on International Women’s day this year (2023) one of my lovely students decided to send me this.. Id like to share it with you.
Women inspiring women
In the past two years, I have finally started sewing ‘properly’. I have joined a community of strong, courageous women, through Dot’s sewing masterclasses. My confidence has grown through the sisterhood of sewers sharing their expertise. The camaraderie is so strong in this group; Try adding 7 meters of tulle to a tiny gap on a high wasted panty together, you can’t help but build strong bonds! My only similar experience of unity is when I played rugby. I’ve always been a bit of a ‘Tom Boy’, So I was nervous that I would feel like an outsider, but the welcome couldn’t have been warmer.
I’ve always been nervous in all female crowds, I find it daunting – let’s face it, we’ve all been that girl at school who thought everyone was laughing at her. However, my experience with Dot’s group has been the complete opposite. These women come from all walks of life, are willing to have a laugh and most importantly have learnt to be patient and resilience.
Sewing has taught me to laugh at myself and most importantly that you can and will make mistakes. As women we sometimes feel like we need to be perfect, this is something I have struggled with my whole life. I recently thought about a time I got 100% in an A level exam and being over the moon, only to be put down by two teachers ‘it’s only media studies’, ‘you should have been marked down on spelling’. As a young woman of 18 it became engrained that perfect still wasn’t good enough. Following this came, self doubt, and a feeling of helplessness, I now feel empowered again.
I hope my 7 year old daughter, learns about resilience earlier than I did, I have already given her my old machine and taught her how to use it. I want her to see how trying and trying again is really important for your personal growth, what isn’t right to her, might be perfect for somebody else!
Selling my first costume and having a little girl’s face light up is one of the best feelings I’ve had. It was the costume I’d made on my first course with Dot. It was nearly perfect on the first day until… I sat down to rhinestone it! I ruined it with blobs of uneven E6000+ and gold crystals. All the women came together to make me feel better, but I was devastated and wanted to go home there and then. However, Dot came and sat beside me and said “it’s in the mistakes that costumes are made” and I can’t tell you how right she was. It completely changed my design for the better- the little girl went on to win three medals in it, she adores it.
What’s most important about these courses (I’ve been on 4) is that women are inspiring other women. Some seamstresses are so guarded with their trade secrets and don’t want to be supportive of others and whilst I appreciate this is someone’s livelihood we need to realise the impact sharing these tips and tricks can have in people’s lives. I am about to embark on a new journey starting my own business doing something I love- Most importantly on my own terms, in my own house, with a cuppa and my slippers on!
You do not have to join Dot on her courses to start a business or take over the dance fashion world. This is a course to make friends and learn a skill that empowers you and gives you something that makes you proud. The look on a little girls face when you’ve made them their own leotard just cannot be underestimated! I still love that my daughter wants every costume I make and gets annoyed when they go out to clients. Dot is an amazing woman, who is on a one woman mission to teach the world about her passion, inspiring the next generation of costume designers. Here’s to women helping women and long may it continue!