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Friday, July 4, 2014

Help! Teaching Sewing In Middle School

In the fall, I am thinking about running a sewing club after school. I am going to have to get the school to buy some sewing machines. I prefer the older mechanical ones to the new computerized ones. And I am hoping to spend only $400 on them. And then I have to buy an iron.
File:Sewing Machine.JPG
Photos from Wikicommons

So this summer, along with all the sewing I am doing, I am also putting together the things I will have to cover in my sewing classes. I've always considered myself a learner in sewing rather than a teacher. So this a bit of a turn-around for me.

I think the first sewing project will be a pencil case. It is easy and quick. It is also practical. And it will either motivate my students or let them realize that sewing is not for them. Then the second project will be pajamas. I am looking at the free patterns available on McCalls and Fabric.com for the students.
File:Sewing machine parts a.png
Photo showing the wheel and backstitch level on a mechanical Singer.



I plan to use the free class from Craftsy to introduce them to threading the machine. I figure introducing them to Craftsy is a great way to get them to use the other free classes as a resource.

I have also come across some great websites for creativity. Here is one on toilet paper dresses. This one celebrates 15 dresses made from recycled products.   And this dress made of paper comes with a downloadable instruction sheet. I figure that students in particular have to see the creativity and work that goes into this process.


I am really going into this with an idealistic view of the class. Any thoughts/suggestions/warnings?



7 comments:

  1. Honey I'd put a couple of other small projects in between the pencil case and the pyjamas. Like a cushion cover, a drawstring bag, maybe. Like any teaching, it's about identifying the key skills and ensuring they are covered and practised. Like sewing straight, stopping and starting, turning corners, seam finishes and types, zip insertion. Get all those nailed before introducing patterns. Good on you - kids are so capable. I was making my own clothes at 12 and wedding dresses at 17. I don't see why kids these days would be any different if they get an early start.

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    1. Good advice. I will add some more smaller projects. I like the idea of smaller projects because then my students will not have to invest a lot of money until they've decided if they want to pursue this craft. Also, i love the idea of a cushion cover and a drawstring bag.

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  2. Yeah you need some other projects between the pencil case and pjs. The pjs should probably be the final project. Learning to sew is a long process. MrsC's suggestion of a cusshion cover and drawstring bag would provide a lot of skills.

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    1. Thank you. I knew that the online sewing community would have good advice. I will add in some more projects between the pencil case and the pjs. And yes, pajamas would be a good culminating project. No fit issues. Or not many anyway.

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  3. I'm interested in learning more about what you do as I am thinking of starting a small sewing program at my local library. I was thinking of pillowcases as the first project because students get to practice straight stitches, taking accurate measurements, and using a zigzag stitch to finish the edges. I found other ideas by searching the net for beginner projects. Good luck!

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    1. I'll keep you posted on what I learn.

      I know first that there has to be an informational session on safety and perhaps a small test with it. I'll make it fun though, by issuing a "sewing licence". And I think I will offer badges as the projects are completed sort of like the scouts and guides do.

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  4. I suggested it because it's what our sewing teacher takes our Beginner class to. :) Also, I remember clearly at school sewing without thread on paper with lines on it - straight lines, zig zags, shapes. It's an awesome and fun way for kids to get to know the machines, and 'pass their test' :)

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