Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Home Ec

Shop--No Girls Allowed
Here is a little glimpse as to what generation I belong to---in 8th grade, I had to take 'Home Ec' (short for Home Economics).  All of the girls did, while if you were a boy, you took 'shop'.  It seems so silly now; not that we had to learn cooking and sewing basics, but that boys weren't supposed to learn this too.  Heaven forbid that a girl would learn to use a power tool! We were forbidden from taking 'shop'.  Where was Gloria Steinem when you needed her? Obviously not in Ashtabula.

So the segregation was silly, but the Home Ec class itself was full of valuable life skills instruction, especially the sewing part of the class.  After I took Home Ec, I made a lot of my own clothes, even after college when I was financially broke as a beginning teacher.  When I met David, I made my wedding dress, and then I even made some dress shirts for him in his IBM days.  I also made curtains, patchwork pillows, bedspreads, and costumes for school plays.  I can sew buttons, replace zippers, hem, and repair clothes. Now, I don't make clothing anymore partly because fabric is more expensive than actually purchasing clothing (thank you overseas cheap labor). I've retained the sewing skills, though, as you will see!

This is all leading up to my role as a mentor.  My mentee, Alana, is extremely interested in dolls (many adults are doll collectors, so I feel this is an appropriate hobby.).  She has started creating her own doll outfits and furniture, so we recently went shopping at Joann Fabrics--purchasing a pattern and fabric to make a stunning little outfit for a Barbie.  Alana, unlike me, has never had 'Home Ec' and won't have it ever in school.  Too bad--but I can teach her what I know!  She is not quite ready to sew intricate curves with the machine, but is working on laying out a pattern, cutting it out, and pinning.  It's all good!  And fun!  We had a great time tonight, and I discovered I never lost my sewing skills that I picked up in the 8th grade--and now I have an eager student of my own! 

learning to cut out a pattern

my 32 year old Sears Kenmore

Barbie fashions! We were doing the upper right outfit.

Finished skirt and shawl--the top is next, and then the 'fitting'!

1 comment:

  1. This is great. I recently took a basic machine sewing class through chapel hill parks and rec. The instructor used to be a home ec instructor in the chccs, she's nationally board certified. I say "used to" because they cut her position. Very sad because those type classes are useful for EVERYONE: the highest academic achiever down to the kids who struggle. She also had a CH P&R class for middle school aged girls- maybe look into that for Alanna.