Thursday, March 14, 2013

Paying it Forward

I've been busy, lately, too busy to post anything. Between sewing for clients, travelling for a 4-day board meeting in Seattle, and my part time job, there has barely been time to breathe, let alone write. But I have to let you in on my latest new role, because it's making my heart beat faster and giving me a great sense that all's well with the world - the role of mentor.
I was approached in early February by a teacher (who's also a client) at the local high school, asking if I'd be interested in working with a student on her senior project. Kathryn has applied to several schools for fashion design, including Parsons, Pratt, and Mass Art, and her project is to make one of her designs come to life. I've held onto a dream that one day I'd teach and pass my sewing knowledge along to the next generation, and it took only moments for me to agree to be part of her journey.

She came to our first meeting with her laptop to show me some sketches, and we talked about what she hoped to accomplish. Holding tight to my tongue as I looked at her ideas, I carefully suggested we start with the basics, as she has next to zero sewing experience. We'll attempt a skirt first, then a top, using basic patterns from which we can jump off into some of the design elements she's trying to capture. I sent her off to find some fabric for a muslin and then a first try at her skirt.

This is New England, and the weather has a way of making its presence known, and two blizzards have intervened, throwing a few monkey wrenches into the already limited time we have to meet. But we've met twice this week, and progress is being made. First, she had news for me when she arrived - she's been accepted at Mass Art, so at least one possibility for next year is in place! We talked about design competitions: "Project Runway" of course, but also my experiences with the Threads/ASDP challenge, where I was a finalist the one year I actually finished an entry, and Passion for Fashion at last year's ASE where I watched two of my friends creating their entries. Kathryn has no wishes to enter one of those competitions, but she does watch them thoughtfully.

My finalist entry in 2010 Suit Your Style Threads/ASDP Challenge

Today she cut out her muslin skirt, sewed and pressed darts, pinned the side seams together and sewed one of them. It was a blast watching her reaction as she created the darts, marvelling at what the shaping did to the fabric. A piece from my stash went home with her, for the 2nd test skirt, because she hadn't found anything suitable at the local Joann's. I'm excited to help her learn, and really looking forward to our next session. Will we be able to accomplish all she hopes for before her school year ends? Probably not, as we've set our sights pretty high. But however far we get, we'll both be enriched by the process.

1 comment:

  1. What an incredible gift you are giving this young woman!! Enjoy every minute.