So bright-eyed and bushy-tailed I walked into my classroom on a Saturday morning to have my little sewing soul crushed.
Halfway through the 1st class I was convinced that I don't know anything, that I need to sew a market bag "to fill the many big holes in my basic knowledge", and that everything else I thought I wanted to do would have to wait. I was also convinced that she hates me.
All my life I had been a good student and, though I was never a teacher's pet, I always felt respected. I wondered about all the kids who were convinced that "the teacher hated them". Randomly, just a week earlier I was reflecting on my own students and how awful it must be to want to learn and feel like your teacher hates you. "So glad that I am done with school (after 22 years of it lol!) without ever experiencing this!" And then BAM, there I was in sewing class, age 33, feeling like my teacher totally hates me! Snippy remarks, sighs and glares, less time spent on my station, no words of encouragement while others got them constantly, etc.
Things didn't improve much for the remaining 2 classes. I did make a market bag that I quite like actually (though I did manage to sneak in a lining, against her admonitions to follow her simple pattern).
My next project was to be a basic A-line woven skirt, nevermind that I never wear such skirts. Ever. I bought some overpriced cotton from the store she recommended (I didn't know any better!) but could not bring myself to get an A-line pattern. So I bought this McCalls yoked skirt instead. I'd always wanted to learn how to make yokes, though I didn't know that's what they were called. My teacher wasn't pleased that I'd gone off her script again. But I had sent her a forceful email with a list of things I insist on being taught and my resolution to not spend any more class time on the market bag. My very own Declaration of Independence.
Unexpected power struggle with sewing teacher: win!
The 3 classes ended just in time for me to finish my muslin and find out that Big 4 patterns fit ridiculousy. Lovely.
I was SO OVER IT ALL! I liked and wore almost exclusively knits. But "knits are not for beginners". Neither were any patterns more complex than A-line skirts, which I don't wear. I didn't know what to do! Desperate, I emailed my friend Seamstress Erin to bemoan my discouraging class and my absurd muslin (btw you'd think my teacher would warn us about the well-known ease problem of commercial patterns). Erin gave me three pieces of what I now know was fantastic advice, which went something like this:
1. Sew what you want! What your teacher told you is bullshit! Don't sew things you hate just because they're easy, because then you'll never wear them and then you'll never want to sew again. If you like knits sew with knits. If you like complex patterns, try them. Jump in, and if it works it works. You'll still learn, it will just be the hard way.
2. Join Craftsy and watch their free classes. Sign up for a few paid ones. You'll learn a lot and you'll always have them.
3. Try indie patterns. They're more expensive but they fit much better than the Big 4, and the sewalongs and the online sewist community are extremely helpful.
And they have been. I am so so grateful to Erin for pointing me towards the light. The light that fixed my broken sewing soul. :)
If you ever took sewing classes, I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences! There ARE tons of basics I still need to learn and Craftsy, youtube, and sewing blogs can only take me so far. For example, I just can't seem to figure out the Anna dress by By Hand London! After learning that I have (and fixing) my forward and rounded shoulders, rounded upper back, torso that is bigger in the font than back, sway back, and big ribcage, I still don't have the fit right! I am on my 5th muslin and I keep getting a weird vertical fabric indentation in the chest (as if the fabric is "falling" between my bewbs). I've tried everything, even bought Fit for Real people.
So things like that make me think that I really really do need to take another class. But I'm scared! It's not just a potential waste of time and money. I'm scared I'll get crushed again! Then again, may be I've grown resilient. I did make jeans on my first try. *walks away singing Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now*