Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sewing Camp 101 - Day 5

Oh my goodness! What an amazing final day yesterday at So Sew Etc’s Sewing Camp 101! The ladies arrived filled with excitement, ready to finish their pillowcases! Everyone also remembered to bring back their finished drawstrings bags!
Before they started sewing the “roll” they did another little practice by sewing a straight line! Which reminds me, my only regret I have about this whole week… I didn’t save the first day’s stitching samples. What a difference a few days of practicing makes!

I don’t know if you’ve taken the time to look through the photo album “Sewing Camp” over on the Facebook page, but I hope you will sometime! When looking over the pictures, note the facial expressions while the participants are sewing!!! Priceless!

On the drive home yesterday, tears welled up in my eyes thinking about the week. I don’t want this to be about “me” because it’s the ladies who “did it” – they got it! But, I told myself “I Did It”!!!! I had a dream, to teach my love of sewing to the next generation of sewists, and things all fell into place to accomplish turning a dream into reality!

I encourage everyone, teach the next generation something you love! It's a Wrap is the rest of the story!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sewing Camp 101 - Day 4

Yesterday was a hectic day at So Sew Etc’s Sewing Camp 101! Everyone practiced a bit sewing “straight” lines (still a challenge!) using the pressure foot as a guide for the ¼” seam allowance. Then we moved on to finish the drawstring bag!

I must say, sewing two seams along both 9.5” sides of the bag – creating “French seams” – honestly took much longer than I anticipated/expected for a few sewists. The others simply followed my directions to the letter and successfully (and quickly) completed their bags.

While waiting for the others to finish, they made excellent use of their time… looking through the reference/inspirational books, practicing sewing their name on the paper printout provided, or hand stitching more embellishments on their fabric square given out the first day.

Because the camp is only two hours long, and only one bag left to finish, it was only fair to the others to call a time out after one hour. It was then time to move on and everyone start working on the pillowcase!

And, because we only had an hour left, Miss Gail and I went around and cut one edge of the fabric straight so the sewists would have a “good” end to measure from. With a bit of help, sewists began to measure, mark, and cut the different fabric pieces to size.

Then my Senior Moment happened! Yes! I told everyone never to tell, rather I’ll tell on myself! Using my own written instructions, my mind went totally blank how to lay out the fabric pieces on top of one another (to do the roll-up method). Totally frustrated letting outside distractions get to me, I was close to tears because I felt I was disappointing the sewists!

I finally had to read my instructions out loud. Then my OWN light bulb went off in time for the sewists to get the pieces pinned together and one sewist had time to get it stitched together!!! {Did you hear my big sigh yesterday?}

I’m so thankful I have one more day to share… Day 5!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sewing Camp 101 - Day 3

My goodness, time flew by yesterday during So Sew Etc’s third day of Sewing Camp 101! I only made the time to take ONE picture! Otherwise, we were working! UPDATED with pictures Miss Gail shared!! Before our work day began, I wanted to see their scissors secured inside the sleeves everyone hand stitched –  

We were busy at the sewing machines or ironing boards for almost the entire two hours!

A bit of recap: at the end of Day 2, sewists had measured and cut out their drawstring bag’s main fabric and its two accent pieces then left the project at their table area:
            Main fabric measures 10” x 16”
            Accent fabric (2) measures 10” x 3”

  1. Accurate measuring with yard stick and marking wrong side of fabric with #2 pencil or marking pencil
  2. Cutting 2 pieces at once (folding fabric straight, etc.)
  3. Accurate cutting
We then pinned, with wrong sides together, accent pieces to the main bag fabric

  1. Matching and pinning cut edges evenly across the 10” end
When I arrived yesterday (well before the ladies), I went around and checked everyone’s work. I immediately realized I needed to address the matching/pinning objective before we went over to the machines. To save a bit of time, I had corrected one end, leaving the other end ready for them to re-pin. Once done, sewists went to the machines!

Now on to Day 3!

