Some days I feel like I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing, others leave me fighting the urge to run away screaming and pack it all in. But mostly I just wonder at how I got here at all. Right here, just now?? I remember always wanting to have my own business, the first I made a dash at was Madonna style mesh singlets in the mid '80s. (You remember the ones, right?? lol) In fact I come from a line of women filled with entrepreneurial spirit: plans, dreams and ideas in plentiful supply. And despite a lack of measurable success a tenacity to just keep chipping away coz one day, ONE DAY something might just work! Every idea that I can think that we thought of over the years had a common thread, it was always an idea based on some form of creative pursuit. For me that has meant dabbling in a LOT of different types of craft. Most I have left behind, except Patchwork.
This week I have been mulling over some longer term plans for the business and somehow in that internal conversation I began to reminisce. Just how DID I end up here, in a Shed in my backyard, doing what I do? I believe it can be traced but to 1 event, and 1 person.
I have always sewn. I was given my first sewing machine at around 12. I had access to fabric and SCISSORS and the freedom to make whatever I wanted. My first job at 15 was on a production line in a womens clothing factory. Upon leaving there I worked in retail, but ended up back at school in my late teens studying dressmaking and design. Then marriage, children and part time jobs sewing or in retail. Really just variations on a theme over many years. Until my best friend of the time was turning 30 and I was stuck for a gift. I wanted the type of gift that money couldn't buy, a gift that expressed my feelings and was also a representation of me. A new friend (Yes Elizabeth Poland I am talking about you), suggested that I make a small fabric wall-hanging. Over a cup of tea one afternoon we poured through her quilting magazines to find a suitable project. I was a little amazed by the projects we found. I mean, who had thought of using a sewing machine for anything else other than bridesmaids dresses, clothes for the kids and the occasional set of curtains? Well I had made a doll for my eldest daughter, but dressing her had been the best bit! We selected something small and manageable in the time frame that included a touching verse about friendship and away we went. First hurdle....you want me to hand stitch the applique design?? lol The project was finished and gifted and I think appreciated (it was a long time ago...lol). But more importantly it set some embers smoldering, got the old brain ticking over.
Elizabeth then invited me to a craft class at her church. It was to be a mixed craft kind of class but one of the first projects on the list was the fabric wall-hanging pictured here on the right. As you can see FULL of applique, some simple piecing and embellishments. It caused me SOOOO much stress! Thankfully with the guidance of Elizabeth and her partner in crime Sally, it was finished and finished well. When I look at it now I can see so many things I would change....but really how can I consider it! This is the piece that really started me on the path to where I am now and Elizabeth and Sally have to be credited with giving this dressmaker an excellent grounding in Patchwork. Their willingness to advise and explain some of the peculiarities of the craft gave me the confidence to branch out and tackle larger projects on my own. I remember those classes and their kindness with much fondness. Because you see I wasn't always a compliant willing student. I KNEW how to sew for goodness sake, I have been been doing it since I was a child. The more I think about it, the more I wonder they didn't throttle me!
I need you to bare with me, I know I have just taken you down the garden path but I do have a point and now that I have told you a story I might just be able to get around to it....lol
I asked the FB group this week where and how they learned to patchwork. (and you thought my "Question of the Day:" was just random...but no...it is important research!!) Surprisingly few attended formal classes, some were instructed by friends or family members. But leading the way undoubtedly are the self learners. Gathering information from books, magazines, trail and error and maybe not so surprisingly in this day and age....online!!
I LOVE to teach. I taught dressmaking at a Bargain Box store in a previous life, so the progression to teaching patchwork was a natural one. I have been lucky enough to facilitate a class to the same group of ladies for a close to 4 years now. We started of meeting monthly, and this year increased that to twice monthly. I truly believe I have gained as much as I have given and I want to do it MORE! Especially focusing on those just dipping their toe in for the first time. I will be seeking more in person type teaching opportunities, but I have also decided that I can do that right here?? This blog can be anything I want it to be...so why not turn it into a resource for those who are remote or housebound or wanting to learn at their own pace in their own space.....
I have been mulling this for a while....but now IT MUST BE DONE!! Still working out the schedule and content but you have been warned. WATCH THIS SPACE!! LOL Tutorials are coming!!
PS got any idea for content?? Shoot me an email!! You gotta give the people what they want!
PPS if you haven't had a look at the website lately...you should! New fabric has been added and it is YUMMY! Click here to visit the Patchwork Promises store!