Sewing class

February 20th, 2012
By

I've decided to enroll in a sewing class to learn how to sew better. Why? Because for years, I've been sewing my own hems and darning my own rips and tears.

Now and again, I want to sew something custom-made that I can't find in a store (usually a cover for something) and at my few stabs at it, I've found it nearly beyond my skill level. My guesswork creations are rudimentary and hard-earned, if they succeed at all.

Simplicity pattern

Simplicity pattern

Lately, the mommy in me has wanted to sew pretty clothes with fancy embellishments for my daughter - and a little matching outfit for the dog and/or cat, because it would delight Olivia to wear an outfit that matches her pets.

I can do straight lines. My mom forced me to take it up in high school, so one summer I enrolled in a short course in which I produced a few skirts and tank tops. I was never that interested at the time, but she insisted it was a life skill.

Later, my junior year Home Economics class reinforced the skill by having us all make shorts. OK, score one for Mom. She was right to make me do this.

Decades passed, and my interest sparked in 2000. After 11 years of toying with the idea (who ever said I wasn't a procrastinator?) I researched a few sewing classes and enrolled in one that fit my schedule. (I actually had to take vacation to achieve this.)

I wasn't sure what to expect, but at this particular class, I found it to be more like a paid club of crafters who get together as their schedule allows, to have access to a nice workspace and a skilled seamstress who acts as a resource/ mentor.

The teacher doesn't stand at the head of any classroom and lecture from a lesson plan. In between helping students she works on her own projects as well as the store's other service, alterations.

I prepared my supplies and had bought a pattern for a girl's skirt. Once at class, I whipped it out and explained my background, my goals and what I was trying to sew for this project.

The teacher, a very nice Japanese lady, reminded me more of a mother, as she looked at the pattern and said, "OK, cut here and here." Over the next three hour session, we would have this back and forth dialogue in which I would say, "What next?" and she would tell me what to do.

The good thing about this method is that I really learn by doing. Without a lot of chatter, I was able to 90% finish a skirt for Olivia in the first class.

The drawback is that I don't have a comprehensive overview of what I'm doing. I could not independently sew another pattern without assistance. Each method has its pros and cons.

I'm sure that over the years, students drift in and out, while a core group remains. On my first day, there were four other "regulars." In talking to one of them, she mentioned she has come every Monday for the past four years because she likes to have the teacher there to lean on for occasional advice and feedback.

I enjoyed myself and was very proud of my progress - I had not expected to get that far in one session. I had fun, too.

The next day I was ready to return, but I was having a heck of a morning: I had found a huge box of supplies at my mom's and put it in her driveway. My intention was to drive up with my car, and load it up before I went to class.

However, it started pouring heavily, so by the time I returned, the cardboard box and first layers of fabric remnants were soaked. The box was heavy and in the two minutes it took me to get out of the car and put it in the trunk, I was drenched.

I also realized I forgot to brew myself coffee before I left. I drove back to my house to change clothes, dry my hair, and make coffee. Ever had one of those mornings when nothing goes right?

Then I decided I wasn't going to kill myself to get to class. I called to let them know I wasn't coming today, and after I dried myself, I sat down with my cup of hot coffee and the newspaper. That's just as good a morning, too.

8 Responses to “Sewing class”

  1. Sandy:

    You brought up a good point, Diane. I sent my daughter to one of those sewing classes, and it was great. The instructors (are they all older Japanese women?) told her not to buy patterns. She said she wanted to make a pair of black pants and they measured her and drafted up a pattern in a matter of minutes. With step-by-step instructions, the pants fit her perfectly and were beautiful. Great job for a 12 year old!

    After time, though, I noticed that when I enthusiastically showed my daughter a pattern in a book at the store and purchased it, we went home and she sat, waiting for me to tell her what to do. I told her to cut out the pattern pieces and pin them to the fabric. She had no idea where to start. So, they were great sewing classes and I would definitely enjoy them, but I think it's more important for a young person learning how to sew to learn how to follow the written instructions on a commercially purchased pattern. That is probably best accomplished by an experienced sewer walking the learner through the steps and explaining why things are done that way. Grandmas are wonderful for that, by the way.


  2. Rosette:

    oh yes the sewing...I sewed with no pattern and my husbnad drove me nuts so I quit...I MADE TWO SANTA TWIN OUTFITS FOR MY BOYS..imagine walking across the mall with twin Santa they look so cute..a 7 year old and an infant.....now I am into scrap booking photos and I am finish with that ..NEXT STOP just shop til I drop...funny less work... funny! OH yes I used to do ALL sort of nonensense to keep me busy.... now I pick simple chores...NAPPING AND WATCHING t.v...


  3. Rosette:

    oh yes the sewing...I sewed with no pattern and my husbnad drove me nuts so I quit...I MADE TWO SANTA TWIN OUTFITS FOR MY BOYS..imagine walking across the mall with twin Santa they look so cute..a 7 year old and an infant.....now I am into scrap booking photos and I am finish with that ..NEXT STOP just shop til I drop...funny less work... funny! OH yes I used to do ALL sort of nonensense to keep me busy.... now I pick simple chores...NAPPING AND WATCHING t.v...

    TYR THIS BLINGEE for yoru photos

    http://apps.facebook.com/blingee/postcards


  4. Rosette:

    now I go to buy second hand clothes instead of sewing..I use the head and shoulders to wash the clothes...hopefully it kills the bugs off it..funny..imagine I wash the clothes five times in hot water..I let it soak in the head and shoulders then add the anitbacteria soap...good clean second hand less work sewing..voila cheap..funny!


  5. Rosette:

    my husband wonder why is our water expensive...BECAUSE I WASH WASH WASH...funny!


  6. Rosette:

    you should buy those plastic tub container...I got big tubs for five bucks...with crazy wet weather you need plastic tubs..I got five big huge tubs....I can use for emergency to fill up with water etc etc.


  7. Rosette:

    my easy hobby is photography ....take photography less work...bum around town and take pictures have picnic relax....then I make photo scrap book...


  8. Kim:

    My mom sewed all my clothes, including my wedding dress, and I'm in my early 60's now. Although I went sewing school in my teens, you really need patience to sew a garment. I sewed for my girls when they were younger but as they grew older, they wanted "store bought" clothes, and now, when you factor in cost of pattern and fabric, it may be cheaper to buy it, but the fit ... that's where it counts. Where do you go for your sewing class, if you don't mind ... didn't think they had these classes anymore.


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