Oh, Brother


Apologies for the crap pun – it’d make a lot more sense if I had thought to include a photo of the industrial Brother sewing machine that I got acquainted with today, on my first work placement day at the Library Theatre in Manchester! My placement is for two weeks, so I shall do my best to update regularly during my time there. But remember: no news is good news, so if my posts are few and far between, then assume I’m getting on just fine.

Today started off horribly but rapidly improved once I actually got to the workshop. The new and complicated commute to residential Manchester was half the reason this work placement has filled me with trepidation for the last few weeks, and I proved myself right. Despite kindly requesting that the bus driver give us a shout when we were at Whalley Range, I ended up about 3/4 of a mile off and ended up wandering around, cold and alone, trying to read the Google Maps app through my tears (only a slight exaggeration there). Fortunately I had to good sense to 1) ring up the costume shop and find out how to get there (“Help! I’m in between a Hindu temple and a soccer field!”), 2) find the far more useful Navigation app to supplement the directions I got over the phone, and 3) set off this morning with plenty of time to spare in case it all went horribly wrong (which it did) and arrived a mere five minutes late.

So I wasn’t exactly in the best of states when I finally got to the workshop. Relieved to find it yes, but also stressed and anxious about what I’d be expected to do once I got there. I got shown the rack full of alteration notes and nearly ran away to hide in a corner. I almost said to the supervisor, I’m sorry, I think there’s been a mistake, I am going to ruin everything so I should just go home now (which is actually a pretty self-involved way to think, isn’t it?). But I didn’t. Instead I drank the tea so kindly brewed for me, and then timidly asked about this apron I’d be making.

Pleat it up at the front, ok, I can do that. Finish the sides and the hem, that’s fine… Waistband, check… and hey presto, an apron! Gosh, that makes it sound like I should’ve had it finished in five minutes. In actual fact it took three-and-a-half hours which, seeing as I was back on an industrial machine for the first time since college, I don’t think is that bad. (There was the carnage of a broken needle to deal with. You should see the state of the pin I sewed over. Pretty grim). Sure, it probably would have taken anyone else an hour and a half, but the fact is, I FINISHED A GARMENT. Eeeeee!

Next I made a start on some suedette dungarees – didn’t get that far, but I did mark up a few pieces, cut some new strips for the plackets, got the placket bits pinned in place, and got the machine all sorted out (which, when you have to change the thread and get the tension right on an old industrial, is not a five-minute job).

Oh, and I met the company’s resident designer!

So, what started off as a terrible day ended up being pretty great. If every other day goes like today, then I will consider my first placement a complete and utter success. Fingers crossed.

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