04 August 2011

our creative space . . . 'dedicated to all the horror sewing teacher experiences from school' & a 400th post crafty prize

Greetings all,
My, how the craft world has changed??  Mollie Makes anyone??  I've subscribed.  When i talk about how 'craft' never went out of fashion, it was always groovy . . . to anyone who will listen . . . almost everyone has a horror story or harrowing experience from a nasty, spinsterly, creepy or just plain scary sewing teacher from school.  I'd like to thank Jodie from Ric Rac (the famous designer behind such greats as Ernst the turtle & Fiskars the Viking, pure softie making genius) for inspiring this post, when she sent an email today saying "my textiles teacher had no eyebrows - she was terrifying".  This inspired post is dedicated to those of us who made it through the other side of school sewing classes!!  You will be graded & there is an award.
My first 'formal' sewing experience came in the form of my year 6 non elective Textiles & Design teacher, Mrs Mack, who straight up took a dislike to me as she loathed my big sister in year 9, i never stood a chance.  Not only was she a control freak, man hating, bitter, stressed out mother & could not stand imperfect stitching, or teaching, she was just the right kind of woman to be teaching skills for our married future!!  Right??

She would take over our sewing projects; shield her precious Bernina machines from us; hide pins, scissors, rulers, needles (in hindsight, anything we could fashion into a shiv)
 & even take OUR sewing projects home for her to finish at HER house.  I wonder how she graded her own work??
OK, so i went on to study pharmacology & psychology at Uni, NOT sewing or design but it's amazing what 'nesting for a baby' does to you & unleashes your skills (which my mother taught me, NOT Mrs Mack).  Let me dust off the psychology credentials . . . welcome, relax, tell me, why didn't you like your sewing/cooking/ design teacher??  Has it ruined your desire to ever own a sewing machine or to darn a sock??  You're in a safe place . . . the best comment will win an awesome crafty prize as it's my 400th post, yahoo!!  Just follow this blog & comment here, drawn Sunday 14th August 9p.m.  Did your textiles teacher have eyebrows??  Good luck, extra entry credits for sharing this giveaway on FB, bogs & Twitter. 
By year 9 i was thrust into non elective Home Economics, with the rest of the maths/ science stream, with Mrs Mack AGAIN!!  My strongest memories included her constantly referring to everything we cook "for when you are flatting with friends" which made us cringe, seriously, we'd have to cook when we grow up & leave our comfortable North Shore lifestyle, noooo . . . & she called 'kebabs' . . . 'kebobs', every time she said it, the entire class hushed 'kebabs' in unicen, it was brilliant.  Teen angst & dislike, the tables had turned on this woman.  She also wore an apron with "Natural Gas" on the front, say no more, made us giggle & make farty noises every lesson!!  Happy creative spaces everyone, love Posie 
EDIT: the prize is not a bunch of half used reels of cotton, it's a really good surprise prize!!  I am loving the comments/ entries, some of you are pure evil, clearly tortured or have coped quite well considering what these teachers put you through!!  I have to say the funniest stories are coming from the co-ed schools, those boys were all such bad influences & i ate an ANZAC biscuit made with salt not sugar in class once, it was revolting, damn girls!! 


Tas said...

My home economics teachers were actually quite nice...though my sewing teacher did make me re-do that zip in my crepe de chien skirt 8 or 9 times (never sewed the stuff since) which I did consider a tad unnecessary.

But, as a new kid in class midway through high school, I joined the cooking class where friendships and prac groups had already been forged. So I got stuck up the back with the couple of rebel boys who swore, made rude jokes and made penises out of their cookie dough...and anything else that could be moulded into a phallus really. So I can whinge about my cooking teacher. How could she have ever thought that putting the academic book nerd with the feral boys at the back was ever going to come to anything good? (oopsie; that was a naughty pun)

Posie Patchwork said...

We're off to a flying start, laugh out loud value here already, a giant cookie penis, i'm starting to feel for the poor teacher in this one!! FYI Tas grew up to be a Vet. Love Posie

Christina said...

Our home economics teacher in year eight was a rather big woman and nearing retirement. She was the only teacher we had that still made up line up outside the class room in two rows like at primary school - a row of boys and a row of girls - she would then make us wait until we were nice and quiet and all looking at her. Then she would reach into the neckline of her dress and remove the room key from where it was tied to her rather ample bra (!) and hand it to the first person in line to open the door. Needless to say, no one ever wanted to be first in line!

My sister and I still laugh about this. :)

PS. She didn't like me either. My mother was a dressmaker and taught me to sew quite young. In class I would sew quickly and our teacher would come running and yelling 'red light, red light', to get me to stop as if I were a speeding car!

Leah said...

