Forced to dive?

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Forced to dive?

Postby Midaila » Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:27 am

I'll soon be halfway throught my seamstress studies and I plan on graduating half a year early. I've been told that in ordrr to achieve that, I should do as much customer projects as possible. So, I've been talking about my school to people I know and gotten myself some sewing orders.

Just recently I've been feeling that all this forces me to give a bigger portion of my attention to only that one thing - and even more if I really start making school-related things at home too.

Sure, designing and sewing clothes is fun but I don't fancy diving feel the thought gives me. I feel like I won't have enough energy to all counter actions on the side, to keep things balanced.

Any thoughts?
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Re: Forced to dive?

Postby skannie » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:09 am

Hi Midaila

Yes, I understand that feeling of being trapped into specialising. I've been in that situation too, and I have some thoughts for you which might also help other scanners in a similar situation.

First I would say, remind yourself that it's only for a short time. There's a known end point. You won't be forced into diving for the rest of your life. Many many scanners have graduated from specialised courses, including me, and there is usually a period of intense focus required in order to do that. So, although it may not be the most fun for us, we can grit our teeth and do it for a while if we really want to achieve a goal.

Second, I think scanners can stick with one thing quite happily if it includes plenty of variety. This can be variety of tasks, subjects, environments or people. You have already mentioned some variety i.e. you will be designing as well as sewing. Also there are probably tasks and skills like selecting fabrics, cutting patterns, maintaining and operating sewing machines, fitting clothes on people. You must also do some marketing and interacting with people to get orders and take their measurements etc. Maybe you'll start establishing a presence online for your sewing business e.g. on LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter, or your own website.

There may be elements of reading, studying, researching and writing in your course as well as the practical work. Possibly they will teach you some business skills. There is probably some digital technology and computer use involved in making and designing clothes nowadays too. You will be travelling away from home to school, and maybe attending classes in different locations, with different teachers and fellow students. You may be eating food in student cafes or cafeterias, or using the college library and other facilities. So there's already quite a lot of potential for variety.

In addition to that, you can do whatever you can to increase the variety in your work. If you have any choice of study modules or projects, choose ones that are as different as possible, with different teachers. (Try to ignore anyone who tells you that's not a good plan. They don't understand scanners.) You can make an effort to find different kinds of customers, in different parts of town, who want you to make stuff for various purposes, using different kinds of fabrics and techniques. I did a little brainstorm about that here:

high fashion, street fashion, business clothes, uniforms, work clothes, wedding or confirmation clothes, sports clothes & bags, hiking clothes, casual clothes, party clothes and ball gowns, martial arts costumes, night clothes, underwear, maternity clothes, clothes for people with disabilities or unusual physical features, clothes for different age groups - from babies to old people, mens' and women's clothes, dance clothes, clothes for different ethnic groups, theatrical costumes, cosplay costumes, carnival costumes, children's play costumes, play houses, soft furnishings, soft toys, sails, kites, flags, tents, animal clothing and equipment (e.g. coats, blankets, leads, harnesses), protective tunnel covers for gardeners, bee-keepers clothes, shopping bags, fashion bags, sleeping bags, musical instrument cases, costumes for historical re-enactments, clown or santa costumes, folk costumes, swimming costumes etc. etc.

Some of those categories have a lot of variety in themselves.

Third, see if you can incorporate your other interests into your course work, or make them relate to it in some way. If you like photography, you could make a photographic record of all your sewing projects from start to finish, or you could blog about them, or draw and paint them. If you like teaching you could make instructional sewing videos, or teach a child to sew. You could learn the main sewing terms in different languages. You could make clothing or textile accessories for yourself or your family to use in your favourite activities. You could visit shows or exhibitions connected with clothing and textiles.

If you like reading, you could read about the history or anthropology of fabrics and fibres and clothing, or their production methods, or the invention of sewing machines, or biographies of designers you like, or how to start a small sewing business, or a novel set in the fashion or fabric trade. You could learn how to repair sewing machines, or to identify and value antique and collectable machines. If you like computer coding you could create some open source pattern design software. If you like gardening you could grow some traditional dye plants or fibre plants (flax is very pretty and weld smells very nice).

You could watch films, plays, ballets or operas to study the costumes and set design. Or volunteer to make or fit costumes for your local theatre or amateur operatics company or folk dance group. If you like sociology or anthropology, you can observe what people are wearing wherever you go, and try to work out what their clothes are saying about their personalities, lifestyles, sub-cultures etc.

Fourth, for any interests that can't be fitted in that way, you can either mark them on your calendar as a treat for after you graduate, so you know you haven't given them up forever, or you can keep them alive in small ways while you are doing your course. You could read a blog post about it once or twice a week, or keep some pictures or items around you that remind you of it. Or you could set up an avocation station, as Barbara describes in Refuse to Choose, so it's ready for you to do in 5 minute breaks while you're waiting for your coffee to brew.

