97.1 The Drive plays on the radio, making soft rock the soundtrack for tonight’s sewing class. As people arrive and begin setting up their materials, I walk around to talk to each sewist. There are 6 in class today, each at various skill levels, and working on different types of projects. Analiese, one of Anastasia’s own design interns, is working on her second tote bag. She’s using a black and white checked pattern and there is a ruffle around the top that she spends most of her time on.
For some of the other students, like Heather, this is their first class. Heather is making a pair of shorts out of pink and blue flowered cotton canvas, and she speeds through cutting out her paper patterns. She moves on to cutting her fabric and then, towards the end of class, she begins to practice serging on extra pieces of her fabric. For others, it’s their last class. Paola used today’s class as a makeup for a day she missed and is finishing up her own pair of shorts. She’s using a navy linen fabric with orange geometric designs. She sews together the waistline and attaches it to the pants, almost finishing the rest of the project by the end of class.
Roxy is just starting her project: a circle skirt in blue flower patterned cotton. She spends an equal amount of time cutting out her patterns and then cutting her fabric pieces out. By the last few minutes, she’s sitting at the sergers too. The class has also attracted two younger girls, both taking on big projects. Camila is starting a two-piece crop top and pants set, making it out of a patchwork denim material. She spends her time carefully cutting each piece of her two patterns, while Iris watches over her work approvingly. At the end of class, Camila has started cutting her fabric pieces. The final, and youngest, member of today’s class is Micah. She spends the class working on sewing the initial pieces of her shirt together, Anastasia sometimes sitting by her side to help her master the project. Her fabric is a light white cotton decorated with dark pink flowers.
Anastasia’s presence seems to encourage even experienced sewists. As Paola and I talk, she mentions that she has tried to work on her sewing projects at home before, but she can never seem to get things done because she doesn't have an expert nearby to help guide her along, or just be there while she’s working. I think this a common feeling for people, not really knowing how to proceed on a project without the direction of someone, or at least their presence. And that’s what our sewing classes provide: space to work on your own projects, but with Anastasia nearby, ready to help whenever you need it. And, of course, Iris’s meow of approval at the finished product.
Written by Miranda Marnik-Said