I only did non-elective textiles, but that was enough. First we made a pillowcase, then a bag. I was marked down on the bag, as my mother 'must have helped'. Then a free choice project -I chose a toy mouse, from a fairly involved pattern. The teacher cut off one of the arms shorter than the other, and then marked me down for that! When it came to choosing electives, textiles didn't even make my shortlist... but I never stopped sewing and making.

Bree said...

my home ec teacher was nice too, when I had her in grade 8. I didn't take home ec after that but I did already have the sewing basics from my family.

unfortunately I can't give Mrs U any credit for my sewing skills, that goes firmly to my 2 grandmothers, my mum and my aunt! thanks ladies! :)

Posie Patchwork said...

Love Christina throwing her twin sister towards the 'bosom key' but horrified how they still assume good sewing has been done by parents!! Poor Leah!! It's not like if you got 100% in your maths they'd accuse you of having parents help!! Argh, love Posie

Tin Can Daisy said...

I feel like I ought to be apologising here because I went to a Steiner School and was positively blessed with a myriad of crafty experiences. I got to try so many things....weaving, knitting, crochet, sewing, dyeing, basketry, candle making, quilting, pottery, copper work, wood work...I could go on and on but I'd better not. It looks kinda rude lol. I do have a non-positive experience though, it was beeswax modelling. As a littlie we had to do beeswax modelling in winter (it was supposed to be a will strengthening exercise) which was traumatic for me as my hands were always freezing in winter. I would beg my teacher to warm my lump of wax after I'd tried desperately to make it somewhat malleable by sticking it under my arms or sitting on it, but even after it had been warmed by my lovely teachers man hands it would be a hard cold little block within minutes of being in my frozen little fingers. There were always tears for me when it was beeswax time!! And as for the will strengthening...well, it was more will crushing for me. So even in a Steiner school you can be traumatised by an experience lol.

loulou said...

Now that is a funny post miss posie

I remember my teacher very well.
She taught us some wonderful tips but was very very starched within herself as you have described yours.

There was always a really cool, hip well dressed one that taught another class and not ours - we always had class envy and wished she was ours.

have a lovely night



Amanda said...

Your teacher does sound scary, but I do love the apron story. Did she ever cotton on do you think? My sewing teacher was lovely, although I'm not sure how much she taught me. My grandmother and my mum spent hours teaching me how to sew, knit, crochet, and everything in between.

LionessLady said...

I game my home ec teacher food poisoning! She took my porcipine meatballs home for dinner and they may have been a little underdone. Whoops.

Posie Patchwork said...

Loving this, from apologising for a nice Steiner experience (good for you, sounds delightful) to giving your Home Economics teacher food poisoning, well done Lioness Lady!! Love Posie

Seaweed and Raine said...

Oh your story made me both cringe and laugh! Thanks :)

My T&D/Home Ec. teacher was actually pretty nice, not in the High school cool cred kind of way, but in a flowery teacup kind of way. Her name was Mrs. Cotton - yep, totally appropriate.
I don't recall a whole lot from her class (except one of the guys stepping on a needle and having another student run up to the Technics building for a pair of pliars to pull it out of his running shoe and foot before he got whisked off to hospital), but around the same time I started sewing at home... I was happily stitching away when my mum's Singer sewing maching ATE what I was working on!!! I got into trouble (little did I know about tension then), and didn't touch a sewing machine till last year - some 18 years later!!! So baby steps for me, I am slowly becomming friends with my 1935 Bernina, whom I have dubbed 'Nenes'.

ally said...

Oh Posie - the stories about our sewing teacher go on for hours - she was a total hoot/nightmare. (now/then)

I remember having to cheat to get my machine licence - I meticulously stuck a pin in by hand all along a straight line and tricked her. And then proceeded to never sew a stitch in class but spent all the time with the boys hiding the cooking ingredients and switching the flours and sugars around.

MonetPaisley said...

I complained with all the other kids but secretly I loved ou textiles and home ec teacher. Ahe taught me things I would never have.learned other wise. Slash your choux pastry with drops of water befire putting in the oven, there is no need to baste, you can sew over pins if you are careful. How to thread an overlocker, how to hem using a machine. I thinl alot of these are probably no-nos when teaching sewing but honestly, who tacks?

Amanda said...

I had a tough sewing teacher and she never gave A's so she said but I got one for my applique. I loved sew class, she was a good teacher. I don't think anyone else enjoyed it though. I was a science geek too at school but never went on to do anything with it, but I did use the sewing skills.

OLEBEANS said...

