[In the fall, Jonathan Vatner, Hue staff writer, took an introductory menswear sewing class. He has been blogging about his experiences on Hue, Too.]
I was doing my homework, sewing sleeve plackets—the reinforced strip on the forearm that connects to the opening on the cuff—and I found myself stuck. My notes read: “Lay down ply so it touches the TOP at the corner. Grab and hold that corner. You’ll create a straight line from that. Eyeball it, then IRON.”
Which ply? The top of what? And what was I eyeballing?
I asked Carol, the Degree-Seeker who seemed to live in the Menswear labs, but she couldn’t remember. “Why don’t you ask the undergraduates? They know it really well.”
I was terrified of the undergraduates. They were way more talented and ambitious than I. And they seemed so comfortable in their skin, a far cry from Jonathan “Gollum” Vatner, shuffling around his undergraduate alma mater.
All that evening, they had been gossiping about the students in their program: One saw someone sleeping in her Patternmaking class. Another wanted to know what was up with the smelly guy, apparently identifiable to all without a name. Then they all wondered aloud who wasn’t gay in their program.
“Bill says he’s not gay,” said one undergrad. (I’ve changed all the names, all you Nosey Parkers out there.)
“He just doesn’t know he’s gay,” said another. “He’s only like eighteen.”
“Roger’s not gay.”
“No, I’m totally gay,” said Roger, on the other side of the room, though I couldn’t tell if he was joking.
During a lull in the conversation, I gathered the courage to ask them about my placket.
“Don’t ask me,” said one. “ I hate those things.”
But another showed me. He made it look easy.