Master Tailor

The sewing hobby takes off.

Talk about sewing and I cringe. That was in the past, more specifically during home econ days in secondary school where we needed to sew and embroider pieces of clothing. Honestly, I can’t
remember exactly what was taught in the class, just that I
managed to scrape past the exam. And it’s not just sewing
but I failed miserably at cooking too. What I could remember
was that my partner lent me a hand during the classes
by tossing in the salt or sugar (when the teacher was not
looking) into the simmering pot when it was my turn at the
stove. Yes, I passed my home econ because I had great pals
that helped me then. (Guess the grading was more lax then?)
As for sewing, I was a klutz too; I can’t sew, cross-stitch or
mend any garment at all. When I started working, tossing the
clothes that needed altering to my mother became the norm:
pants or skirts that needed shortening; a tiny tear that needed
some fixing etc.
I was convinced that only those with nimble fingers can
sew. It’s a gift. You can only sew if you have nimble fingers.
End of story. Then, I found myself with a bit of time in my
hands. I was itching for something to do. I came across
this blog of a fashion designer who took up sewing classes
and then enrolled into a full time fashion design course in
a private school. She later set up her own shop and voila
started making clothes for people. At this point I must admit
that even though I don’t have a gift for sewing, I like fashion
design; or more explicitly, I like trendy clothes. The trendiness
in me may have been expressed overtly in the past through
wearing knee length boots and leather skirts in humid
Singapore, but now simmered into more understated wear
(with age catching up though I hate to admit). Anyway, I was intrigued by the blog and decided to take a shot at sewing
again and in the process discovered a few things:
Sewing gives a sense of accomplishment
Whenever you finish a piece of sewing, just like any piece of
work or project that you undertake, whether it’s small or big,
it always tends to give you a sense of accomplishment. The
best part is when you’re able to use, wear, or maybe display
the piece of sewing you’ve just done. Yes, that may be a first
attempt, still with a lot of imperfections; but the idea that you
have made a piece of clothing where you are the designer,
and where that is the only piece in the whole wide world,
gives you the satisfaction similar to any project that was
completed in the corporate world.
Sewing increases your perseverance & patience
If you had sewed before, then you’d experienced the endless
unpicking of thread that was inaccurately sewn, and that
was not pleasant. Sometimes, I’d un-pluck the threads 3 or
4 times, and in the process ripped off the garment. When
you’re a beginner, you need to sew and unsew, sew and
unsew umpteen times to get it right. Without patience, you
might as well as give up.
Sewing is more than thread and needle
When you make a piece of garment, you need to take
measurements. And you need to factor in allowances for
seams. I always feel that sewing is like math, which I hate.
Sewing is not just blindly tossing the cloth over the machine and start pedalling at your feet. Many times, you need to plan
and calculate before you actually sew on the dotted line. For
those new to sewing, they can start with patterns, where you
can buy at Spotlight or online at BurdaStyle.com. There, you
find styles of clothing that fit you. But first, you need to read and
understand the patterns before you sew. But when you learned
how to read them, you can sew anything. Make way for a new
wardrobe.
Sewing requires a calmness
I realised that whenever I’m frustrated or angry, I’d un-pluck more
thread. My sewing would also feel angry; my machine would
also feel angry; and I’d always end up re-sewing things. Having
a peace or stillness in you is essential to sewing; although
someone else may disagree and say that they sew best when
they are feeling mixed up. Well, I wouldn’t want to argue with
that. For me however, not trying to rush or complete the sewing
fast produces the least re-sewing attempts. Sewing makes you
more zen or zen makes you sew better? Whatever, as long as it
works.

Learn from the masters
Of course, a little guidance always helps us to reach our goals
faster. You can always sign up for classes. There are sewing
classes ranging from basic to professional ones like fashion
designing, where you are taught to design your own label. Now,
that is something to look forward to, isn’t it? Schools like Raffles
Design Institute, NAFA, and LASELLE College of the Arts offer
diploma and degree fashion designing courses. If you’re merely interested in pattern making and wish to skimp on the course
fee, you may like to try WDA funded classes at the TaF.tc or
the academy of fashion professions where you can learn
merchandising, design and production of garments and
shoes. http://www.taftc.org. Similarly, smaller groups might
be interested in a more relaxed or less regimented study;
they might consider Kadomay Dressmaking where they learn
the ropes of sewing from the principal directly. Young girls to
housewives are known to have attended the classes.
http://kadomay.jimdo.com/
The online sewing community
Those who know how to sew may not progress to be fashion
designers but they may be purely hobbyists who love sewing.
Some of course sew their own clothes and sell them online. A
great platform for handmade clothes is www.etsy.com. There,
you can make anything from jewellery to home styling ideas
and you can sell them online. You can also chat and discuss
sewing tips with likeminded others. Some document their
sewing journey online such as http://verypurpleperson.com/
and http://www.vivatveritas.com/blog/. A good one to follow
is also http://www.afashionablestitch.com/. These people are
sewing enthusiasts and they are an inspiration to those who
wish to learn how to sew.
Sewing is just like any other activity. You have to continue at
it till you realise it; what helps is of course your interest and
passion. With these, you can master anything.

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