teaching sewing to stylish beginners
I’ve been teaching sewing for 4 years. The large Aussie chain I subcontract to is becoming less and less interested in running the classes, and my classes have been cut to one a week, and seeing as that one is at an awkward time (first thing Monday morning) it doesn’t suit most of the people who are interested, being, mostly, young working women. They didn’t do sewing at school because they took the academic track rather than the vocational, they now have some money of their own with few committments, and they’re looking for a hobby. One weekend class I ran had an accountant, an IT specialist, two nurses and a medical researcher with a PhD. All under 30 years old.
The other group of students is young mums. They tend to be intelligent women, looking for something to keep their brains going while they get through the baby and toddler years of low adult interaction and repetetive days. (I know this, I’m one myself)
Neither group is really sewing to save money, but so much of the promotion (certainly the promotion my particular chain does, anyway) uses this idea to sell sewing. I think this is a mistake. It devalues sewing, suggesting it’s a necessary family chore rather than an outlet for creativity and personal growth. However, I do agree that the sewing machine cost is daunting, because it’s a big obvious cost, not like the little costs that add up by stealth as one starts a stash and pattern collection, much of which will mature nicely rather than get used. (again, personal experience)
So the interest is definitely there, and, as other posts have discussed, I think that the homesewing fraternity (sorority?) needs to catch up, with more stylish patterns, better information regarding how they’ll fit, and easier, more modern sewing techniques. (Actually, it must be a fraternity, because areas dominated by women such as this forum and PatternReview, are in fact trying to meet our needs.)
My problem now is that I need to find premises and start promoting my classes independently. I’m looking forward to it because I will relish the freedom, but I know that it will be tricky and unstable for a while. I want some advice on such things as good, stylish very first patterns. Burda’s one seam pant (3216) is a definite because it’s so easy and fits well, and looks rather nice despite the appalling catalogue picture. I’d like a knit top, a woven top and a skirt pattern. For the more fashion forward student, I like Vogue’s Issey Miyake 2814 sleeveless top, because it’s so easy to sew, (4 seams and no edge finishing!) but I know there’s a compromise involved because they won’t learn much about how pattern shapes relate to the body. I think teenagers would enjoy this one more than older women who want to understand things rather than take great leaps of faith.
I’d love any suggestions, about all aspects of starting classes independently.