Tuesday, 5 May 2009

PottyMouthMama of The Symmetrical Sewing

I had grand plans for sewing class last night. Grand plans. I thought I'd be coming back here today and showing you at least the front of my cushion for the Doctor.

Instead I came home early and ate cake.

It all started when I turned up with my fabric, and my idea in my head. It's a no-brainer for me. I have the idea, I just don't have the expertise to execute it. But given my sewing teacher's wealth of knowledge, I thought we'd whizz up the cush in under no time.

She pulled out her special folder of pattern ideas. Here's where I should have seen trouble. Trouble with a capital T. Maybe even underlined. There was nothing in this folder that replicated even closely what I had in my head.

I got a piece of paper, drew what she was proposing and realised it definitely wasn't compatible with what I wanted. So when she went away, I started cutting, and as I cut I fiddled around with the layout. I spent quite a hefty amount of time moving things around. Everyone else was a little concerned that I hadn't done anything except move fabric around - but you know peeps, it ain't a competition, and I'm just here to do my own thing.

So I finally got to a layout I started to like. My sewing teacher was on the approach. Her deft hands swiftly rearranged the entire layout, while telling me that "unless it was symmetrical it wasn't going to work". Dots in the corners. Animal prints in the middle. Block colours to break it up. Here's me having a nervous breakdown of sorts.

I'm not assertive. Gosh, I know I need to learn to be, but sometimes I don't want to offend. So in my gentle way, I tried to back out from this arrangement with an - 'I've left some of my fabrics at home so maybe I'll just wait 'til next week to go further'.

Would she have a bar of it? Uh uh.

She started pulling fabrics out of her stash to go with mine. These included a hideous egg yolk yellow that made my head hurt. Some other random bits. And a block of Percy the engine.

I knew someone small (ie the Doctor) would LOVE that block. But really, it wasn't working with the aesthetic I had in mind. I have saved all my bits of fabric. My Japanese buys. My naughty little purchases. I've saved them for something special. Percy - sorry - but it wasn't working. My sewing teacher was shocked.

It was at this point I realised what I needed.

Cake. (And more to the point Stephanie Alexander's Orange cake. Who knew 250g of butter and 1.5 cups of caster sugar could taste so darn good? Ok I did.)

I packed up, feigned tiredness and left. In a jiffy. Before any more of my fabrics could be tainted with Percy-ness. So this is what I have done. Or rather, haven't done. Cut up some fabric. Ta-dah!

Just like Cinderella, I wish a Fairy Godmother would come and tap her magic wand over my head and make me a stellar seamstress. A supreme stitcher. Or maybe I could just dive in and remember, it's just fabric, innit?

22 comments:

Leonie said...

Where do you live? Oh bugger Sydney somewhere. All right ditch the sewing teacher if she isn't listening, it isn't about the sewing it's about her. If you decide to stick with her, Feigning tiredness might not work next time, have it sewn together before you get there and then it is "fait accompli" or: something already done and beyond alteration
(literally: accomplished fact)
Then see what colour her face turns.....ooops maybe my inner 3 year old is still hanging around from yesterday!! Good luck with your vision and seeing it through to fruition.

kitty said...

Don't you go to sewing class to learn how to sew? Personal taste & creativity is learnt from the heart & everyone is different. So be confident in yourself.
It's ok to use your own instinct when it comes to fabric choice & layouts. You're making it for your home & your little boy, not her.
Wow, I'm on my soapbox here. But I feel very passionate & I really like what you've come up with. I'll back you all the way. Good Luck!

Sarah said...

Oh dear - I am about to start a sewing class on stipiling and this is my greatest fear... JUst go with it girl and you will eventually work it out. Then you will be really proud of your achievements.

Cass said...

If you need some sewing help let me know and maybe we can organise something. Maybe you can come along to The Craft Room Sunday Sewing there would be heaps of girls there who could give you a hand. Anyway let me know if I can do anything.

Michelle said...

I'd be exactly the same, wincing on the inside at someone imposing their taste on me but too polite to say anything. And I'd probably go home and eat cake too. Must try that Stephanie Alexander recipe....

