|A set of 12 Dresden Plate quilt pieces for applique|
|Needlepoint missing several rows|
|Linen tablecloth with floral embroidery pattern and silk floss|
|Vintage quilt requiring major restoration work|
Flashback to Bedford Park Public School, Toronto, Ontario, 1966-67. The girls were seated in small groups ranked according to sewing ability. I was at table 4, which meant a C level. Our assignment was to make a simple cotton apron and each step in the process earned a student valuable grade points. There was a skirt, a waistband, a bib and ties, and if you worked very, very, diligently, without suffering too many setbacks, it would take the entire school year to put these elements together correctly. If anything went wrong with craftsmanship (inaccurate cutting, crooked stitching, untidy knots, sloppy ironing) points were deducted. Miss Yerex was a perfectionist, and never hesitated to deliver a scathing comment while removing unruly stitches with a seam ripper. If anything went wrong with behavior in class (chewing gum, talking, messing around) points were deducted. For an extra measure of humiliation, your name and the number of disappearing points were called out by the teacher at the time of an infraction. One poor girl accidentally dropped an iron and lost all of her accumulated points. There were tears.
|The apron that haunts me|
My Grade Six apron was never finished. A sense of defeat accompanied the sad-looking yard of scorched fabric that I brought home at the end of the year. The impossible standards of that Home Economics class made me feel stupid, clumsy and inadequate. I guess that it's never too late to tie up loose ends and now, at age 58, I've devised a self-help exercise for Domestic Science shortcomings. By picking up the dangling threads of failed textile dreams, I'm finally getting Miss Yerex off my back.