How I started sewing/How I pissed off my teachers!
I was lucky enough to have a stay at home mum, she made all our clothes and hers. Everything from the usual dresses and skirts, she made jackets and coats, cocktail dresses. She had her own sewing room, it was a little box room where she had her old singer sewing machine set up on a foldable card table with the green felt top. All cutting out was done in the kitchen downstairs on an enormous (well it seemed to me) kitchen table. I wanted her to make clothes for my dolls, but when I was 5 years old she had a better idea, she started teaching me to sew by hand. My stitches were enormous but it was a start, mainly I just tied bits of offcut fabric round the dolls!
By the time I was 9, she had taught me to use her electric machine. We had moved to live on Dartmoor which I loved, but long winter evenings were spent sewing and creating designs out of newspaper, which I then cut out in fabric and sewed together. Along with moving house I had to change school a couple of times, I ended up at a convent school in Plymouth being taught by nuns. They didn’t like my freestyle approach to life in general, let alone my sewing.
At age 10, I was expected to make a shift dress in back stitch. My mother asked if I could do something else because she knew it would be a waste of fabric as I would never wear it, out of school uniform I lived in jeans. But that wasn’t allowed, nor would they let me use a sewing machine as they didn’t want anyone using them till they were 11 and didn’t believe that I could.
Well I took the hated dress home one day & stitched it up on mum’s machine! When the needlework class came round, I brought out my finished dress complete with zip. They were horrified that I had finished it, it was meant to last the year! But I was then allowed to use the only electric sewing machine they had, it was a Bernina, all the rest were hand machines. Think I was marked down as wilful and a disruptive influence, no praise for using my initiative!
I have a totally different view to sewing than my school teachers! It should be fun, creative and a chance to try new things, a way of expressing who you are away from a stressful world. Some of my clients were put off sewing at school, but they find that my sewing classes and sewing workshops are relaxing and fun.