My sewing teacher was not what you would expect - she loved latex or anything as tight. her aim to improve our wardrobe so that we all could find husbands that would buy us the fineries that we obviousley could not make.
She always wore the highest of heels, how she ever used a peddle on a sewing machine is beyond me. She loved this burnt orange colour which complimented her spray tan wonderfully. The manicured nails were perfect for pulling out pins.
The last lesson I attended she was teaching the "value" of a french knot to add accents to "unmnetionables" - her words not mine !!! At this stage I decided textiles were not for me and changed to wood and metal work!! Still to this day I can not tie a french knot with out having bizarre flashbacks to spray tans and high heels.
PS she ended up marrying this very cute but very poor young man, had three children and as with us all could not fit into those latex suits anymore

Kerryanne English said...

Oh no Posie... you've unleashed a monster grudge in me. My year 11 art/craft teacher actually wrote on my end of year school report that I was not artistic and would never amount to anything if I insisted on following this career path.

Well, Mr Browman... not only did I study art at tertiary level, but have sustain myself in a successful 30 year career in this field. If he was still alive today (which I suspect he is not) I'd tell him to *#@! &%#... thanks for the encouragement you smelly breathed old man.

Thank you for the therapy Posie... feeling better already.
K xx

BeachVintage.com said...

Oh I remember Home Ec at school. We used to make cakes and stuff. Geez it was fun.

Pamela said...

My home economics teacher hated me. Seriously. But with good reason. I was a total nightmare but not in a naughty way, just totally skill-less.

I had Mrs S for all two years of compulsory home Ec. In year 8 we made boxer shorts. I somehow managed to get all the fabric tangled up and caught in the machine, Mrs S to the rescue!! However, while she was patiently unclogging the machine I inadvertantly stepped on the peddle and sewed her finger. Yep machine needle right through the finger. Needless to say from then on whenever I needed to help, she would say "step back away from the machine and put your hands in the air". Oh and a few weeks later I cut a small sliver of skin off my finger with an overlocker and bled all over the table causing a classmate to thow up. Mrs S had lots of vomit and blood to clean up. I was banned from the sewing room and spent the rest of those lessons sitting in the corridor with a theory book. I got an "A" for theory and a "E" for application.

But it doesn't end there... Cooking class with Mrs S... First I set fire to a tea towel and set off the school fire alarms causing a whole school evacuation. That earned me 4 weeks out of practical lessons. Then we had our test where we cook something and the teacher tastes it and gives us a mark. Mrs S watched everyone like a hawk. I was still banned and had to do mine on a different day. So when I finally did mine, it looked good, smelled awesome. She took a nice big taste and gave me a mark. However the next day she wasn't at school. A week later she was back and I was INDEFINITELY banned from all forms of practicals, as she had been absent / hospitalised with severe food poisioning... Yep, I poisoned my Home Ec teacher with my cooking skills.

I became a bit of a legend in my own lunch box for all the wrong reasons and the most likely to "starve to death" in the school year book.

Posie Patchwork said...

Tears rolling down my face from Pamela, she's going to get her own award, so keep the crazy stories coming, my GOD you ladies have had some experiences. Love Posie

74 Lime Lane said...

oh dear, poor Pamela. That is an experience and a half. I did okay in the cooking but hopeless at the sewing. Although I somehow finished a pair of wearable shorts, have a feeling it wasn't me that finished, and a wonky potholder, which I'm fairly sure my mother still dutifully uses to this day. My teachers left so little of an impression I can't even remember their names. Although there was this cute guy in my cooking class...

BarefootBride said...

I remember vividly the musk-stick-pink jumpsuit I made in form 1 or 2 (think of the British group who sang "Making your mind up" type of influence). I never wore it because I didn't get it finished in time to get the buttons on :(

The next year I made a double sized white doona cover and decided to cover it in hand sewn black ribbon bows. Little ones, too. That never completely got finished either the way it was planned - the spacings between bows got bigger and I did more.

I don't remember the sewing teacher we had at my first high school.

Fast forward a few years to year 12 - I had a lovely teacher in home ec who sadly shook her head at me and said I'd never be a sewer. Imagine her look at our formal when she admired my black satin and organza dress, complete with mutton sleeved 3/4 length sleeves, and fitted to the knee where the organza skirt swished out like some crazed mermaid's confection. She loved it and I loved the look on her face when I announced proudly that I made it myself! Two years later I made an identical dress when I went to another formal but this time it was shimmery green dupion silk that kinda looked blue in some ways, with a jade green voile skirt and gold braiding around the neckline with peacock green seed beads sewn randomly on the bodice - they were meant to form a pattern but got random as I went along.

Yes, I am a child of the 80's where dagginess and big hair reined supreme!

trash said...

I don't think I ever finished a thing in 'craft'. Wait! No, I did. I chain-stitsched my name onto the front of my apron in Yr7 and in Yr 9 I sewed a patchwork cushion. It was meant to be a Maple Leaf/Bear Claw pattern but Mrs Robinson convinced me to rotate one of the triangles a certain way which then meant the whole thing was skewiff. But that was it for three years of compulsory craft lessons.

