* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Calvary Chapel Couturières

A new club has been born.  And I'm the leader!  I have never taught anything in my life, I don't think, not even a Sunday School class.  After I started back sewing last year, many of the young women in our church began begging me to teach them to sew.  As nobody seemed to own a sewing machine nor had the budget to buy one, I didn't take them seriously.  A year later, I finally got pushed over the edge that they really meant it and were just waiting for me to get serious!

Learning the concepts of sewing and that no one is born an expert

So we set a date, I worked up a program I hoped was conducive to their abilities, and we had our first class today.  I gave the group a name; I think it's kind of catchy.  This was the first time half the class had ever touched a sewing machine, and I don't think the others have had much experience.  So we were truly a very beginner group, meaning I had to go back a whole lot of years to remember when I was at that same stage.

My trusty workhorse from 1977 (when I was their generation), still going strong

Explaining trim

Not expecting them to know how to get supplies, I provided everything for the first class.  I thought  little tote bags big enough to carry patterns and scissors to future classes would be appropriate.  I have a ton of old high school band stuff left over from my involvement with my kids 25 years ago, and the colors were also appropriate for a church class today.  I made an example, using trim on the front and applying French seams to look neat and be sturdy, then offered them the use of the same materials.

My little machine loved all the attention!  The class loved my sewing box from tenth grade.

Learning how to read a sewing gauge

I sew in English and inches, I had to explain in French and metric.  What's a seam gauge in French?  A bodkin?  How many mm is 1/4"?  I never can remember the word for trims.  While we did lots of visuals, they wanted the names of things for their notes.  Next time, I'll have to have some kind of translated glossary available.  I couldn't get everything right the first time, could I?

How do you thread this borrowed machine?

I was very impressed with how they did.  I thought we'd have to practice a lot of stitching on scraps, but most of them felt confident after just two trial rows.  And I think they were super excited at actually creating something useful themselves.

Creating something on a sewing machine really is possible!

The finished products look quite functional, although one can see the learning process of keeping trim simple on the first effort.

All the finished little drawstring bags representing first sewing efforts

First to finish!

Madeleine, also known as my twin, came in first on getting hers done.  She was one of the first timers ever touching a sewing machine.

But the others all eventually got theirs finished, too.  Some are planning on adding embellishments, such as beading, later at home.

I think they all look quite proud of themselves having accomplished their first sewing machine item.

Thinking ahead to the next class next month, yesterday I whipped up my teeshirt from a free download PDF pattern, so they'd know what to be anticipating.  By learning how to measure themselves and then choosing the proper pattern size, they should be good to go for advancing all on their own onto whatever style of sewing they prefer.

So now that the stress of being responsible for teaching others how to do what I've been doing my whole life is over, I can get back to weeding my garden next week.  Yay.  But maybe also be able to sneak in a few minutes here and there continuing on some of my own sewing projects.  Yes!


  1. Well done Barb ! It's safe to say that it was a hit. Glad the photos turned out =).

  2. That looks like fun. Now that I actually wish I could learn to sew, you're too far away to teach me. :( At least you can help empower these ladies. And you finally found something to do with the band stuff!

  3. This is SO great! I wish, like Sandi, that I could take your class! It looks like it was a lot of fun!


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