Monday, July 14, 2008

Second class report

Our second class (with two students! yay!) went really well. I need to figure out a better way to do demonstrations in my cramped little living room but overall it was mostly practicing anyway. We learned how to stitch a straight seam using papers with lines on them either 1/4", 1/2", or 5/8" in. By putting the line side down you can sew up the paper and then turn it over to check how you did. It helped me discover that my little Bernedette doesn't actually have a 5/8" line on it's little metric plate. So not exactly sure what size seams I've been sewing on it. Oops! I need to put down some masking tape and make my own lines. Once I get around to getting masking tape. It's the little things that hold me up.

After working for a while on just sewing up those strips (the time flies!) I showed them the three most basic ways to start and stop seams (tying off, backstitching, and securing with tiny stitches) and was moderately gratified that both gravitated towards the tiny stitches method. It's my personal favorite, brought about from years of sewing with a machine that hates going backwards, so I felt extra good passing on that bit. After all, most places tell you to backstitch. This is like secret sewing wisdom and I get to bestow it upon my apprentices. Or something like that. Anyway, I enjoyed it. In the last bit of class we put our new knowledge to use making cute little bags and I showed them a few variants. One of my students is a total perfectionist while the others' a bit more of a DIYer and I think both really learned from making those silly, easy little bags. My perfectionist (or Debbie, named after a friend who's a perfectionist) was thrilled to finish something and liked realizing that whatever she did and whatever seam width or stitch she used, it would still be a great little bag and my DIYer liked the guidance and the fun of having one project she knows she can churn out again with confidence. Success!

It was funny that at 40 minutes into the 90 minute lesson I was getting antsy and wanted to move on, do more, teach more, cram in all the stuff I'd had planned and instead we were still working with sewing seams. And then one of the students said "you know, we've been sewing for just 40 minutes and it's amazing - I already feel so much more confident with my machine!" It really helped me to hear that - to remind myself that the goal isn't to give them a fly-over of sewing techniques (though the basics are highly helpful) but instead to get them to love and be comfortable with their machines so that when they learn the techniques they can do them without being intimidated by that scary needle or the noises or sudden movement. It's the same process I used to teach my brother to drive and, you know, he's still driving regularly and has a perfect record, despite the crazy area he lives in. So I guess my teaching method works, at least for some learners!

Both students were asking about our next class so I haven't scared them off! Highly encouraging. :) I had to get my eyes tested today and the dilation lead to a migraine so I'm sitting in a dark corner nursing it before crawling to bed. That's my excuse for not uploading pictures of the bags we made. I promise to do it soon, they really turned out nice!

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