Michelle said...

Forgot to mention that your new pic looks super gorgeous!

CurlyPops said...

Bah humbug to that sewing teacher. I'd be ditching her quick smart!

Amy (badskirt) said...

I like assymetry. I like things lopsided. I like when half-a-bird or critter lies on the side of the block making you wish you could see more of him. It's compelling. It makes me smile.

What makes me smile isn't important though. If there's anything I can do to help let me know. Maybe I can talk you through what you're trying to create.

Good stuff, I'm sure!

Christie said...

good exit

ditch the teacher

do your thing gal!

Pip said...

Please no. That sucks. Has she got a craft book? Is she writing her SECOND craft book. No. She's not. No she hasn't. Tell her to stick it up her jumper - and listen to me.

AMY KAROL - bend the rules - all you need to learn to LOOSEN UP when you sew. Random is best. Personal taste is best. Even if it's hideous. Who gives a flying frock?

Poor Lexi. Have a stiff drink and do it your way. Even if it's wonky. Your way is the best way.

NotABlogger said...

Bravo for leaving! Your inner aesthetic trumps anyone else's every day.

Jessi said...

i feel your pain and dire need for cake at even the thought of adding anything thomas related to the mix...

go with your head and heart i say xx

Home Girl said...

sounds like my kind of cake. hold on to your guns honey, u got a great eye and that pillow looks ace. i love pips advice - & she knows what she's talking about xx

Monique said...

Poor you Miss PMM. You deserve better then this stifling teacher is giving you. And WOW!..that new pic of you is gorgeous. Maybe she was jealous of your obvious good looks!

handmade romance said...

here! here! to all of the above! go with your instinct you know whats best for you. creativity is about bending the rules, experimenting and doing it your way. i love the layout and colours in the fabrics in your pic. ditch the stodgie teacher i say ; ) happy sewing x

Bek said...

Your sewing teacher sounds a little like my textiles teacher in Year 7, the one who inspired my 19 year sewing drought. I really like where you are going with your pillow. And I am with you on Percy.

Black Eyed Susie said...

I've been lurking a bit and can't remember if I've commented but have to weigh in here.

Bugger symmetrical!! I say give it a shot anyway you like it - you can always unpick. The charm of sewing is that you can do what you want and perfection isn't the aim. Making something you like is. Anyway, just look at some of the really brilliant quilters (Denyse Schmidt springs to mind) who don't do symmetrical.

I would have probably handled it worse than you and done what she wanted and went home feeling like crying 'cos' I'm a woose!

Cindy said...

First up - the only rule of sewing is "don't sew your finger - that hurts" everything else is up for negotiation.
Secondly obviously the solution is to move to Melbourne, I would be happy to teach you the moves in a swap for some of that good sounding cake.
I don't think you need to quit sewing lessons if you are enjoying sewing - you just need to quit THIS ladies sewing lessons. Unless of course you need an excuse to eat cake and then I am all for it.

Kirsty said...

Don't go back Lex. You're doing great by yourself.

Liesl (Hoppo Bumpo) said...

My motto is learning is what's left after you have forgotten everything you've been taught.

Do you live near a Spotlight that runs lessons? I have really enjoyed the lovely laid back, congenial atmosphere of the classes at my local Spotty. Done 4 terms in a row now. Cheap too.

leslie said...

dude. i wish i lived near you, we could sew together and i could answer any questions you have while you just do as you please. mentally tell your sewing teacher to get stuffed (i know you already have) and keep going with that pillow! i can see why you debate going to this class...

Jolene said...

oh sweetie, what a shite that sewing teacher was to push that! Sometimes, teachers get so entrenched in the *rules* they forget the gorgeousness of creativity! I would love to say that you should just tell her to stick it, but I am the same - not very good at standing up for myself even when I know I should!
Your post makes me want to stop past and have a stitch and bitch and sewing however-the-hell-we-like session!
(ooops, that's a bit full-on for a delurking post! Hee)