Friday, January 14, 2011

Lessons from an Animal Hats Class

I have been teaching sewing classes inour community’s Arts Center since the end of September. Today I taught the first of a two part class on fleece animal hats. I have enjoyed all of the classes I have taught and today was no different. It is a delight teaching students a new skill, and developing old skills, and I always manage to learn something new as well. Before we actually begin sewing we go over the different parts of the machine, their names and what they are used for. When we get to the “Thread Up Take Lever” I always tell my students the following story….

One summer (many, many summers ago when I was 19) I had a job working for a man and woman who owned a small custom drapery shop on the outskirts of Tulsa Oklahoma. During my training….oh how I wish I could remember his name…the man, who was an older man…though when you are 19 everyone seems old….taught me a very valuable lesson. He said, “Think of this little lever here (thread up take lever) as a man. When it is here at the top he is “home” and you have no troubles, but if he strays away from home things get messy.” Sexist and politically incorrect?...probably, but an extremely valuable tip! If you always begin and end a seam with the Thread Up Take Lever at the top or “home” position you are much, MUCH less likely to end up with a tangled mess once you begin sewing.

Today in class one of my students likened the presser foot lever to the garage door. “Once your man is home, don’t forget to close the garage door!” I think she just earned a place in the new and extended version of my story!

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