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Need help teaching sewing to beginners

fatari | Posted in General Discussion on

I’ve been sewing for close to 40 years. I learned in school probably like most of you. We had access to every tool, fabric type and book that was available at the time. I’ve sewn everything from pillows to yurts for sale in a national cataloge.I owned a successful sewing shop in Arizona, it’s still going, but I sold it eons ago. Now I’ve been given my most difficult challenge so far. I’ve been asked to teach sewing to a few total beginners. It’s been so long that I don’t have a real reference point on where to start the lessons. I have a 3 month time frame to get at least one student to sew. And I have 2 restrictions or challenges, the first being that I live in a country where they don’t have patterns, so we must learn to make slopers as well as learn technique, etc, etc, (everyone here goes to tailor shops and gets their clothes custom made) and the second challenge is that I speak one language and my students speak another!! No need to think about that, I thought that you’d want to give me the ‘wow, lady” thumbs up encouragement rap! LOL

There must be someone out there who is well versed with not only in teaching  ‘freshmen’ or ‘women’ but who have great sloper ideas. I’ve used the method from www.vintagesewing.info/index.html but I haven’t been able to get the basic slopers to come out correctly. Does anyone have some suggestions that will help me get some ‘method to my madness”? Sloper sites as well as organizational ideas that don’t get bogged down in theory. these ladies want to sew!! I find that I’m jumping around all over the place. I’ve taught my daughter to sew, but that was mostly by her observing me sew all my crazy projects over the years.

I’m really serious about this request. I want to prove to myself that I can benefit others by using my talent, and since my kids are all out of the house now, the thought of ‘what can I do to help others” has been tugging at my heart. This type of knowledge can be extremely useful for a wide variety of people who want to become independant or who just need to clothe their families.

thanks for giving me a say, now it’s your turn. thanks Fatari


  1. liselaure | | #1

    Hello Fatari,

    What about showing your students how to drape a sloper? It should require less verbal explanations than drafting one. There were two articles in Threads, one about the waist sloper, one about the skirt sloper, a few years ago. There are also books such as "Draping for Apparel Design" by Helen Joseph-Armstrong or "Bodymapping" by Kathy Illian.


    P.S. Where was your store in Arizona? I've lived for almost 5 years in Tucson.

    1. fatari | | #2

      You have a great idea, but I haven't found a draping maniquin for sale. I could try the duct tape version though, actually if I can afford all that tape it's a great idea (duct tape as we know it doesn't exist here, only the knock off versions). My one student has a very petite shapely shape (5' tall with 38' bust and 24' waist) so it's been a challenge to draw a proper sloper, they all are strangely shaped, looking disproportionate. we gave up on that.

      As for the shop , I opened 'Cactus Needle Tailor' back in 1982.  I don't even remember the street name, seems like a life time ago (actually it was). I didn't have it very long, but last time I went to Tucson (1999) it was still there. Great location that place. I have fond memories. Let me know if it's still there, will you?

      thanks for your suggestion, Fatari

      1. liselaure | | #3

        Hello again,

        Maybe your student could come with a friend that would be the "draping maninquin".

        I don't know if your store still exists. I left Tucson 3 years ago. I am sure I never visited it while living there.


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