Monday, October 29, 2012

Beginner Tote Bag Class

A few weeks ago, I hosted my first adult beginning sewing lesson. I chose a cute tote bag made of pretty black toile and hot pink pique fabrics as the project. My students, whom I had never met before, were determined to start sewing and needed a bit of assurance and instruction to get started. The class was broken into two sessions, each lasting three hours. Working from 9 am to 12 noon over two days, allowed a bit of relief inbetween to avoid possible "gotta finish or else" jitters. It worked out so well that I've decided to reschedule the same class again. Hopefully, I'll get more students next time.

The completed tote bag.

Cristaine works diligently on her totebag. (See Cris' second project, Witch's Trick-or-Treat Bag in the previous post.)

The beginner students displays confidence while working on her totebag.

When Jamie completes her hand sewing on the lining, her bag will be completed.

Witch's Trick-or-Treat Bag

Most of you are aware that I'm best known for my fluffy white linen dresses with hand embroidery. Lately I've been going back to my roots and taking on sewing projects that I normally don't do. Frankly, it's a lot more fun doing what you want rather than need to do. This is a class I taught last week in Wendy's Sewing Studio. The project was the student's choice and idea and I provided the pattern and instructions for the lesson. This is a gift she made for her daughter, who is enjoying her first Halloween in the States. What fun!
The completed Witch's Bag. This bag is constructed of crepe back satin in black and purple for the basket. Channels are sewn and stuffed with fiberfil. A large piping cord keeps the rim and handle stable. The legs are constructed of striped quilting fabric and the shoes are appliqued on, using the same fabric but inverted so the dull side shows outward. Pompoms decorate the shoes. Although you can't see the sparkles, the netting is glittery and perfect for Halloween.

The legs are sewn with tiny zigzag stitches to prevent tears in the seams. They are stitched into the bottom section of the bag, which will eventually be hand stitched onto the outside of the basket.

A bias loop is attached to the gathered rim of the basket.

The lining of the basket is shown above. Purple was chosen, rather than black to enable tracing lines to be visible.

The leg pattern shown with the skirt already gathered and ready to be sewn onto the bag.

Sewing Room Class is Huge Success

I have been so busy lately that I have not had a chance to check in with you all. Last week, I just returned home from Birmingham, Alabama where I taught a lovely group of ladies at the loveliest shop, the Sewing Room. My hosts Patsy and Billy Smith graciously invited me to teach not one, but two groups. The project they chose was from 1996, one of my very first class projects. Needless to say, the handout needed serious updating, which started me on a quest to revise ALL of my handouts and class project instructions. This is a serious undertaking, to say the least, but now that my schedule is not as frantic, (no Martha Pullen School) the timing is perfect. I also have been working on updating the graphics on my site, but that has been a lesson in patience and preservation. Of course, Jane is doing a ton of the work leaving me to the photos and photo banners.

Just because I'm not included on the schedule at the School of Art Fashion in Huntsville, doesn't mean I'm going away. Quite the contrary, as I now have the time to truly think again and I'm coming up with a ton of new ideas to share with you. For the time being, they will have to remain a mystery, but you will be the first to know when I'm ready to spill the beans.
Here I am with Patsy Smith, owner of the Sewing Room in Birmingham, Alabama.

Here are a bunch of students looking very intently at their tracings.

The Boudoir Bow Pillow class project. If you would like a kit or pattern of this project, please let us know at

Group 2 busy at work tracing their designs.