Today I finished the second piece of the collection of wedding tops and skirts I am creating for my Etsy shop. Yesterday while I was stitching, clipping and pressing seams I felt at peace. Many people don’t bother with pressing and clipping seams as they sew. They think it a waste of time. I enjoy it. I like the sound of the steam coming from the iron. I barely let the iron touch the seams. Suddenly I am transported back to high school. I can visualize the long tables, dress forms and muslin everywhere, industrial machines humming, and plenty of young ladies talking and laughing. I can hear the teacher admonishing someone not to press the seam to death or to slow the sewing machine down.
I am a graduate of the H.S. of Fashion Industries in New York. Four years of intense study, spending several days each week in 2 periods of fashion art and 2 periods of fashion design draping and construction. As students we complained a lot. “Why do we have to baste the seams? Why can’t we just pin the seams together and sew them?” “Why do I have to take that seam out? It’s straight.” Now I know why. Our teachers were trying to bring the best out of us, trying to give us a solid foundation. I just watched a repeat of a fashion design show that aired recently. The designer had safety pinned the skirt of the dress to the bodice and was trying to defend that crap. He doesn’t sew; he has people who do the sewing for him. He thought the show was about designing, not about sewing. I think that’s a big problem. How can you truly create if you don’t know how a fabric will react when you use certain construction techniques? What type of seam will bring about the best results? Which grainline will produce the best drape? Should you interface, line the garment, what?
Today I finished the French binding on the top by hand. It was quiet and I named the top “Quiet Beauty” and thought about my high school teachers. Many may be dead now. I won’t say what year I graduated, but my yearbook is gold because it was the school’s 50th anniversary. I want to say thank you to all of my teachers. You taught us well. You polished raw diamonds. While we went on to other things in life, the skills we honed in those classes are still with us. Rest assure, even your worst student won’t be on national television putting a dress together with safety pins.