught up with my classes. I have to tell you I just love my students. Why do so many adults let this kind of funny openness be taken out of them? 

The kids got off track at the end of one class and started talking about getting ready for the work world (they are last years). The girls in particular, in fact the girls only, didn't want to talk about salary or work itself but about the terrible pressure to wear the right thing. As we talked I realized that for women of this age it is all about fitting in. The big question is "what are you going to wear?" translated to I want to fit in, not be over-dressed not be under-dressed. I wondered at how much time, money, and most importantly emotional and intellectual energy is being diverted into this.

And I wondered if this kind of process is what takes those nice edges off them as they "grow up?" What pieces of themselves do we make them leave behind in all this fitting in?

I was surprised this week to get an message from a former student, a sort of silly, wild child but a good kid, signed with his name and "who loves you like a son." And the big, athletic, beautiful and quite wonderful student who, on the subject appearance, told her classmates that she knew she would never be one of the pretty girls in the work place and had the students on either side put their arms around her. There is a solidarity to these kids that I feel quite privileged to see. Gee I don't want them to lose that.

It also made me think of course that I too spend a lot of emotional energy on the "what will I wear" question myself, but that to me I no longer feel, at all, like any desire to fit in. 

So the big question, and at the root of why we make our own clothes, is how do I want my clothes to make me feel? I am not sure if I can define that yet, except to say it is more about how I want to feel about myself. Not as how others see me but how I feel inside those clothes.

Like myself, comfortable, cheerful, relaxed, stylish.

I also realized that for a sewer, most sewers, they are wearing the process as much as the product. What we each get out of that process is very different for each of us. I can see that in my blogs I read.

Some of you are fitting sewers and are so good and energized by the almost mathematical challenge of perfecting fit.

Some of you are collection/competition sewers and have wardrobes that give you clothes for your life.

Some of you are designers and transform TNT and other patterns into something special.

Some, like me, need variety and are excited not as much by a patterns that works, as by a pattern that may or may not.

With this rare bit of self-insight I threw out so many patterns yesterday. I am not going to be working on last season's to-do list next season. I am dying for my new fall patterns to arrive.

That is of course why my white shirts stalled after three. I was soooo bored. I can only do these when I have something new to work with, and those are going to have to get done one at a time when I have a new pattern that inspires me.

On the home front I am going to be doing a little son shirt sewing this weekend. My middle child headed off to London Wednesday and then to NYC in October. He is doing so great. I am just lucky and keep reminding myself to keep my eye on the person he is and not the person who used to live here.

And this weekend, a long weekend here too in Canada, my daughter and her husband are going away to a wedding, and it's going to be just Miss Scarlett and I for three days. She's pretty busy but awfully funny. We are both good schleppers so it should be a good weekend.

However if any of you want to drop by and give me a hand, well that would be fine too.

1 comment:

Jodie said...

Great post. In thinking about my working wardrobe over the last 10 years (man, can't believe that!), I've always sewn the core of it. When I started teaching I had been a university student for many (Many, MANY) years. So I sewed a capsule/core wardrobe and added pieces to it over time. Some of those pieces I still have or have replaced....but I really like what I sew. I like wearing the well fitting, but kind of funky knit tops (that I can bend over in and not shock some poor student with an eyeful) and a well fitting skirt and tights or pants with full-ish legs and cuffs (sort of like Katherine Hepburn - I feel so "swish"!). It works for me. And it's kind of like armour or a uniform...I feel more confident and that shows. And now that I'm a confident teacher, I don't necessarily need the boost being nicely dressed gives me (that I needed as a young/new teacher), but it's a habit that I like. The funny thing is, when I finished my B.Ed. degree I went out and bought an "interview suit" and at the end of my first year of teaching I bought another suit. I rarely wear them and more often reach for other pieces, even at times when a suit would be appropriate. They don't fit well and I don't feel they reflect the person I want to present to the working world.
I haven't really ever thought about what I wear (or why) as there isn't a defined 'uniform' for teaching. It's taken time to get to where I am and being comfortable and put together is my mandate. And you can have both.