In my first year of Costume at Elsewhere University, I learned how to sew. Not that I hadn’t ever done it before, on the contrary I’d been handsewing for myself for years, but the first year was the same whether you were a Fashion or Costume major. So I learned how to sew by machine, how to draft a pattern to fit an average. How to deeply hate the word ‘standard’ because no-one is.
In my second year of Costume at Elsewhere University, I learned how to handsew again, better, and how to fit the people who weren’t the fashion’s idea of standard. I loved it, loved it so much the teachers, two weeks before I got my diploma, offered to take me on for a third year. There were courses, they explained, that were more historical, more detailed, more interesting.
In my third year of Costuming at Elsewhere University, I was taught by a teacher I’d never seen before. He didn’t flinch at my salt, and used iron pins, but he was different. He was also brilliant.
I spent most of that year drafting and sewing to impossible proportions. Sometimes one of my other teachers would look in, and then leave, quickly, eyes wide and face pale. There were waistcoats that looked like swiss cheese, so many armholes, and dresses that tapered into waists only a couple centimeters around.
I graduated, technically, but I missed walking the stage due to a fitting my teacher couldn’t do on his own. I could have moved, then. Left, if I’d wanted to. But there was work here, a list of contacts as long as my arm that would not help me. (Part ½)
I stayed, though, getting my teachers help moving into a place one of my clients found for me. It’s nice, lots of space for fabric and pins, but my machine won’t work, there.
So, now, every so often, I have to
come back. To find an empty machine and sew something that is all edges
and shapes that people don’t like looking at. My teachers won’t meet my
eyes anymore, but I’m not bothered by the students in the classrooms.
Perhaps it’s because of what I’m sewing, perhaps it’s because I’m never
in class, perhaps it’s because three or four of the crows always seem to
be keeping an eye on me.
Either way, in my fourth year at Elsewhere University, I became the Queens Tailor, and nothing much bothered me after that.