I do remember having to complete written homework assignments in the double lessons while everyone else got to sew stuff(and when I say complete I mean start).

My Yr.8 Home Ec teacher pointed out to me in one lesson that she had only ever given out detentions twice in her entire career and mine was the second. The first was to her own daughter! She may have been shouting a little bit by that point.

As a bonding experience in Yr 7 I remember writin a song with one of the other girls about our Home Ec teacher. Fire, burning and staff memebers might all have been mentioned. It was a catchy little number ;-)

Flibbertigibbet said...

Will you believe me when I say I never had a single sewing lesson or Home Economics lesson in my high school career? Nary a one.

However, my mother was a Home Economics teacher (who incidentally topped the state in 'Home Science' in her Leaving Certificate).

So, a perfectionist Home Ec teacher for a mother. Need I say more?

georgi hampton said...

I hated sewing class at school - i only took the compulsory classes. Literally every time I sat in front of a sewing machine I would break a needle or loose the bobbin case at the bottom. Eventually the teacher gave me hand stitching projects only, so I was stuck making a pin cushion whilst everyone else in the class made tote bags. They used the bags for te rest of the year to carry their books in. I was so jealous. I spent most of the time when not sewing my pin cushion using blanket stitch, in the spare scraps room - a small room with a bucket of scrap material. it was the best kind of lucky dip! so i guess it wasn't all bad. x

Tea for Talia said...

Closed the website! How am I ever going to get my teapot material now?

Fiona said...

Sewing lessons at school were such a bore ... Mrs Duff allowed us to do cross stitch and some hand sewing but not much else. I was already making a few clothes at home on Mum's sewing machine, so this seemed very tame and I dropped sewing as soon as I was allowed (aged 13 I think). Such a shame as I'm having so much fun now (30 years later) and wish I and my friends had had a more enthusiastic teacher.

Jane said...

My horror school sewing experience started when we were assigned the project to buy fabric to make a pair of summer pyjamas in year 8. I dutifully went to spotlight with my mum where this puberty hormone filled teenager proceeded to have a huge fight with mum over my fabric choices. wow that time was hard, just wanting to fit in with my peers and not buy 'daggy' fabric that I would have to embarrasingly produce each week as we worked on our project. cleverly mum responded by letting me choose (a totally foul green knit) and allowed me to (very slowly) come to the realisation that maybe she did know a few things about sewing and may have been helpful in choosing. this stubborn teenager proceeded to make the pyjamas and wear them for quite a while (just to prove a point, but really served to remind me each time I wore them that I should have listened to mum). My teacher graciously didn't comment on the colour, a very experienced teacher, I'm sure she had had similar issues in her classroom before and would have after me. I am thankful for the bits and pieces I learnt from that sewing class, but mostly the most important lesson - start with great fabric!


amummy said...

I can't remember any horror stories of about my sewing teacher.
However my horror story is in year 9 textiles we had to make a baby quilt (why they get yr 9 girls to make baby quilts when a lap quilt would be more appropriate, I do not know).
and I decided to cross stitch squares for one side of the quilt and the managed to break my arm so the quilt didn't get finished until I was preggers with DS 10 years later. Why I kept it for so long I do not know especially as I do not really like it now but it made a great floor mat for DS.
I only ended up doing sewing in year 9 because I didn't get into my preferred elective of computing.

Sharyn said...

My school nightmares began in Year 3. I came from a non sewing family - my Mum worked (in the 50's and 60's) and my best friend's mum was a dressmaker so the sewing teacher thought everything she did was perfect. I was made mto undo tacking stitches on a sampler over and over because they were noy straight and even. Even when my friend finally secretly did it for me the teacher said "no - do it again!"
At last in Year 6 (same teacher) I was up to making an elastic waisted skirt - all by hand. Shock , horror, my mother bought me some lovely blue and white spotted polished cotton material. The teacher said I couldn't use polished cotton. Money was pretty tight at home and Mum really saw red and went up to the school and tore strips off the teacher. Needless to say it took me all year and numerous unpickings to finally make the wretched thing. I'm sure I never wore it.
It wasn't till I was a teacher myself at my first placing that I came across a lovely sewing teacher who sat me at the back of the class and taught me to knit, crochet and use a machine along with the girls in the class.
As I sit in my sewing roon now I bless her every day for the joy she has given me. Sharyn

Miss Rosie said...

I was marked down in texiles & design for making shorts as shown by my mother, cutting on the fold to save fabric. But as I elminated a seam on each leg, I didn't follow the directions and was marked down accordingly, although the teacher said I had made them correctly with modification I had done. Nice way to teach kids to use their own brains.