Saturday, July 7, 2012

Getting Ready for Martha's

In a few weeks, I will be heading north to Huntsville, Alabama to work my very favorite venue, the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion. This school is something I have been doing twice a year for the past 20 years, and I don't know what I would do if I couldn't do it any longer. It's not that they don't want me to teach, because they most certainly do, but if no one signs up for my classes, they are forced to cancel. Well, unfortunately my school was cancelled due to low enrollment. This is only the second time my school has been cancelled and it feels terrible.

I have decided that next February, my school will have a completely different theme. Instead of the Wendy Schoen Baby School, my school will focus on finishing details and construction. I'm calling it "FUNdamentals with Wendy Schoen." I have been racking my brain for new ideas and I think I may have stumbled on the perfect solution. The dilema is people just really want to be able to sew for their children (grandchildren). Period. No earth shattering techniques, no over-the-moon embroidery stitches that take years to perfect, just plain old good sewing. Before you met me, I sewed for myself. I loved it. I perfected it. I want to do it again.

Many of you have been wondering, I'm sure, why I have been teaching children to sew. My motivation is to get people sewing, not only kids, but adults too. I was curious about what would happen if I tried my hand with virtural beginners and it made sense to begin with kids. I discovered it was something I really, really enjoy, in fact I believe I got more out of it than the kids. It's been so long since I have felt giddy with excitement over sewing and the feeling was intoxicating. I'm moving on to adults in the fall. We have young people, men and women, almost on a daily basis who walk in to my teaching studio to inquire about sewing lessons. This is something I want to do, and will definitely do.

At Martha's, we have had an influx of people wanting to learn to sew. Many have steered clear of my school because they felt the curriculum was beyond their capabilities. I truly want to entice a few of those ladies into my classroom. My intermediate sewists have signed up for my pre-day classes, which is great. I have respectable numbers enrolled for those classes, and now that they have opened up the enrollment for outsiders (non-school attendees), I know my numbers will increase. In fact, a few ladies from La Broderie Bayou have signed up for my pre-day class.

I have decided which classes I would like to teach for the 2013 school and I think they are great choices. I have included images below, but remember, they have not been approved yet so they might change slightly. I truly hope you are able to join me in February for at least one class. In a few days, you may read the descriptions on my site which will help in your decision making process. Enrollment isn't open yet, but it's never too early to start planning.

Have a terrific 4th of July weekend, and take a few moments to do a little sewing, won't you?

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Graduate

I'm trying to catch up on my posts, which is why this one is so late in coming. Our son, Evan graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette last month and we couldn't be more proud of him. Earning a degree in Visual Arts, specifically web design and graphics, Evan was scouted by three separate companies before school ended. He decided on the Jones Group of Lafayette, LA where he serves as head of the web department. After commencement, we celebrated with our entire family and friends with a buffet dinner at our home in New Orleans. I'm beaming.
Evan's first congratulations after commencement.

Red velvet cake with chocolate dipped strawberries and raspberries on top.

Billy, Evan and me.

Evan and Andrea.

Dubutante Hoedown

Last weekend Evan and Andrea join Billy and me at a coming out party for the daughter of our best friends, Rhonda and Chris Simmons. This delightful and beautiful young girl is being presented this year and we couldn't be more proud of her. The Western theme party was one of the best we have ever attended. Congratulations, Maddie.
Evan and Andrea "chillin'"

Self portrait of Wendy and Maddie

Cowboy Billy and Wendy. Heehaw!!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wendy's Girls

For the past 2 weeks, I have been doing something I never thought I would ever do. I hosted a sewing camp for girls ages 10 and 11. If you have ever been in my class, you'll know I hardly ever teach beginning sewists, as most of my classes are geared to intermediate/advanced embroiderers. And even though I was let's say, a bit hesitant to try, I admit this experience has been the most rewarding of my career.

The first week, I planned to accept only four students in the age group of 9 to 13. I had three girls sign up and luckily, they were all the same age. These fifth-graders had never turned on a sewing machine before, and had never touched an iron in their lives. Before class even started, I was mentally preparing for a challenging week. Class was slated to run 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and I wasn't the least bit sure how the planned projects would be received, nor if the curriculum was possible during the allotted time. If nothing else, this would be a very interesting experience.

With Jane Briscoe at my side, I began explaining how sewing machines worked and how to thread a bobbin and adjust the settings. Okay, so that went well, I had to admit. Two of the girls rented machines from me and started class in the morning. The third girl was arriving after lunch, as she would be getting new braces first thing in the morning. I was worried about whether she would be feeling well enough to participate in the lesson, but I put it in the back of my mind while I concentrated on the two other girls.

We started on a cute and simple little cloth tissue holder consisting of one piece of fabric and three seams. I decided to prepare the fabrics and cut them to size so we could begin immediately. I gave each student a scrap of fabric so they could practice sewing straight. Everything was going nicely. The little tissue holders turned out cute and the students were feeling confident so we decided to stop for lunch and wait for our third attendee to arrive. We spent the rest of the afternoon and most of the next day making cute tote bags, then we decided to make little purse pincushions. Things got a bit hectic the next day without Jane's help, but I managed to keep control of the situation and continued to have fun with the girls. Having both projects turned out darling, I was beginning to feel my sewing school was turning into a great success.

Wednesday, we began working on pillowcase dresses for each girl. I measured them and adjusted the patterns accordingly. We worked on the dresses two days and each girl completed them and wore them home. Even the moms were getting excited now. Friday was spent working on cute Hello Kitty pillows made of terrycloth and satin. The girls learned basic applique techniques while reminising about a wonderful week of sewing.

The following week, two of the students decided to return for another session and were joined by a third girl. I started them working on sewing machine pads with organization pockets in their choice of fabrics. Each one was completely different and suited their personalities perfectly. The next day we worked on a Crazy Patch square and embellished it with machine stitches. Then, we turned the square into an ipad cover. Each girl made a tunic of cute printed fabric and contrasting microcheck flounce. They turned out darling. The last day, we decided to make a lap quilt with puffy appliqued softballs, in homage to their team sport.

If you think your daughter or granddaughter would be interested in joining me for our next session, please don't hesitate to contact us. As of now, we have four spots available in July. I promise, you won't regret the experience.