First Class

As soon as the clock struck 10:00, she looked at each students sitting around the desks then said, “Hi, my name is Maureen.”

Her eyes were sharp and her face was serious. She then asked, “Before we start, let’s go through some rules.” She gave each person a stapled handout.

As she went through the list of rules, the expectations were clear: be on time. She doesn’t want to hear people saying “I have a stupid question.” There is homework and if we want to learn, we should do the homework. Be honest. No bashing.

Then, all of a sudden, she asked, “Why do you come to this class?”

I was scared. I did not know how to sew a button or fix anything. I didn’t know how to use a sewing machine. I only came because I wanted to make some pajamas for kids.

I must have mumbled something and then she said “ok” and then turned away.

After inquiring all the students in the room, she said, “This is class about fitting. You need to first learn to fit and make clothes for yourself before anyone else.”

“When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror?” She asked another tough question.

I couldn’t help laughing. I got lucky to even comb my hair before I sent kids to school.

“When you go home, before your take a shower, look at yourself in the mirror. That’s your first homework.”

Then she moved to the ironing board. “Who knows how to press?”

She then explained that for garments, you should always press, not iron. She then showed the whole class how to use the ironing board to properly press a shirt. The wider edge is where you place the back of the shoulder part of the shirt while the sharper edge can be used to iron where the sleeves meet the shoulders.

The iron should go between the buttons. For ladies’ shirts, there is not stiff lines while the men’s shirts, press a line by aligning the seams on the arms.

It was my first time to learn how to press a shirt. By this time, my brain was full from all the things she has taught me.

Towards the end of the class, she wanted us to sew 3 buttons: a two-hole, a four-hole and one that looks like a mushroom. She also wanted us to sew 4 seams: 1″, 5/8″, 1/2″ and 1/4″.

I left the class and felt overwhelmed. Little did I know that it was that intense for the next few weeks.

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