[In the fall, Jonathan Vatner, Hue staff writer, took an introductory menswear sewing class. He has been blogging about his experiences on Hue, Too.]
The class has just two graded assignments, a full shirt at the end of the term and a dickey halfway through. A dickey, in case you don’t know, is basically the sleeveless crop top version of a dress shirt, once common in schoolboys and working stiffs but now worn only as a sight gag.
My dickey, unfortunately, was far from perfect. The stitches were basically straight, but I couldn’t get the collar band to line up with the shirtfront placket, nor did the collar band match the yoke. Think about it this way: The collar is how a two-dimensional shirt becomes three-dimensional. Round peg, square hole.
When it came time to turn them in, we draped them on mannequins and lined them up on the side of the classroom. During class, Professor Blackman surreptitiously graded them. At the end of class, he gathered us to the front of the room. Seven of the 15 dickeys were positioned behind him; the other eight (including mine) remained to the side.
“Really good start, guys,” he said. “I’m very pleased. Everyone handed in a dickey, and guess what? They look like dickeys. This is the first class where no one has failed. You should be very, very pleased.”
The dickeys behind him, it turned out, were those that had received an A or A-. One by one, he called up the students who had created them, and shook their hands.
I rescued mine from the side of the room. He had written all over it, noting flaws that seemed all the more egregious when arrows pointed them out. My heart sank. Just what I needed was a D in sewing. But when I turned over my grade, it was a B. Could have been worse.