Since Spring this past year, I have been teaching sewing to kids and adults at my local community center. I’ve taught a total of 6 classes which includes one whole week of summer camp. I have had to source the projects, fabrics, and supplies. I have had to write instruction booklets for each class as each new class had different projects. And I have had to sew up all the samples to show the students a finished product.
It’s been quite a learning process for me as well. I’ve learned which projects are too hard for beginners. For example, really small fiddly sewing is too hard for a beginner. The shoelaces and the superhero mask were way too fiddly for my students. So I’ve taken those projects off the list of possibilities. I’ve learned that cutting the projects out for them is absolutely a must. Just learning how to use the machine is intimidating enough without fearing a badly cut out project. Even pressing is something I will do ahead of time to cut down on the kids waiting on me to help them with the next step.
My first class was unisex, but I have had difficulty coming up with simple projects that would appeal to both sexes. My last two classes have been for girls only. I have started incorporating home dec projects as well, since most garment sewing involves fitting and/or you must have the correct size cut out. So, even though I don’t opt to do home dec sewing on my own, I recognize that these kinds of projects lend themselves well to teaching sewing.
Here are some of the projects that I’ve taught to my students…
(Clockwise from top left) Knit head wrap, cross body bag, hair scrunchy, pj shorts, bookmark, and envelope style pillow
(Clockwise from top right) D-ring belt, Parisian headscarf, elasticized waist skirt, half apron, infinity scarf, Halloween trick or treat bag, and turban headband.
(Clockwise from top left) Placemat, coaster and napkin, full apron, hand warmer, key ring, drawstring bag.
This was one of the projects I had the adult students make, a faux leather lined clutch purse. It was a huge hit with the adults. I loved making this bag; I think it’s super cute. For the next adult class which starts next week, I have five projects lined up: A table runner for Thanksgiving, a head wrap (like the one the kids are doing next), a coffee cozy, the envelope pillow (like the kids), and a wine gift bag. I think it will be a great class.
It’s a lot of work coming up with the class projects, putting together the booklets, buying and pre-washing the fabrics, AND prepping the projects for the students every week. In fact, after this session, I am taking a break from teaching sewing until at least Spring. I don’t want to get burned out.
If any of you have any ideas for easy beginner projects, I would love to hear about them. I think I’ve reached the end of the internet for new projects. I haven’t listed all the projects above that I’ve covered already, so if you’re going to suggest pillowcases, I have already done that one. 😉
So here I am again. And this time with a pattern review and all! Woohoo! My new step-daughter, Alex, requested a kimono for her Halloween costume this year. If you’ll remember, I made her an anime costume last year. Well, we went shopping for the fabric together and she approved the pattern, Butterick 6267, and we were off to the races. Here’s the review:
Pattern Description: Misses’s Costume — Kimono has dropped shoulders and shaped sleeves with opening Dress has tie ends, purchased inside tie, and narrow hem on front opening. A, B: Fitted, bands (bias B). Self-lined obi has bias ties. Tie belt. I made the Kimono and obi, as well as the tie.
Pattern Sizing: A5 (6-14). I made the size 6 and took off four inches at the shorten/lengthen line on the kimono and three inches off the length of the sleeves. Incidentally, the size 6 fit me AND Alex. Obviously it was pretty generous on her and only slightly large on me. This is not a fitted garment at all. So please take that into consideration when you choose your size. Alex is 11 and has a child’s figure still. I am busty and a much fuller figure than she is, so the fact that it fit both of us is pretty telling about how shapeless it is.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? YES! Aside from the obvious fabric print differences.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, except for one part where it instructs you to under stitch the sleeve. I wasn’t sure which part of the seam to understitch, the band or the sleeve. It was of course, the sleeve. Re: interfacing, I used Fashion Sewing Supply’s Pro Sheer Elegance on the bands and the obi and it was just the right amount of support/heft for the project.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
LIKES: Loved the design.
DISLIKES: A bit intricate to cut out and sew up, but that’s to be expected with this kind of garment. Also, the yardage that they say to buy was completely off. I had a ton left over for the obi/bands and definitely at least two yards too much for the body of the kimono. So that was a bit annoying cost and wastage wise.
Fabric used: Polyester charmeuse print and solids from Yardage Town.
Pattern changes or design changes made: As I mentioned above, I shortened the kimono by about 4 inches and the sleeves by about 3 inches. Other than that, the pattern is unchanged.
Any problems encountered while sewing this pattern? Not really. Pretty straightforward pattern if time consuming.
How long did it take you to make it really? About two solid days for cutting and interfacing, and two days for sewing.
Which sewing machine(s) did you use for construction? I used my Singer Featherweight exclusively for this make. I pinked the side seams instead of serging. In retrospect though, I should have serged them as the side seams still shredded quite a bit.
Will you sew it again or recommend it to others? I most likely will not sew it again. It’s not practical as a robe with those voluminous sleeves and it’s a pretty time consuming sewing. I don’t anticipate needing another kimono soon.
Conclusion: Great pattern for a kimono costume. Not great as a kimono robe for everyday use.
And here’s proof of the pudding…
I have some other things to post but want to put them in a post of their own. Bis später!
Hi old friends!!!
I’ve missed you. I have been sooooo busy since last we met. I’ve been teaching sewing classes and camps. I finished my mosaic table in the nick of time for my rehearsal dinner. Oh and I got married. And I moved. So I’m sure you can understand why I have been otherwise engaged (pun intended!).
