Sunday, December 8, 2013

The one when I left the sewing class crying

I never really enjoyed sewing. I mean, both my grandmas were professional seamstresses, my mom is great with a sewing machine and well, I cannot follow a simple pants pattern without cursing… But you know, that’s OK. I had made peace with the fact that my sewing machine would be used only to hem pants or sew bean bags… until I saw this great upcycling workshop advertized by an acquaintance of mine… It sounded simple enough, no patterns, no serger needed. Only a big bag of used clothes and creative ideas. I had both.
 I had selected my projects weeks in advance, had created a Pinterest board of ideas and well, I had great big plans and a vision. Yeah, you see where I am heading… It started going downhill as soon as I picked up the scissors… or maybe just a bit before, when I started layering the clothes on myself in front of the mirror and could not see anything anymore. Other participants were suggesting ideas but I could not see what they were seeing.  I had no idea where I was heading or even where to start. This is when the teacher said that at some point, you just have to take the plunge and start cutting. And she suggested cutting open the front of my Myco Anna dress from top to bottom. I asked if she was sure. She nodded and said yes. And I proceeded. Now, she said, put the blue t-shirt underneath and play with the cut up dress in front of the mirror. But I still could not see what to do. And then, there were other participants that also needed help so she left me alone to figure out what to do. So I stood there and tears welled up in my eyes. I ran to the bathroom. As I sat there, sobbing like a heart-broken teenager, I tried to figure out what was going on. I realized that I felt inadequate.

I finally came out of the bathroom, all red-eyed and puffy-faced, feeling ackward among the participants. I asked for help (again) and started pulling apart the Myco Anna dress, the way my girls dismember their Polly Pockets.
As focused as I was on the project (I have lots of flaws, but I sure am persistent), the rest of the day was a daze of other people chatting, laughing (which made my misery even worse… we all know misery loves company), drinking tea, eating dark chocolate and holding back the tears of frustration.
When the day was finally over, I climbed back in the safe space of my frozen car. As night was falling and I was heading home on the highway, tears trickled down my face as I cried like a toddler after a hard day at daycare. 
I was hoping to leave the workshop empowered. I thought it would get my creative juices flowing once again. I had thought about all the great projects I could tackle by myself after the class, but I only felt dumb. I was no seamstress. And then, as I embraced all those ugly feelings, I felt something shift inside. A softening. 

Then, as I took the highway exit, I felt a twinge in my lower abdomen and remembered that it was almost my moon time. And maybe I had drunk too much wine last night and that made me hypersensitive today. Maybe it was not just about the freaking dress that I could not make. 
There is something stangely comforting about blaming your hormones for emotions that feel wildly out of proportion.
As I pulled into our driveway, with a thick layer of dry tears on my face, I took a deep breath and smiled. Sure enough, as I walked in, I was greeted by excited little girls who wanted to see *all* my creations. And, I was able not to fall apart when they said: Just that, mama! That’s all you did in your class?? 

Because, hey, hormones got my back!!


Sarah-Our Island Home said...

Haven't we all felt like that at one time or another? Although it is good to once in a while leave our comfort zone, be courageous, adventurous and try new things, we sometimes can be disappointed, some experiences or situations can turn out to be unpleasant. We must accept this and remember to not be hard on ourselves (you are very brave to have tried it out!) and yes, we must also remember that some days there may be hormones at play! Thank you for sharing your feelings.

Catherine said...

Yes, Sarah... It took me a bit of a push to get out of my comfort zone and I was hoping it would be a positive experience... Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But every time, you gain something out of the experience!

Heather said...

Awww. So true. Damn hormones! Anyway, come over some time and we'll up cycle some stuff with the girls - I do hate arguing with sewing machines, but I've always enjoyed cutting up my clothes. I started doing that when I was a kid and making clothes for dolls (but more by tying things together than sewing). I am sure that you can do it, but you already do so many things amazingly!

Vanessa said...

I feel like this almost every time I sit to sew and I claim to love it! Good for you for even going to the class and pushing through it. It's a nice reminder to us all what a challenge sewing can be, but how fun and rewarding it is. I have two young daughters and this also helped me remember that while WE can be so hard on ourselves, they're always watching us.

Catherine said...

Awww, thanks Heather and Vanessa! It feels good to know that even seasonned upcyclers and seamstresses argue with their sewing machines!!

Maybe my expectation for it to be fun is a little too much!... An yes, Vanessa, I am more self-conscious about it now that my girls are watching me being hard on myself!! They are actually teaching me to be more forgiving... As I handed Mara her upcycled t-shirt (that I was not super proud about...), she said: Mama, it's gorgeous, it's perfect!!

renee @ FIMBY said...

There is something stangely comforting about blaming your hormones for emotions that feel wildly out of proportion.

I don't think it's strange at all. And it's completely valid. My moon time hormones seriously skew how I see things. Molehills become mountains, that kind of thing.

I love all the upcycled fashions I see around here. We have several local designers and artists who do this, and my friends wear some of these pieces and they always look so funky but I've never braved making something myself.

I keep hoping one of my sewist daughters will take an interest in this and eventually sew cool clothes for me. But their interests seem to lie elsewhere..

(ps I loved your story, even though it was painful for you. xo, Renee)

Catherine said...

You're right, it's not that strange. In fact, I want to read more about it and what you suggested on your blog a while ago in on my list... I simply find it strange that I keep forgetting every month that it does that to me and then, it's like duh!! Of course!

I now know why the upcycle fashion is so expensive! It's a lot of work, a a vision and more sewing skills that I had imagined! But it sure is gorgeous!