Saturday, August 06, 2005

"I'm a rebel; I'm evil. My anti-perspirant is breaking down!"

Feeling a bit bad-ass right now. But I'm almost ashamed to admit why.
I thought it would be a good idea to learn to sew this summer, so I tried to enroll in an adult-ed class ("Sewing 1 - The Basics of Sewing") but it was all filled. I signed up on the wait list, but knew I wouldn't get in. Lo' and behold, the teacher called me a couple days before class and said she had ONE opening. So I signed up. I paid for the class. I expected to be taught to, you know, sew.
First class, I walk in and sit down and not two seconds pass before one of the "advaced" students (read: middle-aged house wives who have nothing better to do than take Sewing 1 over and over again, chat about their kids, and sew up some truly heinous "country crap" creations) pulled out a project to show to her friends. "Look what I finished yesterday! It's for my kitchen!" she squealed, and her friends all cooed in rapture. It was a stuffed cow. And it was wearing a home-made frilly floral dress.
I should have taken that as a sign.
This class gave no informative instruction; we had to pick our own projects and figure them out ourselves. The teacher interacted with us when asked for help. Said teacher was this stuck-up old bat who took a dislike to me the moment I asked her to explain how to hand-baste (I said I can't sew!). After that, she started staring at me strangely after I spoke, then after a long pause she'd say something like "okaaay..." or "right..." or sometimes "I see..." Example: she came to my work table and asked what project I was starting. I happily replied, "It's a simple bag to carry around my knitting projects! It's just a square with two handles" She did the staring thing, then said, " will be just like your purse there." She pointed to a little purse I'd made at home that weekend. "Yep," I replied, smiling, "but it will be bigger, of course." She stared at me like a foreign creature for a moment, then turned and old-lady-shuffled off. (Call me wrong, but I always thought teachers should encourage their students, not turn away in disgust.)
By the third class, I had realized that we weren't being taught anything, and we weren't going to be taught anything. All the sewing info I'd received during those weeks was from my mum, when I'd nag her into showing me something. At the start of that third class, sitting there among boring housewives at least fifteen years my seniors (the other three beginners had dropped out by this time), it suddenly struck me that I was in a sewing circle, a goddamned sewing circle. I was being ignored by a bunch of ugly old ladies with nothing more interesting in their lives than their children. And I was doing nothing there that I couldn't do at home.
I gathered my stuff, stood up, and, giving the teacher a look of disgust, walked out the door.
I just wrote a very nasty letter to the adult-ed chairman.
And it's making me feel like a rebel with a Billy-Idol-sneer. Which is so very sad.


Ronni said...

You were ripped off.

You'll learn more by just experimenting on your own. Hint: try things out on a piece of cheap material first. I'm still wearing clothes I made out of old sheets for practice. I probably look like a refugee from "Sound of Music," but, when it works, it works.

I've been sewing for 45 years, and still break out in a sweat when it's time to put the scissors to an expensive piece of fabric.

There used to be a book on the market called "The Illustrated Hassle-Free Make Your Own Clothes Book." There was a sequel, "Son of Hassle-Free." If you can find them, they are a good place to start.

Nemo said...

Wow, thanks for the great tips, ronni! you must have read my mind: I planned to try to find a good sewing book this week. Now I have a title to look for.
I keep doing simple little projects when I have free time, and I'm starting to feel a bit more confidant about this whole sewing thing.
When I was a kid, I thought the curtain outfits from "Sound of Music" were so awesome. I guess I still do; a coat made of some pretty upholstery fabric would be great winter-wear.