A blog about my interests, which include fabric landscapes and various and assorted other artsy pursuits and sometimes known to contain mumblings of a random nature.

Friday, October 09, 2009

That was then......

and this is now. Yikes!!! Obviously cleaning my studio for the cyber tour didn't last.
I'm back working at my coat which explains the piles of denim lying about. It's funny that, although I really want this coat, I keep putting it off to do other things that seem to somehow be more important. It's not just procrastination - I think more likely it's downright fear of mucking it up somehow.

I have a complete and total phobia about making clothes stemming back to high school. Every girl at that time was required to take home economics, which included half a year of cooking and half a year of sewing. I'm 5'9" and the sewing teacher was about 4 foot nothing in high heels, and for some reason she had a dislike going on for me. At the end of the term everyone was to create something which then had to be modeled in a public show. All the other girls were allowed to choose fairly simple pieces, but when it came to me...well, nothing would 'do' in her mind unless I did a tailored 2-piece skirt & jacket set for my project. My parents were struggling to make ends meet and purchasing that amount of fabric in the proper weight was not something they were happy about doing.

I struggled my way through making the outfit (with my mother's help) and made the skirt in a length I was comfortable wearing (not the minis that were the current style). I was 99 lbs and had REALLY skinny legs and knobby knees and there was no way I would ever wear a mini. At the dress rehearsal for the show I put my outfit on, the teacher took one look, and promptly hacked off my skirt to the length SHE felt was proper.

Well, I wore it, because I wanted the 50% of my mark, and was utterly mortified. When I got home that night, my mother (who never threw ANYTHING out) told me to take it off and she mutely held the lid of the garbage open so I could throw it out.

Needless to say, clothing is not something high on my list of items to make! I have managed to create a bunch of recycled denim jackets, but I seem to be able to justify doing those by saying they are a 'craft' and by using a crazy quilt method. This new coat is something I have wanted for a long time and I really am determined to finish it. If it doesn't work out, there won't be any pictures to show because it will end up the same place as that cursed 2-piece suit!!!!


  1. Oh MA, that story makes me so sad. Teachers sometimes just dont understand the power they have to inspire or discourage their students. Take the coat slowly and if you feel stuck take it to a local fabric store or someplace where they could direct you to someone that might help you get over your fear. Maybe even the local high school---may have a home ec teacher that could help you. Here's my hope for an empty trash can. Susan

  2. It is amazing what a difference a great teacher and a not so great one can do to a child or teenager. My daughter was a kindergarden teacher for 8 years until she had her first child. 14 years and 3 boys later the youngest is finally gone all day. She put her name in for substitute teaching and they called her and she did 2 days in a special needs class. She was shocked to tell me how one of the teachers treated the children. She is a softie at heart and said she quietly would go and give them a little hug or a kind word when she could.

    As far as the coat I remember the gorgeous jean jacket you made with a fur collar. It was beautiful. You can do it MA. I have much faith in you.



  3. I know what you mean about Home Ec teachers.
    They were a law unto themselves.
    About the jacket--think of it as if you are making one of your gorgeous dolls.
    You can do it just take your time.

  4. That teacher was a nasty b___ch!


  5. Keep repeating: "Its just fabric... if I don't like it I can do it again"

    That's the mantra that's let me tackle more than one project I was sure couldn't move form my head to completion, and sure enough, you can always toss or repurpose the item or change the vision as you work -- there is no ONE right way... :-)

  6. Anonymous9:29 PM

    The sad part to me is that almost everyone has a story somewhat like this one and the influence these times have on us over the long haul is truly amazing. I had a the same teacher for both 5th & 6th grades who didn't like me and it pretty much ruined my school days as far as intellectual achievement goes. Then in 9th grade my mother made me take Latin, (which I flunked) and wouldn't let me take home ec because she said she could teach me what I needed to know. She and another mother actually went to the school board in order to get us out of home economics. Not only didn't I get taught much by my mother in the way of home economics but home economics with its sewing, cooking and that sort of thing is exactly what I SHOULD have been learning. The only thing that I would have liked better would have been computers and in 1956-1960 there was no such thing in the schools.

  7. What a story. But I know as talented as you are you can do anything. I have no doubt in my mind MA. I've seen it. She just wasn't a very good teacher.

  8. hi MA, your studio room looks better now that it's mussed up. That was an awful story about your Home EC teacher but Sus is right, we all have one or two stories similar. I was humiliated in art class by one male teacher who didn't like me because i wore my hair parted in the middle! I have trouble even now with painting. So i can sympathise with you but hopefully working with denim can be looked at in a new light.
    Take heart, K.

  9. Anonymous10:26 AM

    What a (w)itch..substitute a (B)! I was always lucky with teachers but that didn't help my sewing!!(as you well know) Plug along you can do it despite her! I can hardly wait to see the finished produce. I know it will be fabulous as is all your work!
    Mrs Noofy

  10. Oh, what a stupid woman you had as a teacher! It is a shame, really.
    Take you time, enjoy the process of making your coat to your liking! I too hope, no I'm sure, your bin will remain empty!

  11. Poor, MA. That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger or bitter. LOL...

    I had a Home ec teacher from hell too. Had to make horrid food no one in their right mind would eat and had to make a quilted vest, ugly style very unfashionable fabric. : (

    But then we got a young thing just out of college and she did the coolest things. Candy houses for Christmas cool clothes....


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