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Sewing up the internet

February 1st, 2010

Those of us who like to sew, both personally and professionally have known all along what the rest of the world is learning. Sewing is really fun. Have you noticed how do-it-yourself is popping up in magazines, on tv and of course, on the internet.

A few years ago, I registered “Teen sewing” and “Youth sewing” with Google Search. When ever those key words pop up anywhere in cyberworld, I get a shout and link to see what it says. Over the last 4 years, my notifications have exploded in number. Are that many more kids sewing, or are we just talking and posting about it more?

The irony is that all these new young sewers are rarely learning by traditional means, namely from their mothers or grandmothers. They are seeking out teachers or learning by their own trial and error. Learning to sew is not a quick and easy process. There are countless techniques and individual skills to master. And then, there are the fine motor skills that only come with practice, practice and more practice. Project Runway editors make it look so easy.

Sewing teachers UNITE! Opportunities abound! Now is the time to start or expand your teaching.

Let’s share ideas of how to get plugged in to a teaching gig. Not everyone has a studio space with tables, chairs and scads of electrical outlets but we all can reach a handful of excited crafters who love the feel and look of running fabric through their fingers. I invite anyone to comment on how you started teaching. Tune in for my story.

Learn to Sew

January 29th, 2010

I’d like to introduce a new forum for sewing educators. eXpresSew was formed to address the needs of new young designers and crafters who want to learn to sew. As interest has grown, we’re shifting the focus to sewing teachers who generously share their knowledge with kids and adults, alike.

I have a small sewing school in my studio. Classes are held twice a month for 2 hours each session. This is enough time to really accomplish something. At the moment, my three classes include mixed adults, teen beginner designers and cosplayers. What a great mix!

My mixed adult class is small enough that each student can work on whatever they want, ranging from quilts, clothing, home décor items and crafts. It keeps us all fresh and interested in the creative process.

My teen beginner design class started with an intro project to get everyone warmed up. We covered plastic headbands with ribbon and decorated them with rosettes, bows or buttons.

By the next class we jumped right into a more ambitious project starting with a visit to the Goodwill Industries Thrift store. Each student purchased a shirt or pants to repurpose the fabric for a vest. For the next 2 months, they created their own vest design, made a muslin mockup and corrected the fit. Students used the finalized pattern to cut and construct the vest front adding lining fabric for the back and lining.

My cosplayers make costumes for comic book conventions and the designs are all very different. I’ll save comments for another entry.

I’d like to invite other sewing teachers to share ideas and check in frequently. There is little financial motivation for teaching others to sew. More so, we share an activity that we love and want passed along to students, children, grandchildren, homeschoolers, and friends. My student, Mary, a high school sophomore, commented the other evening, that sewing was very satisfying.

Yes, Mary, that it is.

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