Sunday, August 06, 2017

Ailin Learns to Sew

My little niece Ailin is 10 years old.  This summer I am teaching her how to sew.  It's a great reason to pull out my Singer Featherweight to give it a workout.  A great and simple machine to learn on as it only does straight stitch -- and it does it very well.  It's not a fussy machine.

Ailin wanted to make a dress as her first project, but I convinced her that this little origami bag to hold her new sewing kit would be a better beginner project.  It's all straight lines, and gives her a chance to get used to the machine, the foot pedal, gives her a chance to develop hand-eye coordination, sewing speed, keeping the sewing line where you want it ...  remembering to back-stitch at the start and end of a line. 

Skills Ailin worked on with this project :
   *  Pinning edges together
   *  Not running over pins while sewing
   * Sewing in a straight line
   * Top stitching
   * Starting and stopping - securing the start and end of a line of sewing
   * Hand-eye coordination
   * Controlling the foot pedal and sewing speed
   * Ironing Fabric
   * Pressing Seams / Setting Seams
   * Sewing on a Button
   * Feeding ribbon through for a draw string

Since this won't be her regular machine, I did not make her learn to thread the machine, or fill a bobbin.  We've got to save something for next time!

She's a quick learner!  She picked out the coordinating fat quarters, learned about pressing / ironing fabric.

 Auntis Michele (me) with AIlin and her finished Origami Bag

I remember my first sewing project was a little orange sundress with a yellow jacket.  I spent most of my time picking out bad stitches because I was probably too young to really control and coordinate the foot pedal (under the table and out-of-site) with guiding the fabric along the sewing line with my hands.   That was in a 4-H class to begin with.

Later on Gramma Pickles and my mom helped me learn to sew ...  This is the only picture I have of sewing with my Gramma.  Wish I had more ...

Now it's my turn to teach the young ones.

It was a productive afternoon!

1 comment:

The Idaho Beauty said...

This is the sweetest story. I'm so glad you thought through the process of what to cover and in what order, and in spite of her wishes, started her off with something that would most likely guarantee success, not frustration. And who can't use a cute little bag like this? She must be so excited to move to the next lesson!

It got me trying to remember who taught me to sew. I vividly remember my mother's sewing machine, permanently set up in a cabinet in this well-lit alcove off the livingroom. I vividly remember sitting on the floor watching her sew at it, and also hearing her insist she had no talent for it, although what came out of that machine would make one wonder why she thought that. I think it may have been because it didn't come as easily to her as it did to her sister, who could make a pattern from an existing garment and made all kinds of beautiful tailered things. I don't really remember either one of them sitting me down at the machine and walking me through the process. I DO remember deciding I wanted to make additional clothes for my Barbie doll (after being told the store-bought ones were too expensive) and going for it on the sewing machine. I did remarkably well, and quickly learned why tops for women needed darts!

Then when I was in grade school, mom ended up substituting for the home ec teacher and finishing out the year for her, and then taking her place. I'd get out of school before mom could leave so spent that extra 45 minutes or more in the home ec room with her. She'd let me do some sewing on the machines, and even bought patterns and material so she could show me some basics to make a few clothes for myself. By the time I got to 8th grade home ec, I knew everything that was being taught to the others, and finally convinced that teacher to let me have a more advanced skirt and blouse pattern.

I wish I had more specific memories of mom teaching me how to sew before those days in the home ec room - she must have given me some instruction on how to thread and run her machine at home - but I can't dredge them up. And there are no photos in my archives showing her working away at that machine, just the images still lingering in my memory.