I’ve made it to the end of term! Whoop, whoop!
So it turns out I don’t just contemplate in the bath, I have time to think on my car journey to and from my classes. In the last couple of weeks I’ve finished all of my classes for the summer holibobs. The realisation hit’s, that…I’m going to miss them. Yes, really.
Grab yourself a cuppa, this is a long one.
Whether I see them for a term, a days workshop or a whole year, they become part of my life. Granted, we have our ups and downs. It’s noted I’m not infallible but generally we rub along ok. As we all get to know each other we learn how each person ticks. Well mostly.
That awkward first night when no-one knows each other, I feel it too, grows into something more, we’re all here with something in common. We all want to sew, create something. I try to wheedle out any good or indeed bad experiences to gauge which way it’s going to go. Will everyone get on? I always hope so.
As we all get to know each other people relax, friendships grow and it’s no longer just a sewing class. It’s sewcial. People, generally, want to get on. Each class becomes a community, small granted but they’re all supportive of each other. It’s a nice atmosphere to be a part of.
Humour plays a large part in my class. I have to hope most people have a similar sense of humour to me or I’ll be apologising quite regularly due to my general ‘foot in mouth’ syndrome. I hope I’ve not overstepped the mark but I also hope someone would say if I’ve offended. We laugh. It feels like a lot, so I think we’re ok. I’m not naturally a serious person, I try but it doesn’t last long. We discuss many things in class, the fabrics we love and occasionally hoard. Where we might go to add to our collection and how to avoid buying the wrong type for a project.
Life in general gets an airing as we get more comfortable with each other. As straight lines are stitched or zips put in we cheer in celebration of the achievement. We commiserate when handing over an unpick and occasionally smile at a wonky seam. Well I can’t help myself when it’s been sewn around the pin.
The new names given to things. Technical language can be very overrated. Squash rather than press, ‘ Wang’ when a facing or collar doesn’t lay straight. I think ‘stiffy stuff’ might be my present favourite as the new name for interfacing. (Pipe down with the giggles at the back there.) The double entendres, that’s a whole other blog post.
No two classes are the same. Some will have a gentle buzz as they sew in quiet concentration while others will roar in laughter at yet another wonky stitch line or the sewing up of the armhole. It’s a look but not a comfortable one.
I’ve been told by one or two of my students that they feel ‘safe’. It’s ok if they’ve had a bad day, in class they can have time to themselves. I think it’s often given the term mindfulness, when you can just do. Physically doing allows your other brain time out. We all need that from time to time. It was once described as a ‘Zen-like feeling of calm’. This was a tongue in cheek dig when given paperwork which asked a student what she hoped to gain from such a class. I wish I’d photocopied that sheet as the phrase has been used many times. Sometimes it’s having a chance to vent, to reflect on the day and just let go. To enter the sewing zone. I’m not here to judge. What happens in the sewing room stays there. From size measurements to health issues and divorce proceedings. We’re in this together.
As skills and friendships develop I see people grow, blossom even. It’s taken me a while to realise it but that’s what I love about this job. It’s not just me sharing my skills, which is essentially why I’m there. It’s being part of that community of support. We laugh with each other and occasionally at me, apparently I make faces when I’m thinking.
We drink tea, we eat cake and put the world to rights.
It’s not just the student that grows though. I also gain from this gathering. Over the years I’ve also gained in confidence, they’ve encouraged me to ‘grasp the nettle’. I’m more likely to say ‘I’ll give it a go’. What if? Sod it, I’ll give it a go anyway.
I’ve met many students I now count as good friends. I guess it’s because we all have something in common but just occasionally it goes deeper than that. We connect. I’m pleased to bump into any of my students in a fabric shop, Yes that’ll work for that top. No, I think you’d be better with a softer drape…Yes, that’s very pretty, buy it!
Don’t underestimate the power of sewing or the ‘community’ it creates. It’s a positive pastime.