For four years now I’ve been teaching groups of women (and some men) here in Wellesley to use their sewing machines. My class takes place at a sewing school down the street from my house. It’s an upstairs room in a two-story building and we all come in panting from lugging our heavy machines up there.
During the daytime the sewing school is filled with children. My own children take classes there. The walls are covered in projects – doll clothes, pillows shaped like lips and soccer balls, water bottle holders, and pajama pants. Shelves hold bolts of fabric in bright prints designed with tween girls in mind.
The kids classes are hugely successful and very often kids go home asking for a sewing machine for their birthday or Christmas. Once they get one, though, it’s often a different story at home. Sewing machines are finicky. They love to come unthreaded and when they do, the kid turns to their mom for help.
Women my age (I’ll be 40 in August) often don’t know how to sew. They might have sewn in 8th grade Home Economic class, or maybe their aunt showed them when they were six, but it’s been a long time – too long to be able to help their child rethread the machine.
Those moms are my students. Once a month I hold an evening class from 7:00-9:30 at the sewing school. They bring their daughter’s machine and I teach them to use it. Often these moms have their own creative goals in mind as well. They want to make curtains or cushions or clothes and they want to sew with their children.
I’ve come to love this class dearly. An hour and 45 minutes in, when everyone has mastered threading and bobbin winding and is quietly working on their first project, I always give a little cheer. “You’re sewing! Yay! Everyone is sewing!” They’re thrilled and I’m thrilled.
For me a sewing machine is such a powerful creative tool. Once you can use a sewing machine, even in the most basic way, you can quickly seam together fabric and that is a most amazing thing. From there, you can go anywhere.
I’m always on the lookout for ways to explain visually how a sewing machine works. It’s a bit mysterious for new users, and hard to imagine how the stitches are formed. I found a video that I wanted to share with you because for me it’s accomplishes this goal perfectly. Made by Design Squad Nation, this video is truly excellent. Take a look:
Isn’t that terrific! Thank you Design Squad Nation!
I’m going to incorporate this animation into my lesson next month. If you’re in the Boston area and would like to learn to use your sewing machine, join me at Sew Easy in Wellesley on Monday night, April 6.
If you already know how to use a sewing machine and you’d like to begin teaching this class in your local area, I’ve put together an ebook of my curriculum materials. My friend, Jodi, used it recently to teach her first class (at her kitchen table) and it was a big success.
Jodi teaching Get to Know Your Sewing Machine class.
Teaching is so satisfying and it’s a great way to supplement your sewing business income. I also learn so much when I teach new sewists. Seeing exactly what’s confusing to them and hearing about what they want to make gives me ideas for new blog posts and new products. It’s truly a win win situation.
Grab the ebook and get started.