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.


  1. What a fabulous time you had with these girls! Your projects were fabulous! I really love your purse pin cushions!

  2. Looks like the girls had a great time, and learned a lot. That's a great age to teach! Love your projects, and that they had so many completed items to take home.

  3. You rock Wendy - You look like you were having as much fun as the girls did. May have many more such endeavors :))

  4. Looks like EVERYONE had lots of fun, wish I lived closer so my grand daughter could go.
    Carol Z