Being useful.


March 24, 2010 by missmegany

Being or feeling useful?

I’m not sure whether it’s one or the other, but I’ve lately been lamenting the lack of skills that I have. Apart from skills related to a computer, and those within a vague field of “communication” (i.e. talking to people, running meetings, teaching, etc), I can’t do a whole lot and that bothers me.

One of my new year’s resolutions was to become more skilled.  (The other was to get myself more organised/productive…which always feels like I’m fighting a losing battle) I am hoping to set up food preserving workshops under Transition Southampton with a woman who makes jams that the Southampton Allotment and Garden Association sell at events. I can cook and bake, but my timing is terrible and there’s always more to learn so I want to set up more cookery sessions at my house and at community centres. I’m determined to make time to do gardening this year in our back yard and at the allotment, but I’m still not sure what I’m doing.

The big one is dressmaking. I have found a bunch of websites that refashion clothes, and I love it. I want to be able to scour charity shops for cute patterns and fabrics in all the wrong sizes and be able to turn it into something I’d want to wear. I love the idea of being able to wear clothes that I’ve made. I imagine the feeling will be similar to how great it is when I eat a meal I’ve cooked particularly well, especially if I picked out some of the ingredients from our allotment or the farmers’ market.

I want that sense of pride.

The only problem with my dressmaking goal is that I have no idea what I’m doing.  I went to a taster session from these guys by a woman who runs dressmaking classes in Millbrook and might be doing it a bit closer to where I live. There’s also classes run every Thursday night by the mother and daughter team at Recycle & Sew, which I might go to for troubleshooting.  My friend Somali and I are going to try to learn together, which should help keep me motivated. I can also try websites like Burda Style or Sew, Mama, Sew! or many many other websites available. At the moment I’m trying to work on this one from Clever Girl. I’m really hoping that dress making ends up being like so many other things you learn–you practice and practice the basics, and at some point it just clicks and then you understand how to put the basics together into something more complicated. If only my parents had taught me this along with reading and speaking…

If you live near me and want to bake bread sometime, make a pie, or roast some veg, come on over. If you want someone who is pretty terrible at knitting to show you the absolute minimum you need to get started, I’ll do that too. And if you happen to be an amazing seamstress (seamster? what’s the male version?), please show me how it’s done!

In case you’re also thinking “AUGH! Megan is so right! Why can’t I do anything productive? I want to learn woodworking or plumbing or how to cook”, I found a lot of comfort in the post from Rostitchery called “Being a Beginner”.  As she says:

not knowing how to do something is no reason not to do it. just make something, learn as you go, before you know it you’ll be teaching someone else all the tricks of the trade.

i LOVE this outfit, i am still proud of it, proud enough to show it to you here, proud enough to show it in person to anybody i can trap long enough to show it to them.

Here’s to making something worthy of pride.


One thought on “Being useful.

  1. Jim says:

    Errmm…I’m a bit late but; a lack of skills? Not the first thing that springs to mind. A list of the top of my head.

    Cooking, Pie making (an entirely separate discipline), sewing, quilting, crochet, event/organisation organisation, gardening.

    And I’m drinking.

    That dosen’t diminish the admirability of the notion however.

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Less and Less and More is all about enjoying more, all whilst worrying about less. Whether enjoying better health because you eat less junk, having more time for friends and family because you spend less time on acquiring, or lots of other big and little things that we want more of, I look at examples of people doing more.


Less and Less and More

Finding more in our gardens, our plates, our communities

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