I could probably be more specific if you tell us what your other interests are, and some more about your course, but I think that's enough ideas to get your brain working. I'd love to know if there are any of them that you really like.
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Re: Forced to dive?

Postby Midaila » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:12 am

Thank you, skannie, for your thoughtful reply.

I think you had some great ideas there, but not so much for me. I'm gonna look up if I can grow dye plants on my balcony thought :mrgreen: Also thought about volunteering for theather projects since I love project-based work but I hesitate because those usually have their own regulars. I'll soonget to do some sewing for an oriental dance group I practise with though.

Yeah, I know it's only for a short time but it feels sooooo loooong. As it is it doesn't offer all that much variation since we have no alternative courses we can take, we have only one teacher, one set of classmates and one location. Since it's sort of a starter class -type of thing we're going throught basics and for a while more we can't do very complicated things. We'll be having business education later on, plus a two-month period of actual working at local clothstores.

At school we don't have much theoritical or history-related classes. Instead, we are required to do presentations of different subjects as extra assignments. For some reason making those always makes me extremely irritated so I tend to do them at the last minute. So no, not very interested in studying the subject any more than necessary. I prefer actual, practical work.

As for incorporating other interests, I've thought of that before. Still haven't found any good solution. My other main interests are:
- reading (fiction, books that teach how to do things, manga)
- writing (fiction)
- drawing (still learning; manga-style)
- painting (landscapes only; can't paint anything living)
- playing (fascinating graphics and animations <3)
- music (listening, singing improvised songs)
- planning (flashmob, wedding invitations, Scanner acts for Talent tv-shows...)

I've been thinking that I would like to start my own business some time after school. In my local area there is a lot of competition so I'd like to do something different. Like dress-rental with sewing options; do what other seamstresses do but also make dresses for rent. Or maybe start doing only cosplay outfits, or sewing patterns for them to sell; I'm not a cosplayer myself but many manga/anime has very fascinating clothing pieces. I have some other ideas for individual cloth pieces too, something I hope to be functional yet smart, but images in my mind don't usually appear very clear.

Ps. Avocation stations are great! As of today I have 7 of them in my living room, and about as many all organized on my computer. Solved a big portion of my clutter problem, too!
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Re: Forced to dive?

Postby SquarePeg » Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:53 am

For theater groups, look to high school drama clubs. Of course this would be volunteer work.
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Re: Forced to dive?

Postby Midaila » Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:07 am

Sadly, there isn't such thing here. Wish there were more possibilities around :mrgreen: Only theaterical options are either local theater (can't volunteer there since it's owned by the city) and one small amateur group with about 10 people, and they have few grannies maintaining costumes.
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Re: Forced to dive?

Postby skannie » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:55 am

I didn't expect all those ideas to suit you, Midaila, because I didn't know very much about you, but a few of them sparked an so that's great :-) Oriental dancing sounds like fun. And I should think some dye plants would grow fine on your balcony. You can brainstorm other ideas yourself or with your friends if you want any more. Or ask again here.

If you can't get any more variety into your course work, then you'll have to do it in your free time by following a variety of interests. And it looks like you're doing it already. Seven avocation stations :-) Excellent! It looks to me as if your life is already quite varied and interesting.

I think your problem may be not so much boredom with your course but Scanner Panic. Did you read that part in Refuse to Choose? Barbara says it happens because we have a peculiar sense of time. We live so much in the present that we think, if we can't do all our interests now we'll never be able to do them. That's why your course seems so loooooong, although when you look back on it afterwards it will seem really short.

The best cure is to get or make a big calendar, like Barbara suggests, and start writing dates on it. The end date of your course should be in big fancy coloured letters, with some nice treat or celebration planned. Then any dates you know that are connected with different parts of your course, e.g. when the work experience starts, or the different stages of learning. Then any dates connected with your interests e.g. meetings, rehearsals, performances, festivals, shows.

Then start putting in some future dates for the rest of this year and next year. Find some interesting events or trips or projects or classes. Some possible landmark dates for your business. Some festivals or conferences. A date for a fashion or cosplay show with some of your class-mates etc.

Future years can be in less detail. For example, maybe a dance study trip to somewhere in the far east in early 2016, then a few months of life drawing or landscape painting classes. The exploration of the arctic by dog sled could probably wait until the next winter or spring. Maybe organise a children's drama camp for summer 2017 when the kids are out of school, and then a community garden or environmental project in the autumn and spring, when you're not too busy with the Christmas talent show.

You get the idea? You don't have to stick rigidly to your plans, but it helps to relieve that panicky feeling, and convince you that there will be a future and you'll have time to do everything you want.
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Re: Forced to dive?

Postby Midaila » Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:51 am

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Actually, I do have a six-year calendar on my wall (althought there's not much written there). Even a weekly calendar base with sticky notes so I can change my scheludes for free time every week. I managed to acquire that feeling that there is time, and could even arrange my projects to do now/later based on feeling.

