Eric Banisadr my blog


When I brought home the shirt I made last week, my parents asked what it was for when I walked in the door. I told them it was my homework. While I gave that joke up after a few seconds, I did end up doing some work from home this week.


I was finally feeling confident enough to work on my own clothes, without Carlos telling me what to do every step of the way. So, for my first project I decided to make a new pillowcase. Actually, I pointed out to my mom that my pillowcase was falling apart, and that I could probably fix it. She told me that I’d be better off just making a new one, since we still had fabric left over from the last time my dad had made the pillowcases.

To do this, I’d need certain basic equipment. Luckily, my grandmother is a skilled seamstress, and has supplied the whole family with pretty nice sewing machines. (In addition to teaching my dad to sew, which is how he’d made the pillowcases years ago.) Also on hand, my family has thread, needles, and good scissors, due to her influence.

The first thing I realized when setting up my new workshop was that I don’t have nearly enough space. I took my desk’s return and moved it to the other side of my room to use as a table. That was enough to hold the sewing machine, but didn’t really allow me sufficient room for measuring. I ended up repurposing our dining room temporarily for this project.


First thing, I had to set everything up. I got out the ironing board, and the already-partially-chopped-up sheet that I’d be further mutilating. Apparently, years ago my dad had been outraged at the cost of buying the pillowcases that matched my brother’s and my sheets, so he’d decided that it would be more economical to just buy another sheet and make the things himself. He must’ve gotten bored after two, so we put the rest of the extra sheet in our closet, where it’s probably remained for the last ten or so years.

After my mom produced this long-lost, partial sheet, I got to work. Pillowcases are fairly simple, because they’re pretty much just two squares of fabric sewn together at the edges then turned inside out. My job was made even easier by the fact that my dad had avoided the top edge of the sheet in making the last set, so I had a premade opening all ready to go, folded over, finished and everything.

The hardest part of the whole project was threading the bobbin on the sewing machine. Apparently the consumer-grade models don’t have the same style bobbin case as Carlos’s industrial ones, so I had to ask my dad how to thread ours. With that out of the way, I found that another difference between the machines was that my home one is much easier to control. I guess your average person doesn’t need to have such a high production machine, but could use some extra speed control to make things go more smoothly.

Reflection, and things of that nature

In our second journal sharing event, I was lightly critiqued for being very narrative in my writing, which was a nice way of telling me to do more reflecting in these journals. I can’t say I’ve come up with any profound insights into the world of working with fabrics since then, but I might as well write a bit about how I’m feeling about this whole WISE thing.

Overall, I’m really glad I took WISE. I would 100% reccommend it to any junior who thinks they could handle showing up on time to a third space a few times a week. That’s not an especially high bar either, nor a totally necessary skill (WISE also provides the opporunity to learn that habit too). What I’m trying to say, is that WISE has been pretty easy so far, which I’m glad for.

As a senior, it’s also very rewarding to run the project entirely on my own. Nobody tells me when to go to my third space, and nobody tells me what to write about. (If they do, I usually don’t listen. Then, I end up having to start working certain elements into my future entries. Keep your eyes peeled for a relevant reference to my research.) I can do these journals whenever, and the extra five hours off campus every week are pretty nice too.

What all this freedom means, is that WISE has caused me to get going on a bunch of things that I’ve wanted to do, but didn’t ever have cause for. Some of those wider-reaching unintentional consequences of WISE include: me finally making a calendar and a website, putting a bit more focus into my voice while writing, and learning to not be late everywhere I go. Mr. Clauson, if you ever read this journal, thank you for bringing the program to Miramonte, and Mr. Poling thanks for running the program in such a way that us students can have all those opportunities.

On the topic of opportunities, I had the opportunity to write about my research this week. In setting up my sewing machine, I ran into a problem. Usually, I solve most problems by Googling around for solutions, a habit learned from programming and using computers in general. Usually, though I have an error message I can copy-paste into the search engine, or at least I can explain my question. However, “lower the thingy that holds the presser foot” doesn’t quite hack it. Thus I was forced to consult the reference book I’ve been browsing, Sewing for Dummies. From the diagram provided, I learned that thingy is actually called the presser foot shank. Rather than push my luck with the old-school method of learning, I then turned around and googled how to lower the presser foot shank. (Turns out you can’t, and I was wasting my time after all.)