Isn't the community of sewists simply amazing? I cannot think of a more generous, caring & creative group of people! On a regular basis, one can hear the desire of a maker to pass on their knowledge and love for sewing with someone who does not sew.
Recently, I had the joy of helping my daughter create a gift for a co-worker. Before we continue, let me give you some background here. We have two children, a girl and a boy. When they were old enough to read, I taught them both how to sew. Unfortunately for me, the desire to continue did not stick with either of them.
My daughter is a complete outdoors kinda of a gal. So imagine my joy when she accepted my suggestion to make a wall hanging as a thank you gift for her co-worker.
In preparation for this sewing adventure, I realized that she didn't seem to have any apprehension about the project (of course my mind went into fast forward when the pattern she chose contained one inch squares. Her lack of concern or trepidation helped me to form a plan of attack for her that proved to be very successful.
My goal was to help my daughter have an enjoyable experience so that she would be pleased both with the final project and with the process so that she may wish to revisit the hobby at some time in the future.
Here are some things to consider as you help someone new to sewing:
- No stress - sewing should be fun and afterall it is only fabric and thread, what's the worst that could happen?
- Be not afraid - If your new sewist is not intimidated by something, why should you? Don't pass on your apprehensions to them. This may be the hardest but the best thing you should do.
- Read over the project instructions - The more you know the more you can help and the less waiting they will need to do
- Prep for them - get them sewing right away. If this is their first time, why not cut the pieces for them and have it all ready and removing the chore of prepping.
- Have the tools ready - bobbins wound, fresh needles, correct foot on the machine and needed tools within reach (this includes the iron).
- Let them do - show them how to do something but then verbally remind how to do a task like choosing a stitch etc. The more that they do themselves the more confident and successful they feel.
- Are they happy? - It is more important that a new sewist be proud of their efforts than it is to be perfect, that will come in time.
Basic machine features, for better success and self confidence are: Speed control, needle down and the machine’s automatic needle threader.
I must say, that having first learned on a machine without a needle threader, my daughter was quite taken by this feature. Don't you agree? An automatic needle threader is fabulous! If you are planning on giving a gift of a new machine, consider choosing one with these features.
When my daughter began her project, I had encouraged her to “show no fear, it’s just fabric. To which she promptly replied “I’m not fearing the fabric, I’m fearing the machine”. We fear what we do not know, whether warranted or not. In helping a new sewist find the fun in sewing, our biggest challenge is to make the experience easier and to take away any apprehension.
The most important thing about our project is the time we spent together, the fun we had, & the joy she had in creating a meaningful gift. She now feels prepared for tackling another project should she choose. For me, it was a thrill! Getting to see her joy and sense of satisfaction of the process. We were both winners!
Share your love of sewing and knowledge with someone. It will bring you both joy and you may never know how much impact you may have on them and generations to come.