The making of my garments as a university student, what a story…
Only joking. For me it is though. Starting with the briefs. From an outside perspective this may seem very easy. It’s only a simple pair of pants after all! Wrong. There are different components to think about such as bias cutting fabrics (for stretch and easy wear); Attaching appropriate elastic to legs and waist ; Attaching a gusset liner and of course sewing it all together.
I came across a few obstacles on the way. First was ensuring everything was sewn with the appropriate sides together. Second was dealing with small seam allowances (which I have done before but I am still adjusting). Third was working with delicate fabrics on industrial machines (Very fast). Many people say using industrial machines is like driving a car. From personal experience I find driving much easier. Finding the right amount of pressure to place on the peddle on industrial machine is very hard and I can imagine this getting easier with time and practice though.
When making both garments, especially the bra, a lot of unpicking was involved. A LOT. This was highly frustrating. However, it taught me patience if nothing else. It also taught me that drawing on seam allowances is ok and necessary if needed. I do not think I was being over confident in trying to sew without marking my seam allowances. But I do think that I underestimated how hard it is to be accurate on industrial machines. Also how important a fraction of error is in the Contour industry.
Have you ever walked on a treadmill slowly and started to gain confidence gradually getting faster? This is how I felt in the first few weeks at uni. However now someone else is controlling the speed. Luckily I haven’t fallen off the treadmill yet. I have definitely felt the change in pace though.
Three units at once is a juggling act. Something I haven’t done/achieved before. Time management has been a key factor. I have, subconsciously, been working more on one unit than the others. By noticing this I have been able to adapt my time to ensure I am splitting my time fairly.
The demand for sewing skills have picked up. I made my first pair of briefs! By making these I could reflect that my accuracy of stitch needs to be improved. Getting used to the small seam allowances and the speed of industrial machines. But all of this will come with practice. I am going to make another 2 pairs of briefs to practice my skills in my own time.
Unfortunately things happen that are out of our control. Tragedy is one of them. Balancing falling behind at uni with needing to heal can be difficult.
In my first few weeks I had to rush home for a family emergency. When things like this happen normal day to day life goes out of the window. So I left all my uni work in my flat (unintentionally) and rushed off. Different people cope differently but once I grieved for two days only then did the stress kick in of falling behind in uni.
Firstly, I emailed my course teachers to inform them of my absence and for any work to be sent to me if possible. Luckily I had friends on my course that were willing to help me catch up. I was home for a week in total. I needed more time but I was unable to cope with the stress of falling behind. So I returned. I began catching up on any work that I could. Checklists are my best friend when it comes to this. I spent my weekend dedicated to catching up. But any human needs a break. However the mixture of grief and over working lead to a messy night out. Which arguably was maybe what was needed, like I said people cope in different ways. Due to me being all caught up with work (luckily I have a responsible side too) I was able to go out and let off steam.
One main lesson I have learnt from this week is that everyone needs their me time. Whether you are dealing with more intense personal issues or simple day to day life. And you are allowed to take time out for yourself. Scheduling time helps a lot, it gets work done so that you can then have a well earned break. However I also found that by falling behind I am actually now in front and very on top of my work. Maybe diving into my work was a coping mechanism but at least one thing is up to date.
Luckily for me my first week consisted of explanations of the course and inductions so not many new things to learn. YET.
Whilst the inductions were slightly daunting, especially after 3 months off. They were covering things I had done previously. The main obstacle is going to be adapting to using industrial sewing machines. In the past I have mainly stuck to using domestic machines. This is all about to change! Rightly so. With higher levels of understanding comes with higher levels of quailty and durability. This does not change how I have felt about industrial machines for the past year. Scared. I avoided industrial machines in college as much as possible, which in hindsight I should not have done as this week would not have been as scary if I would have conquered the fear then!
A simple seam was what was requested of us on the industrial machines. At first felt like a walk in the park, but when you haven’t sewn in around a month and jump on an industrial machine it does not tend to go perfect first time. However this is a lesson I need to learn well, especially with my course. Not everything is perfect on first attempt, but preserve as practice tends to make perfect.
Sewing, like driving is one of those things you never forget how to do. So hopefully with a bit of practice I’ll be back to my usual level of work in no time. The sooner the better really as I am already keen to build upon previous skills.
So, I have officially completed my first week at university. I think I deserve to give myself a pat on the back and a glass of wine.
Personally, the easiest way to describe adapting to university life is to say it is overwhelming. I have never felt such an array of emotions in such a short period of time. Just as I was beginning to get used to some familiar faces in and around my halls, the first day of uni came. Walking into the first day of university is again another obstacle that everybody who joins has to overcome. I must admit nerves take over on this day, the same thoughts ran through my head again. Am I excited? What if nobody likes me? (A personal one) I hope no-one mistakes my resting bitch face for a real bitch. We all sat, trying not to wipe the permanent smile off our faces. A permanent smile his is not natural we all know it, yet we all do it when meeting new people. We sat we listened, then comes the inevitable forced socialising, which lets face it we all wait for, as ultimately this is apparently how you make friends! Unfortunately I have never made a friend this way, I wish it was that easy. Little tip, want to make friends at uni? Invite them for a drink! Most students will not refused a chance to drink alcohol and make new friends. It worked for me (to some extent anyway).
