Back at the beginning of 2019, I took a basic sewing class at the New York Sewing Center. I decided, once and for all, that I would learn how to sew. My grandmother was an expert seamstress (she worked in a sweatshop in Chinatown in the 80s) and my mom was skilled enough that she made my Halloween costumes when I was a kid. It's been important to me to continue that knowledge, and I wanted to connect it to my interest in clothing and how it can be an expression of the self. It seemed appealing to have full control over the fit of my clothing and to choose the fabrics and finishes myself.
I love the process of learning how to do something that's new to you. At first you're really excited about it, and you dive into the process. At some point, you hit a level of frustration because you can't make what you had in your mind, or you don't even understand what it is that the instructions are telling you. You're about to give up, you're so annoyed. But you ignore the frustration and keep trying, and you get better at it, and suddenly you're on the other side. And that feels amazing.
Through a lot of trial and error, watching YouTube videos, ordering sewing machine parts on random web sites, poking myself five hundred times with pins, reading books, and scouring forums late at night, I managed to make two pairs of pants and a bunch of shirts this year. The second pair of pants fits me perfectly and they're the most beautiful color. I'm so excited that I have a general sense of sewing techniques and the shape of the craft of sewing. I've put a bunch of projects into the hopper and can't wait to get started.
Did you get a whiff of autumn in the air the other day? I certainly did, and memories of going back to school came flooding back to me. It's especially poignant because I'm going to be on the other side of the lectern this year teaching an evening…
I ditched Instagram and it helped me rediscover photography.