The reason I don't plan very far ahead is because my interest levels change all the time, and even though I had a painting exhibition in three years it's still possible I'd only feel like painting two to four pieces. Deadlines approaching only cause me anxiety and even dislike towards my project at hand instead of energy to finish everything up.

I think I have found two possible causes behind these feelings of mine. First of all, I've been feeling kinda low-energized for some time. Maybe it's the season, or overall stress for everything that's happening in my family, I don't know. I just hope I had that sort of energy available to just enjoy myself with my interests (especially since I know my fiance loves watching me working on Scanner mode). Second... I've had this suspicion for a short while now. Suspicion that my reward, or the ultimate goal, is just to be able to wear clothes I made for myself, everyday. Seems rather stupid to study few years for just that.

I apologize for being difficult :/
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Re: Forced to dive?

Postby SquarePeg » Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:30 pm

Midaila wrote:Sadly, there isn't such thing here. Wish there were more possibilities around :mrgreen: Only theaterical options are either local theater (can't volunteer there since it's owned by the city) and one small amateur group with about 10 people, and they have few grannies maintaining costumes.
Are there even no Christian organizations that would engage its youth in an annual production of the nativity? You wouldn't know about these events unless you read their newsletters or bulletins, BTW.
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Re: Forced to dive?

Postby skannie » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:18 pm

I hate rigid schedules and deadlines too. And it's no use setting them for myself because I'll ignore them. I'm not talking about a calendar of deadlines to motivate you into finishing things. I'm talking about a calendar of possibilities to look forward to. I find it helps when I'm in a scanner panic. Very often I don't do the things on the calendar when their time comes because I'm more interested in doing something else.

A lot of people get low in energy at this time of year because their bodies run out of stores of vitamin D. I find it helps me a lot to take high dose supplements during the winter. But of course if you happen to be living in a country with sunny winters that wouldn't be a problem.

Suspicion that my reward, or the ultimate goal, is just to be able to wear clothes I made for myself, everyday. Seems rather stupid to study few years for just that.
Not stupid at all. I think that's a wonderful goal 8) 8) And a typical scanner goal too. So you don't need to bother trying to make a business from it, or even getting the qualification at the end. You can drop out of the course any time you want. Just enjoy the learning and the wearing.

No need to apologise. You're not being difficult at all. It can be very hard to discover what we really want underneath the layer of all the things we think we should want. But you seem to be getting closer :D
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Re: Forced to dive?

Postby SquarePeg » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:22 pm

Midaila wrote:-snip-
Second... I've had this suspicion for a short while now. Suspicion that my reward, or the ultimate goal, is just to be able to wear clothes I made for myself, everyday. Seems rather stupid to study few years for just that.
Ahh, that's a good one. But I worked for someone who went into a certain medical field because a loved one died from cancer. And I just heard on NPR of a mom who became a medical researcher because her child has a rare genetic disorder.

Midaila wrote:I apologize for being difficult :/
No worries! That's what the forum is for.

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Re: Forced to dive?

Postby Elaine Glimme » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:03 pm

What would happen if you didn't graduate a half year earlier?
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Re: Forced to dive?

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:48 pm

I think learning to sew well would be awesome. I always get ideas in my head about what I'd like to sew, but I don't have the skill to make the final product come out well. Maybe someday......
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Re: Forced to dive?

Postby Midaila » Sun Mar 09, 2014 11:53 pm

Elaine Glimme wrote:What would happen if you didn't graduate a half year earlier?


Nothing bad I'd say. I'm just getting impatient because we'd want to have a child and I don't want to have to quit school midway throught. Well there's also that other thing - the classes are usually reeeally slow because not everyone's such a fast learner as me, and it tends to get boring. I just want to keep my own pace.

If you have some nice ideas, Elaine, maybe I could help you out and give advice how to make patterns out of them :)
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Re: Forced to dive?

Postby Midaila » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:05 pm

skannie wrote:So you don't need to bother trying to make a business from it, or even getting the qualification at the end. You can drop out of the course any time you want.


While this is all true, I'm starting to think that sewing business could be my Good Enough Job. There's variety in it, I can do it from my home and even with a little kid once we get one... Well, there's plenty of time to think about it <3
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Re: Forced to dive?

Postby Elaine Glimme » Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:49 am

Hi, Midaila,

It sounds like you're in a great place. It makes a lot of sense for you to try to graduate early. And art and sewing are are great projects to balance with taking care of a baby.

Good luck, and please don't stop posting here.

You asked about sewing projects I'd like to do. They're mostly pipe dreams right now. But I see things like a cloak, and hats, and maybe sandals. Not very practical.
My serious project that I'm actually working on is writing "The Molly Chronicles". As soon as I'm done here, I'll post another page on my blog.
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