When I taught a Sewing for Beginners class for adults last year, I had to remind myself to start with the absolute basics and build my students' confidence along with their skills.
Winding a bobbin–it's a start!
Beginning students worried less
|It was an exciting day when the
Beginning Sewing Class topstitched
their first zippers into place!
The class consisted of four adult women, three of whom had never even touched a sewing machine. With some diligence, by the end of the first class everyone could thread the machine. They could wind a bobbin and insert it successfully. Now we were ready to sew stuff.
As an instructor, I soon learned that beginning sewists are also often perfectionists. They would obsess over the slightest wobble in a seam-and want to rip it out and start over.
To take the pressure off, I began each subsequent class with a short skills warm-up. During warm-ups, we learned one sewing technique and simply made a sample. The samples were not a part of the day's project, and it allowed us all to relax while we learned.
Step by step the class accumulated quite a repertoire of skills -and also created some wonderful projects. One woman made draperies for her bedroom. Another made ten (yes, ten!) zippered cosmetic totes for holiday gifts. Pajama pants were popular–after the warm-up on casings and elastic.
As my class gathered skill and confidence, I was reminded to continue to build and expand on my own knowledge base. Of course, I often look something up when I'm stumped on a technique. But now I've added the warm-up concept to my sewing time. I've found that when I remove the pressure of mastering a skill to complete a project, I generally catch on more quickly.
And, not surprisingly, I often find myself needing that skill soon after I've learned it.
If you come across a new technique, why not try it out? Just make a sample. Enjoy being a beginner again. It's fun!
To add some new sewing techniques to your skills, check out the video download of Sewing Tips and Tricks with Tricia Waddell in the Sew Daily Shop.
P.S. What's the last sewing technique you learned "just because"? Let us know on the Sew Daily blog.