Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday Stitchers - Passing it On

Guess what I'm doing this morning? This:
'Saturday Stitchers': Starting this morning I'm going to be meeting with a group of 10 young women, teaching them to sew. My middle daughter, Leslie recently asked me if I would be willing to teach some of her friends the basics of sewing while I still live here. When I agreed, she sent out this evite, and within a week or so 9 women signed up to join us. For this last six months of living here, rather than do a traditional Bible study I'm taking on this ministry to younger women in our church. I personally think it's right in line with the Titus 2 mandate for older women to teach the younger ones... Can't you just picture it, those Titus women sitting around with buttons and needles and thread, showing the women how to start with a secure knot, then take tiny stitches in and out.

I started sewing when I was 7 years old, making a skirt for my beloved Barbie doll. Using the Childcraft 'Make and Do' book, I cut out a circle, with a slit up one side, a circle cut out of the middle, then running a threaded needle in and out of the fabric to gather the waist. After I'd done a bit of that my Mom let me use her black Singer, when my feet likely barely reached the pedal. Likely I messed up the tension, needed some help with threading it, etc. so thank you, Mom, for being patient with me 45 years ago. I'm sew, sew excited to pass this art on to another generation of women!

We're starting this Saturday, with a meet and greet at a local coffee shop then heading to the fabric store. Apparently when you don't sew, a fabric store can be intimidating and a bit mysterious. So we're spending an hour at Joann Fabric, looking around. I'm also planning to show them the three projects we have lined up, and talk over what all is planned in our six sessions together.

For five Saturday mornings between now and Christmas we're going to be meeting together, learning how to run a sewing machine, sew straight lines, thread a needle (some have never done so!), sew on a button (ditto!), identify sewing tools, learn about different types of fabric, and have fun. We're going to be using a book by Amanda Blake Soule called Handmade Home.

Her byline is "simple ways to repurpose old materials into new family treasures". Along that line I've been to the local Goodwill and several garage sales and found yards of fabric and 100% wool blazers and sweaters just waiting to be felted.

We're going to start with making the "Family Art Table Runner" on page 35 of the book, for their Thanksgiving tables. I found some great old linens and a fabric shower curtain that will work well for this.

Next we're making 'Family Sweater Hats', from felted wool (the wool blazers), on page 137. I think they'll make great Christmas gifts and once the girls see how much fun it is to felt wool they should be off to the races, making all sorts of fun gifts. I'm envisioning purses, a tea cozy, tree ornaments - the possibilities are endless.

Last we're making a 'Mama Bag' (seamstresses will provide the fabric for this project) for them to keep or give away (page 121 of the book.)

Hopefully this non-traditional approach to teaching sewing will instill enough interest in some of them that they'll take that 'I can do it' attitude and run with it. Maybe, just maybe I'll be able to find some time in January for anyone who wants to learn the traditional method of purchasing a pattern, choosing fabric, and sewing it up into pajama pants. After doing this with my oldest daughter, Sarah (we made a nightgown for her daughter) she was able to sew just about anything she wanted, and has been sewing for her home and family ever since!

It's super encouraging to me that so many young moms showed interest in what I feared would become a lost art. Good for Amanda Blake Soule for taking a fresh, inexpensive, earth-friendly approach to sewing, and to my daughter, Leslie for putting together a group of her friends, so we can continue to pass this great art on to another generation. I'll take photos as we go to share the fun I know we're going to have.

Along the same line, what skill do you have that you might share? Is it sewing, or cooking, or baking, or knitting, or crocheting, or decorating or or or ? It's such a great way to learn anything, by the side of someone who already knows how. Just a thought...


Robin said...

Oh Bev - you mentioned once that I might be your clone. I think you are right!!! I had that same Chilcraft book -(I loved that set and poured over them ALL THE TIME) and I made that very Barbie skirt! And I also have Amanda Soule's book and I am making the mama bags for all my daughters for Christmas.
Also, this spring at church we have an 8 week period between Bible studies and I am putting together a program called "Rediscovering the Lost Arts" and I will be teaching basic sewing, knitting, crocheting, cooking, couponing...etc. - something different each week!
I love what you are doing with these young ladies and I can't wait to hear more about it!

Dana said...

What a great idea!! I would love it if someone would start a group like this where I live (south Georgia). I can sew a straight line but that's about it. I can crotchet using about three stitches. I'm learning. ;)

Kelly said...

What fun! I'm eager to hear about your groups progress:-) What a great way to have some guaranteed time with your daughter these next few weeks, too!

(I bought sveral wool sweaters at goodwill a couple of weeks ago for felting with my girls, but so far haven't tackled it. I may try to find that book at the library! Sounds great!)

Becky said...

I absolutely love this Bev! I am so excited for you and for that group of young women. Most women today have no idea at all how to sew. I sat next to one of my MOPS gals on Thursday who could not believe that I can hem my own pants. She "pays big money" to have someone do that for her.

This is a wonderful ministry and right in line with what we should be doing for our younger counterparts.

I think the best 2 skills I ever learned were sewing and typing. I am also a great cook and I have a flair for making a house a home. Lots of women don't have this as they were not brought up with it as children.

I too started sewing on mom's old Kenomore when I was 7 years old. Barbie was the recipient of my first attempts also. It was the era!!

pendy said...

What a wonderful ministry; I look forward to following along. My mother has always been an amazing seamstress and could sew anything with or without a pattern. I can do some basics but it's shocking that so many women can do nothing with a sewing machine.

Also, I had a Make and Do book and was obsessed with it as a child!

SentimentsbyDenise said...

Oh, Bev - this is going to be incredibly fun for all involved! What a great way to share your talent and skills in the form of a ministry that these young women will definitely enjoy!
Can't wait to see the updates as you go along!

Gretchen said...

Are your plans really pinned down for TX, Bev? For I really think that Seattle might be more your style. How I would lurve to sew and learn with you. I do quilts, but even doing aprons and simple things like pj bottoms freak me out. Maybe I'll just have to invite myself over for a weekend and tap your thinker dry. The Titus Scripture fits perfectly here. Love.

Linda said...

What a great idea Bev! I wish I could join you.
I think you are doing just what we "Titus women" are meant to do.

Sarah said...

Mom, I'm laughing at Gretchen--she tried to bribe me into moving to WA today, too! I'm tempted :)

If you're feeling nostalgic, we have that very same edition of the Childcraft Make and Do. Caiden loves the set and thinks it's very cool that Grammy read the same books when she was little!

I'm looking forward to seeing your group's progress, and I'm excited that Les is joining our own sewing circle :)

Val said...

Sounds like fun! I recently started teaching some of our youth group girls to crochet. One of them is having real tension issues (she pulls the yarn tight!) but most of the others are picking it up pretty quickly. It's so much fun to talk to their moms and hear that they pick it up whenever they have a few extra minutes at home!
Good luck with your group!

The Vinson Five said...

I think that is so great! I taught myself to sew with the help of an aunt who lives almost 500 miles away (thank goodness for free cell to cell). I would have loved to have had a class like this.