Saturday, 18 October 2008

Living My Sewing Dream

By Mabi Azefor Fominyen

As a little girl I used to enjoy watching my mother sew. I was also impressed by her skills at embroidery. Often, I would gather left-over pieces of cloth and try out some needle work. My best model was my little doll. I would make outfits for her. The more I tried, the more I fell in love with the craft of sewing. But it is not until 2007 that I finally decided to take up an apprentiship at a tailor's workshop in Yaounde, capital of Cameroon during my annual leave.

The other apprentices were shocked to see me there at 8.00 a.m sweeping the workshop and taking orders from the master (St.Mike).

"Why is it that a big TV star like you is coming down so low to do this" they wondered.

I expected such expressions of surprise from members of our Cameroonian society. Our community thrives on a rather sad assumption that professions like sewing or tailoring are only meant for school drop-outs and house-keepers whose masters want to reward for loyal service.

Based on these stereotypes, people who have a passion for such crafts let these talents to die while they try to maintain their social status.

I was and am still determined to live my childhood dream. So after a month of daily lessons and weeks of part-time exercises, I am proud of the things I can design and sew.

Take a look at this black and white satin top I made for myself.

I was just visiting a local market and fell in love with this fabric. I bought it designed a style, hit the pedal of my machine et voila!

I got me a blouse!

Everything I see on someone, I try to produce it for myself or my daughter. The internet too is full of lessons. So I am making progress.

My home is now full of my creations. No more buying of throw pillows; Mabi's Couture can produce them
To imagine that all of this may have been lost if I just wanted to show-boat as a learned journalist among the Cameroonian elite.

What about you? Do you have a secret passion that you crave to live but fear to abandon your present social status? My advice is to follow your passions and live your dreams. It is also a sign of leadership!


Ngwiwa said...

Wow! I always saw that love for craftsmanship in you; from the way you would give your home a whole new look in one day! And finally, you are making these things for yourself.
I love the top. Keep up with the creativity.

Maureen said...

Thanks for sharing your experience in humility- I must confess that this is helping me look more into my own abandoned dream.
Lovely Blog I hope to read more from you. I've always admired you not only as my Big's big sister but a role model for young women. I hope I could one day inspire others the way you do.

lndangam said...

I know this so well. You may not remember this, but somewhere among my stuff packed in a storage unit in Manchester is a wall piece you made for me when I was leaving home in 1996! In colourful threads inspired by the famous "graffi" outfits, you had marked a microphone, a star and other symbols of communication. It was such a thoughtful thing because only that summer I had watched you, your mum and your siblings churn out one marked traditional outfit after another and had been totally amazed to find out that you were skilled at this. I cherished the piece you gave me and always hung on my wall. Each time it reminded me of you and all the love and thought that went into producing it. Sometimes when I was down or facing tough times at school, looking at that piece reminded me that there were many out there who wished me well. So keep listening to your daughter's dreams and encouraging it. I always say if you can dream it, you can live it. You are an example of someone who is living their dream. Rediscovering and taking up an old hobby is so reinvigorating. I find that it keeps life in perspective. I love cross-stitch and crocheting. But the chaos that passes for life out here has not permitted me to engage in these old hobbies as much as I would like to. But I was very pleased with my self when I succeeded to crochet a muffler for my hubby two years ago. Hey! with the cold here, one needed to get creative. He was pretty amazed that I could do that! He even insinuated that I had probably bought it from the shop(even though he saw me doing something with a thread and my hands!). I have since bought and kept crochet magazines and plan to join my local knitting and crochet group. Nevermind that it is composed mostly of old age pensioners. I think it would be priceless to spend time in their company. Okay, I seem to be going on and on. But it was nice to read this piece and to see your handwork. If only I were that creative...haha.I am hoping to have all my stuff from the UK moved here soon. For sure that wall piece is going to straight up on my wall.

mabsfominyen said...

Hi Ngwiwa,
Thanks so much for the "push" you are giving me. Indeed i have been doing everything to keep it up.Watch out for my latest creation.

mabsfominyen said...

Maureen,thanks alot for the very kind words.
I urge you to ride on and you will certainly discover you can live such dreams rather than abandone them.

mabsfominyen said...

you just made my day!Thanks for the sweet reminder.Am so glad to know that many years after, you still have alot of admiration for the wall-piece i made for you.In fact the "graffi outfit" is a family tradition.
I know you are good at so many things.I hope you find more time to put that crocheting skill of yours into use and make other pleasant surprises.mabs

brenda-maikem said...

Wow! Really, I am speechless. But you know what? I am speechless but not surprised. What will you say of such a person in your life that will always make you believe you can always achieve your dreams even when the future seems o bleak and insecure? For sure, you have always been such a person in my life. All the times that I have realized my life is almost in pieces, you have always been there to teach me how to gather the pieces and put them into a whole piece.
My dear, I must affirm the fact that this coming from you is not a surprise for me at all. For you have always made me to believe that everything is possible in so far as one has got the will power. And I can see you putting all those sayings in to practice. What else can I say than to tell you that” I AM REALLY PROUD OF YOU".
You need to know how I feel now. I feel that push of encouragement. It is like you are right here with me saying, "Brenda, you will make it. You just need to believe in yourself". Keep it up dear. Ur Petite is really proud of you.