The little boy who lives with me is getting bigger and is enjoying our new family life. We just celebrated our one month anniversary yesterday as a matter of fact.
So, here are some pictures of my life in the last little while…
It was a lovely wedding and we are settling into our home together. It’s been a whirlwind and I’m glad that things are becoming more quiet now. It sure is nice to be under one roof finally.
I hope all is well in sewing land. I must admit that my sewing mojo has reemerged. I need new clothes! So be sure to check back sometime soon. I may actually have something to show!
Live long and prosper!!!
I know, I know… I have been MIA for many months now. To be honest. my mind has been elsewhere and I have been incubating some new (non-sewing) creations. I haven’t really sewn much at all, but I have been very busy making things. Here’s a pictorial rundown of what I have made since November.
I’ve taken up knitting again. It started up with a rush job to knit Jack a hat on our way to Aspen for a ski trip. I ended up making four hats from the same pattern I found on Ravelry. Here are a couple pics…
The hats got my knitting mojo fired up, so I thought I’d try my hand at knitting socks. I’ve a lot to learn about stripe matching though. :/ Here are Jack’s “weekend” socks (he won’t wear them to school).
And I have already started another pair for a friend. Here’s the first sock. I’m already 3.5 inches into the second sock now.
I took a Mosaics class and made a few different projects for it.
Right now I’m working on a large scale project, a 3×6 ft mosaic patio table for my parents’ house. Here is a picture of the center medallion in progress. I hope to finish the table in the next couple of weeks.
I’ve even turned Jack on to mosaics. We made a sun catcher glass on glass mosaic for his nanny back in NYC. It’s her birthday this week.
So my big news is that I will be teaching at my local community center starting in April. I will teach a nine week sewing class to 1st – 5th graders and in June I will be teaching a sewing camp for a week. I’m very excited about teaching and am so happy that our community center is such a great place for the kids to go to after school and that they have so many great programs for the kids. I’ve already planned our projects/syllabus and can’t wait to teach!
My little sewing student that I have been teaching privately will be joining me for the class. Here are some of her latest projects:
Last night I made some bibs for one of the teachers at Jack’s school who is expecting his first child this week. Since he’s a science teacher and runs our Lego Robotics program, I thought space themed fabrics were a propos!
I have been so busy with my class and life that I have not been reading many sewing blogs lately. I miss you guys! I hope you are all well.
Oh boy! I haven’t done a pattern review in a while. I guess I’ve been using a lot of TNT patterns lately. I am really excited about this pattern, so read on to find out why. But first a little background on how this skirt came to be… Last year I pinned a MaxMara skirt to my LFN Style Pinterest board. I instantly fell in love with this skirt. I loved the color-blocking and chic simplicity of the skirt.
I knew instantly I could recreate it using double knits instead of wovens. AND, I had the perfect pattern in my stash to try. Enter: McCall’s 6654. And now for the pattern review.
Pattern Description: Misses’ Skirts in 7 lengths. Semi-fitted or loose-fitting skirts have elasticized waistband (waist down), and narrow hem.
Pattern Sizing: 6-14. I originally placed the pattern pieces about 1 3/8 inches away from the folded edge, because I thought the size 14 would be too small. Boy, was I wrong. I ended up cutting off all that I added and using smaller seam allowances for the sz 14.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? I think I made mine a little less body con, but yes, I think it does look like the picture.
Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn’t really need them, but they were definitely easy to follow.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
- This pattern was perfect for my skirt and for double knits
- Super easy to sew
- Loved the instructions for sewing on the waistband.
- The skirt front and back are not that fitted at the waist when you sew them together. I thought that it might be too big. But you stretch the waist band (which is smaller than the circumference of the skirt pieces) as you sew after you match up all the centers, side seams and notches. This nips in the waist of the skirt and distributes the fullness of the skirt where you need it. It looks flat and skims the body, but you definitely have all the ease you need. Ingenious! I’ve always sized up a woven straight skirt pattern for this kind of thing, but sizing up doesn’t handle the waist ease and waistband awesomeness of this pattern which was designed for knits.
- The waistband is sewn together with a hole in the CB seam. Then you fold it over wrong sides together. They say to baste it, but then you can’t stretch the areas you need to stretch, so I recommend skipping that part. I just pinned it to the top of the skirt and serged it together, stretching where I needed to. Once you have the elastic in the casing, just hand sew the hole close. Easy!
Fabric used: Double knits for all three pieces.
Pattern changes or design changes made: I added color blocking to mimic my inspiration skirt. I just guesstimated the proportions and added the necessary seam allowances. I sewed the color blocking of the front and back of the skirt first, pressed the seams, and then sewed the front to the back before added the waistband and hem. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Any problems encountered while sewing this pattern? Not unless you count the sizing gaffe I made at first. Very easy sew!
How long did it take you to make it really? Hmmm… Probably about 3 hours including cutting. It would have been shorter had I not color blocked.
Which sewing machine(s) did you use for construction? I used my serger for all the seams. I would have used my Husqvarna for a blind hem, but it didn’t like the double knit fabric and the stitches never caught the fabric. So then I just used the coverstitch for the hem. It looks more sporty rather than invisible, but I didn’t feel like futzing with it. I had an event to wear it to that night, so I just went with the path of least resistance.
Will you sew it again or recommend it to others? Definitely!!! This pattern is a keeper.
Conclusion: Great skirt pattern. Love that waist band treatment and how the ease is eased in. You can’t go wrong with this pattern.
And here’s how I wore it to the party!
Happy sewing everyone!