Now to the daunting part of the fact you have actually signed the next three or (for me) four years of your life away to study! I must add I did this very willingly. After all I’m studying Fashion Contour, so being surrounded in all things lingerie for four years is more of a dreamland for me. However my first lecture left me with a large headache and a rumbling stomach. A three month summer did not prepare my head to absorb as much information as necessary the first day, even though we are being eased in very gently. Many new things to adapt to. Firstly, on day one I took a notebook and a pen. This is ok if this is your own personal style of learning, however my hand could not keep up with the lecture. Also by handwriting notes, if like me a fast scribble is all you can manage, you the have to type it up when you get home. This has pros and cons, pros being you are able to digest the information again and create a greater understanding. Cons being there is a large work load, adding typing up notes onto the ‘To Do list” is not helping stress levels. So I learnt quickly that taking my laptop to lectures was a must. To add to this I did not prepare for hunger. A rumbling stomach in a rather quiet room does tend to draw attention.So.. Another tip, Do not go to a lecture hungry it is not worth the extra time in bed.
Equipment. The dreaded word of any art/fashion student (well for me anyway). A very expensive kit list. Completely necessary items, many exciting to shop for (e.g colouring pencils and paints). However my bank account did not appreciate all of these items. Trying to source all of these individual/specialist items was a lesson in itself. I soon found going to one shop was not going to be suffice. But this helped me as I had to search for different items in different places, which helped me familiarise myself with where I could source things. Little tip, gradually buy equipment for uni through the summer if you can!
I can only speak for my own experience of being a London fresher. But I will begin at the start, before I got to my university halls.
Before I arrived, as I expected, their were various events already planned which tickets could be bought for. I wanted to wait to see what my flatmates would be going to. Also because its London the amount of events were very overwhelming, all universities have the same three weeks of freshers. Yes. Three weeks. Unfortunately three weeks of pure drinking, going out and binge eating unhealthy food was not feasible for me. So I went out on a few different nights dotted around the three weeks.
It is very difficult to know what events will be good as normally there were two or three on the same night. So I normally just went with what everyone else wanted to do. Something I found strange, which I have adapted to now, is speaking to many different students from different London universities. Also be warned, many non-students go to freshers events. This is seen as sort of normal, I personally found it very odd.
The big obstacle I had to overcome whilst being a drunken fresher was transport home. Imagine not being a Londoner, the transport system can be very daunting sober let alone drunk. Not all tubes run at night, same with overgrounds and buses. PLAN YOUR ROUTES AHEAD OF TIME. Citymapper saved my life many times, just make sure you adapt the time you wish to travel if planning ahead.
Overall, what you really want to be doing is getting drunk with new friends you have made. Many nights because of this we resulted to the local Wetherspoons as cheap drinks in London are hard to come by!
Nobody can prepare you for the day you move into Uni halls. There are so many different emotions you are feeling that they all roll into one very dramatic worry. Where do I go first? Will people speak to me? Have I made the right decision moving away? Will I be able to cope? The worst part is nobody can answer these questions for you. Effectively walking into the darkness, vulnerable holding onto the only thing you can really, which is the fact other people are in the exact same situation as you.
After arriving to my chosen halls, with a filled up car and a very unstable mindset, I was shown around the residence. I was greeted by very friendly wardens who were eager to help which put me at ease. I was shortly taken to my new ‘home’ for the next 9 to 10 months, which is daunting in itself. I was the first person in my flat of four to arrive. So the loneliness inevitably kicked in. After the first night alone, a few tears later, I decided to try and sit in the common room for some company. This was also empty at first. I then had a chat to the warden about day-to-day things which helped me overcome the scariness of being alone for the next four years.
Luckily an old friend of mine was also in London, two days into my new journey I met up with her. A familiar face when you feel alone and in a strange lonely city is such a comforting embrace. Having a simple chat and catch up with someone is just what I needed. Then whilst my hopes were up I then got a message from a girl in my halls asking me to do something. Day three started to look up. We then went for a drink later on in the night, luckily the first person I had engaged with I had got on with so well. This put me at ease again as we both spoke about all the things we were worried about. The one thing I cannot stress enough is everything you feel, any worries or concerns everyone else experiences too. You are not alone everyone is in the same boat!
One thing I would like to put right is that the first few days of halls is not what everyone makes it out to be, in my experience anyway. I think I would have coped better if I had not expected moving in and everyone jumping straight into partying. In my unique situation half of my flatmates did not move in until three weeks after me, due to them being international and I also live in a very small accommodation complex! Just make sure you know what you are signing up for with halls, as I defiantly didn’t and it almost resulted in me moving to another university. More importantly know it does get better, also speak to everyone you can. You never know who could be a really good friend in the future.