‘Learning in Lockdown’
I suppose you could say this all started because I felt I had “completed” lockdown very quickly. I was done with complaining about not getting the flour I so desperately needed in the shops, even though up until now I had largely been happy with shop bought bread. I finally conquered the Couch to 5k app after a good few years of seriously half hearted attempts, and I downloaded Strava so the world blooming well knew I’d done it! I worked my way through all the drawers, cupboards, and miscellaneous piles of stuff around the house and ruthlessly tidied and decluttered. I have, in fact, had so much time on my hands that to this day my pants and socks are still meticulously Marie Kondo folded and arranged in colour order. If that doesn’t scream lockdown then I don’t know what does! But when all these tasks were done, I was still facing the fact that as a freelance musician, my diary had more scored out days of work than I cared to count and the only thing that I could now rely on being there each week was the Sunday night Zoom quiz with my friends. I needed something else.
Like most of us I expect, my Instagram scrolling time has gone through the roof, and I’m loving keeping up with my favourite accounts in almost real time. Sewing is a skill I have always wanted to learn, and I’ve been a keen follower of Sew Confident for a fair while, after watching a Glasgow Girls Club takeover. I’d been hoping to get to a beginners class for a long time, but I hadn’t been able to match up my days off to the days classes were running, back when the world was open for business. Seeing classes like the Zadie Jumpsuit and Kielo Dress going live online, I was just so desperate to get involved, but I knew they were waaaaay beyond what I was capable of. My basically untouched sewing machine was sitting in its nice flowery bag, pockets bursting with so much stuff I’d bought at the same time that I was so sure I’d absolutely need, right beside failed attempts at stitching stuff I thought would be easier starter projects and a book that looked like it would teach me everything I needed to know, but instead taught me that I was not going to be able to learn this alone. It was a classic case of all the gear and nae idea.One scrolling session brought the news I was dying to hear; Sew Confident was launching Virtual Beginners Classes! I instantly fired off a message to register my interest and I got an email as soon as the class sign up went live. I signed up embarrassingly quickly, bought myself the pack of everything I would need and filled a few evenings in my diary with the details of the 3 live classes that lay ahead. I couldn’t wait!
The course provided me with everything I could have needed to get started, and so much more! Before we even had our first live class, we’d had a couple of videos about how to prepare for our first project and these explained a lot of the stumbling blocks about fabric and the basics that I’d come up against in the past (no, Lynn, jersey is not easier because its stretchy). When live class number one rolled around, I’d given myself hours before hand to prepare everything, I put make up on for the first time in probably over a month, and I relegated my family to sitting outside in the garden so I could concentrate properly. Thank goodness it was a nice night! Even though everyone had introduced themselves on our Facebook group beforehand, it was still lovely to spend a couple of hours that evening learning new skills with new people, and bizarrely even online the atmosphere felt relaxed and supportive. It was just amazing to have a real live sewing expert there to look at the horrible birds nest of stitches you’d managed to create and have them tell you how not to have that happen again, and whether actually that little wonky bit you’ve just created really matters. You do not get that from the YouTube rabbit hole! By the end of that night I had a tote bag and I felt like I’d won Olympic gold medal! Cue lots of photos and posting to every social media outlet I had to hand, only stopping myself when I didn’t think my LinkedIn connections really needed to see that. The Virtual Beginners Facebook group has been amazing for this, its so nice to be able to see what everyone else has created, and congratulate each other when we get our projects finished. In between each live class, videos of other projects arrived in my inbox to keep me busy, and I have never been so excited to receive an email. There was even a day that the postman brought a parcel I’d been waiting on for a very long time, and I actually forgot to open it until the next day because I was way too busy making a brush roll. Things were getting serious.
One thing I noticed was how interested my friends and family were becoming in my sewing journey. I obviously talked about it a LOT! And, lets be fair, I am more than happy to give them every little detail. I was delighted when, during a socially distanced garden visit, my boyfriend’s mum asked me how the sewing was going and I just so happened to have most of the things I’d made with me. I say “most of” because it seems a little extra to carry bunting in your handbag, but that is a view I might just have to change. I even logged on to a Zoom catch up one day with some work friends, and was greeted with “Hi Lynn, how are you? Hows the sewing?”. Wow.
Being completely honest, I went into the last class and video project feeling a little deflated. I needed the sewing not to stop. This is when I came across my biggest challenge to date. Less than a week after completing the beginners class, there was going to be a live sew along of the Kielo Dress pattern, one of the classes I’d been so desperate to try, and I decided as soon as I heard about it that I was going to do it. I got the fabric that I’d need and that was going to behave itself for me (with lots of help from the ever wonderful Jenny), I got the pattern, nearly fainted when I put it together and realised how much bigger this pattern was than a tote bag, and set myself up for my Saturday morning marathon sewing sesh. I am incredibly proud to be able to say that I did it! Two and half hours, some stabbing myself with pins, a few sweary words and absolutely zero chat on the live and I had myself a fully functioning dress that I am so in love with. Its not perfect, and there are things that I will do differently when I give it another go, but dressmaking is something I have always wanted to do and I have finally reached the first rung of that ladder. Bring on the next step!
Taking on the Virtual Beginners Class during this really strange time has been amazing for me. It has given me something to keep my mind busy, something to keep me creative, and something new to love when I’m missing so much. When I was picking up a couple of bits for sewing my dress, the lady that owns my local haberdashery (because thats a place I shop now) said to me “you’ll be so glad you did this, you’ll never be bored again”. And she is absolutely right. Thanks to this class you could say I’m now “Sew Confident” (*cringes at own bad joke*), and Sew Confident definitely won’t be getting rid of me!
Stay Safe, and sending lots of love!
You can continue to follow Lynn’s sewing journey, and browse her other crafting projects, on Instagram @CraftyDivaUK
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