Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Sewing Lessons

This summer I needed someone to babysit my children while I taught classes at the Arts Center; just over the hill there was a teenage who needed to learn to sew.  A light bulb came on!  I offered said teenager private sewing lessons in exchange for babysitting hours.  We had a plan that suited everyone!

Jessie upheld her end of the bargain; children were alive, feed, and happy when I arrived home.   So our sewing lessons began.  We started with an exercise that I modified from the way my mother learned to sew.   My mother made rag quilts, I taught Jessie to make a rag pillow, an excellent exercise in getting the feel for a straight stitch and how the sewing machine runs.  Next, Jessie made a small bag for her make-up and then a garden apron for her mother.  We were working up to the BIG project she really wanted to do…making a skirt.  In our first lessons she learned the importance of accuracy, measuring and ironing, three skills there is not a lot of fun in learning, but truly essential to sewing.  Undeterred by the first lessons and still excited about the skirt we sewed on. 

Jessie and I butted heads a bit about the design of the skirt.  She came to the table with lots of great, fashionable ideas, backed up with pictures.  I had my own great, practical ideas, backed up with experience.  Jessie REALLY wanted a very wide elastic waist band, and I thought it would be frustrating for a beginner to sew.  We finally found very wide elastic, but not in the color she had in mind. I agreed to let her try sewing the elastic if she would agree to a compromise about the color.  In the end the elastic was a bit frustrating, but she persisted and eventually prevailed!  She did a wonderful job on her skirt!  AND now she wants to make a hat.  We have a talented seamstress in the making...and a very proud teacher. 

Want to make a skirt like Jessie’s?  Stay tuned for directions….  


  1. I love that you two bartered your services/talents. I know J is proud of her skirt. I haven't seen it yet, though.
    I hope all is well.

  2. She was so excited to show it to you, I can't believe you haven't seen it yet!