JOY --- Jesus On the JourneY

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Teaching Sewing???? To 26 Guys???


On the way to Bethany's shower one of her friend's, Carissa, suggested that I start my own sewing classes at home as an extra to boost the family economy. The thought hadn't even crossed my mind. I remember that a couple of summers ago I did teach 5-6 little girls to sew so I thought one-on-one classes might be fun. I was teaching high school guys to sew -- what could be the problem with a few younger girls?

I have been sewing since my 4-H days in elementary school and because of necessity --my Mom taught me to make my own clothes. Dorcas, in the book of Acts, has always been my heroine because she used her sewing to take care of people in need. Fabric stores hold a special place in my heart because as a girl that's where all sorts of new creations were fashioned as we fingered the fabrics.

Years ago, I became the designated foods lab instructor so It's been 8 years since I taught sewing labs in my life skills classes. I'm a little rusty and the machines have become more computer-controlled. Sometimes my students have to help me with the techno part of it. So far, I've gotten the machines set up at the stations - all 21 of them. I've taught my students to thread their machines, wind bobbins, do simple sewing on paper and make a small square pin cushion pillow that would resemble the larger pillow many of them had chosen to make for their project. I tried to explain to the guys it was sort of like driving a car -- they could think of the foot control as the accelerator on their cars and they just had to learn to manuever it.


Teaching sewing labs can be a lot like working the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with everyone yelling at once so I had to set out my ground rules first, much like kindergarten because you see -- I DON'T LIKE WHINING!!!. I told each class we were one big family of 25 people all desperate for attention and we had to take turns. I used different trite, time-tested phrases and said that in this "family" the squeaky wheel didn't get the grease. "Each must help one" -- once they learned something -- pass it on to the person beside them who was having to wait for further instruction-- and only by putting their names on the board could I fairly get to each person who had been waiting. That was the only way I knew that I could survive the chaos.

I have to confess that Bethany would be a much more accomplished seamstress if she'd not had to sit at the sewing machine and wait on Mom so long when I was teaching her to sew in sixth grade. Somewhere in those 20 minute waits for me to return, she lost interest.

My first hour class is my practice. They are all still a little sleepy and I try my day's demonstrations and lessons out on them. IF THEY don't sew their fingers to the throat plate of the machine or bust a bobbin -- maybe that day's lesson will work for the other two hours.

By Friday of last week all 72 students had their mini-pillows (pin cushions) completed and are eagerly awaiting their projects next week when we return from Spring Break.
There was one from a guy who sewed the wrong sides together, there were ones with the closures stitched in all sorts of creative ways. Let's see what comes, I'll keep you updated as to how eager I am to teach sewing four weeks from now.

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