Soon as the participants sat down at their machine, I explained how to:
  1. Keep their heel on the floor and press the pedal only with the ball of the foot and toes. This is how even, slow pressure is much easier to maintain.
  2. Only turn fly wheel forward, NOT backwards!

Okay… it was then I pulled out my Speeding Ticket pad and told them I would write tickets for speeding and for going the wrong way (fly wheel)!!!!

We had ZERO speeders!
We had ZERO malfunctions with the bobbin and its casing
(meaning: no one went the wrong way!!!)

I saw another light bulb go off – that magical moment – when it makes everything so worthwhile!

What the participants did:
  1. Stitched across accent pieces, attaching to main fabric
  2. Pressed stitching line to meld stitches, then pressed seam open
  3. Cut lining out based on the previously sewn fabric
  4. Pinned edges together - matching up cut edges perfectly
  5. Stitched around the entire bag, leaving a 3" hole for turning (back-tack at start & finish learned), removing pins before sewing over!
  6. Trimmed corners off for a nice pointed corner later
  7. Pressed stitches to meld
  8. Turned fabric right side out through opening
  9. Gently used knitting needle to poke out corners
  10. Pressed
  11. Turned down accent pieces, pinned, then stitched across (made the casing for the ribbon)
  12. EXCITEMENT building indeed!

First thing today (Day 4), a bit more practicing sewing a STRAIGHT line and pivoting at a corner!!!

Then we have 2 more seams (per side) to do on the drawstring bag and it will be ready for their ribbon! This project will be done! Participants don’t realize it yet, but they are doing a “French seam” finish on the bag!

Rest assured, I will take pictures with my camera and post tomorrow!!!

I sincerely hope we also get the pillowcase project totally done today! It’s doable!

Please keep the new generation sewists (and me) in your prayers!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sewing Camp 101 – Day 2

My goodness, we had a blast yesterday at So Sew Etc’s Sewing Camp 101! The young ladies shared their completed scissor sleeve (note to self: take pictures!) that they finished at home. Some completed the hand stitching of their name on the traced fabric, others will share today! Then we went over the parts of the sewing machine! Everyone, when called upon, pointed to the correct part! Oh, and then we went over a picture that had 10 hazards that should never ever be found in a sewing room! By George, they got it!

We also shared fabric selection for the different projects! They picked out some fun fun fabrics!

All the sewing machines were set up and ready for the participants when they arrived yesterday. When it was time, they began practicing machine sewing their name on a pre-printed piece of paper. After a few minutes, we began experiencing bobbin thread issues. It hit me on the way home, I know the participants turned the hand (fly) wheel backwards many times – and experienced sewists know how badly that can mess up the bobbin! It certainly was a “duh” moment in my brain! Better late than never!

The plan is today to show where/how to rest the heel when pressing the foot pedal!

Anyway, we’ll get it all going straight & forward today!

I’m so thankful I thought ahead and took a box… yes! One young lady cannot sit properly on the chair and her feet reach the floor! The box was the perfect height to place the foot pedal and she is now sewing up a storm!

The main parts of the drawstring bag are cut out and pinned together – the last thing we did yesterday! We are ready to sew first thing today! We should be able to finish the bag today! Then move on to our next project – the pillowcase!

Moving right along…………. Day 3!

P.S. As the participants were leaving, one stopped at the “log cabin quilt” table where I’ve displayed some reference and inspirational books and magazines for them to look at and said, “Miss Lanetta, we didn’t look at your books.” I responded with, “We didn’t have time, did we? We were sewing! Maybe tomorrow we can.” She smiled, turned, and left out the front door. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sewing Camp 101 – Day 1

Yesterday was an exciting day! The first day of So Sew Etc’s Sewing Camp 101 went off without a hitch! The participants kept busy and they appeared to be interested throughout the entire two hours. Some of you have expressed an interest in what I’m doing, how it’s going, and is why I’m writing this post.

