Sewing Gifts and Discovering the Joy of Teaching

I got an early start on sewing holiday gifts recently, and I got to teach a friend some simple sewing techniques while I was at it. Isn't teaching fun? I've always been on the learning side of sewing and quilting, and didn't realize how much I'd enjoy playing teacher.

A Susan Beal placemat project in progress.

Every fall, my three high school friends and I get together for a girls' weekend, and this year I was host. We had a blast apple picking, yard sale-ing, and fulfilling our tradition of going out for Ethiopian food. 

At the end of the weekend, my friend, Dani, had the last flight out of town, and we ended up with a free afternoon. We took my dogs for a walk in the woods, and wound up on the topic of quilting. Dani made her first quilt, a baby gift, recently, and was interested in learning more.

As we walked, I explained strip quilting and stack and whack. Back at my house, I drew what I was talking about, and showed her a few quilts to explain how they were pieced.

I've always learned best by doing, so out came my fabric. Inspired by a project by Stitch Contributor Susan Beal, we both selected fabrics and began cutting and piecing placemats.

Not long after, Dani left with an almost-complete set of placemats she plans to give as a holiday gift. I also have a set of placemats…. I just need to decide who to give them to! Most important, I learned I enjoy teaching others. 

If you're looking for holiday gift ideas, or are even working ahead to Valentine's Day, check out the Winter 2013 issue of Stitch Craft Create.

Do you enjoy teaching sewing, quilting, embroidery, garment-making, or whatever craft you love? I can't wait to hear. 



Other sewing topics you may enjoy:


Easy Sewing Projects
Abby Kaufman

About Abby Kaufman

Abby Kaufman is assistant editor of Stitch magazine. When she's not scoping out new fabrics for her collection, Abby enjoys outdoor activities, and spending time with her husband and two dogs. 

7 thoughts on “Sewing Gifts and Discovering the Joy of Teaching

  1. I was a teacher for more years than I care to admit. Being an Art teacher I was given the gift of teaching a multitude of classes – painting, architecture, photography, and more. But my favorite class was Fashion Design. The students learned how to alter existing patterns to accommodate their own designs and then they constructed the garments. I never had a student that didn’t leave the class loving the fact that they now knew how to sew!
    Retirement brought me to my personal love – making quilts. I love it when someone says “Can you show me how you did that?” Out comes the pencil and paper, the thread, the scraps – full blown lesson in a matter of minutes! I just love it. Now if I could only find an outlet for teaching quilting to kids I would be thrilled!

  2. I’ve been teaching sewing to teens and young adults since the late 90s; recently I offered to teach my ten year old neighbour how to sew on her late gran’s Singer 247 flatbed.

    The enthusiasm of even the most ‘too cool’ teen, and now the ten year old when he/she sews the first straight line of stitching is like a virus – one that spreads to me! I find after a student goes home I’m so infected by their enthusiasm I sew for several more hours on my own.

    I look forward to my students progress as much as they do, I hope I’m still teaching into my 90s!

  3. I enjoy teaching all forms of needlework. I love to teach children because of their desire to learn, but I will teach just about anybody who will stay still long enough to learn! Easiest money I will ever earn because it is not work to me!

  4. Since I am living with a chronic illness and cannot work, I decided to teach the neighbors adults and children alike how to sew, bake, create and draw. Since I have always loved teaching this was a natural to continue doing what I loved and missed. This is purely a selfish act even though the recipients love it and are learning crafts and skills they would not ordinarily consider doing.

  5. I love to sew and have been doing so since childhood. For the past 5 years I have been disabled and sewing has become an obsession – I am constantly reading sewing blogs, books, watching videos – you name it. I have learned so much over the last 5 years. I have been asked to teach beginning sewing classes for a group of young women in my hometown and I need advice on developing lesson plans. I would appreciate any input you could give. I am looking forward to getting started and so excited that finally I am seeing young women showing an interest in learning this wonderful and rewarding art!