My sewing journey started when I was about 6 years old. Once every two weeks, an elderly lady came to our classroom to teach us embroidery techniques. We were to stitch them on a sampler and then make that sampler into a little pouch. (i still have it)
Afterwards, we got to pick a design (I picked an owl) and used all the acquired embroidery skills to embroider the design onto a bigger piece of embroidery cloth; When finished, the embroidery teacher would take the bigger pieces home and finish them with a cloth frame and backing. I must admit, after learning how to read and write, I think this was my favorite first grade activity!
I would continue trying to stitch things together on my own. The occasional Barbie outfit, some attempts at doll-making. But mostly, I would draw, day after day.
Sewing came back a bit later: when I was 15, I knew I wanted to learn how to sew. I wanted to make clothes and the most logical way for me was to learn how to make them myself! My mum has a sewing machine, but she really dislikes sewing. My aunt however, was very gifted in the sewing department. So, when I expressed my desire to learn how to sew, my mum sent me of to my aunt, to learn all the basics of sewing on a machine. She taught me how to sew straight lines, circles, spirals… onto a piece of paper. How to manoeuvre a piece of cloth so it wouldn’t stretch and how to keep nice seam allowances. She even gifted me some of her beautiful buttons and fabrics.
After the sewing crash course at my aunt, I set out to follow a series of sewing classes aimed at teens at the local sewing shop in Louvain. I had a truly wonderful teacher there, here name was Ria and she had so much patience! She encouraged me to take on complex projects (or to say: complex for someone who just started sewing) such as draped, twisted jersey top, an unlined coat and multiple high-waisted skirts. When I told her I wanted to make a knight’s costume for my dad (upon his request), she even took extra time to draft the pattern pieces and explain me how to sew everything. The costume came together at home, with help of my aunt. My dad still wears it once a year, when they have knights-themed weeks at his school.
Since those early years, I’ve had numerous teachers: at the costume design department, in my lingerie program, using google search & Craftsy to teach myself… But nothing beats those first teachers that bring a lot more than just the knowledge: they bring passion, they bring experience and they bring so much encouragement.
What’s your craft? Who taught you at the beginning? Who encouraged you and told you you could do it? Do you have a teacher you’ll never forget? I’d love to know!