After introductions and the initial sharing, we began by going over the items in a basic sewing kit. The first tool we practiced with was the seam ripper. I had prepared a scrap of fabric (for each participant) with a line of regular stitching and a basting line. The participants learned how best to hold and use the seam ripper without cutting the fabric’s thread or poking a hole in the fabric (or their finger!), and where it was to find the sharp “cutting” part of the ripper itself.

The last item we discussed was scissors and how to safely pass scissors to another person. (Thanks to my helper, Miss Gail, who caught this and seized the teaching moment!) Then we began our first sewing project: a “sleeve” to hold the scissors when not in use.

Ah, the act of threading a needle and tying the knot! We got it done! And, it was absolutely magical when the light bulb went off and one participant, that had issues tying the knot, got it!!! She was SO THRILLED! It truly warmed my heart to see such a wide smile on her face!

We also watched two videos I found on youtube:

One was on how thread is made (machinery, not spinning!)
The other on how fabric is made (also by machinery, not hand woven!)
(I hope I didn’t get the links reversed!)

They traced their name on fabric…

There was enough light coming in through the window that the printout I’d prepared showed up nicely from underneath the fabric/interfacing when simply laying the set on the table surface (rather than having to tape the printout and fabric piece on the window itself). I also explained, if it was night, or a cloudy day, how they could use the television set (turned on an off channel) and the light from the tv should be enough to trace anything!

The participants made the choice where to lay the fabric – straight or diagonal – before tracing lightly with a pencil. It’s also their choice what color to use, and if embroidery or sewing thread. I can hardly wait to see their finished project today!

We talked about what they could do with a simple square of fabric hand stitched with their name (a priceless item in years to come). A couple of participants offered some great ideas: one will give to her grandma to put in a quilt and another said she will frame it and hang in her room!

They had homework last night – sewing by hand:

  1. finish “sleeve” for their scissors from the Pellon and ribbon provided
  2. hand stitch over their names traced on a fabric square I had prepared with a backing of iron-on interfacing, then taped the edges with masking tape to prevent raveling while they worked on the project
Objectives I hope for the participants as they do projects during Sewing Camp time and at home:

Learn a new way of doing things
Follow directions
Practice good manners
Develop creative thinking
Develop critical thinking
How to thread a needle
How to tie knot in the end of thread
How to sew by hand
Create completed projects!

I'm off to get ready for today's camp! Day 2!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

I don’t know about you, but my daddy hung the moon! There were certainly horrific fights and loud disagreements while I was growing up, but he hung in there and always gave me unconditional love.

Thank you, Daddy! I love you!

Monday, June 4, 2012

So Sew Etc - Sewing Camp 101

I don’t know about you but whenever I’m awake, my brain is multi-tasking 98% of the time. It’s hard to stay focused on just one task. While working on one project, I’m pondering, working out details on something else, and creating new ideas. While out working on the Keyhole Garden, then sewing in the afternoons, the light bulb went off big time!

I’ve not yet shared here what I’ve been working on “behind the scenes” with the help of family and friends. It’s the fulfillment of a dreamed I’ve had for decades – to share and teach my love for sewing to young people who would like to learn the art of sewing.

I’m thrilled beyond words! Yesterday saw the last detail needed to finalize So Sew Etc’s first Sewing Camp 101!!!

Some of the projects we will create during Sewing Camp 101:

Drawstring Bags - A good thing!

Custom Pillowcase
Drawstring Waist Apron
Yes! I’ve posted to Facebook the Objectives for Sewing Camp 101.

The registration process has begun! The free sewing camp will be held June 18, 2012 – June 22, 2012 from 1:30 to 3:30 in the Fellowship Hall of Lometa United Methodist Church, Lometa, Texas. The Sewing Camp 101’s focus is on the Next Generation Sewists ages 8 – 14. Exceptions to the age range are always considered, simply ask!

You can find the Participant Registration Data form here. If you’re not on Facebook, send me an email request at and I’ll email you the form!!!

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