New Sewists are such an inspirational and enthusiastic bunch. There is something about not having the confines of the usual convention in learning that make for true creativity – don’t you think? The “that’s the wrong way” and “this is the right way” approach can stifle many.
I set out from the beginning to make classes fun and informative. I noticed that people like to learn quickly and so I made it a policy that all courses would be for the minimum term possible – whilst still covering the fundamentals of sewing/dressmaking. I was also conscious that if courses last for too long then the longer the course (more number of weeks) the more likelihood that at some point at least one class in the course would be missed by the student. This would be detrimental to learning as each class deals with progressing with a project through from beginning to end, with each class covering the necessary processes involved.
Classes have been running for a number of weeks now and I have to say I am astounded at how easily and quickly students have picked up these skills. I do think the main reason for this is that our class sizes are restricted to a maximum of 6 per class. This was a conscious decision as I had queries from people saying that they had attended courses in the past at other establishments but had felt they had not taken anything on board and were a little bit disheartened – although still keen to learn. On probing further I found that this was invariably due to the large class sizes in the course they attended. They felt swept along, in addition the duration of the class was usually very short around a couple of hours, one lady said she had hardly settled herself when she felt it was time to pack up! I took another call from a lady asking me how to attach a bodice to the skirt of a dress she had been working on for “a number of weeks!”. Although happy to help I asked if she had contacted her tutor, she responded that she felt she couldn’t – as she (the teacher) wouldn’t know who she was and in any event the college was closed for the Summer! Such a shame that the sewing experience for new Sewists is leaving them disheartened before they start!.
I would be interested to know how you guys learnt/were taught to sew. Was the environment nurturing and was there any support offered once the course/class was finished? Perhaps you were taught by a family member, mum, aunt, big sister.