Home Economics: You Can Sew!
When I wanted my daughters to learn to sew, I didn’t trust my own knowledge of how to do it right and arranged for them to have private lessons. It was great! But expensive. This one-semester course would have been much better, I think. All you need to go from complete beginner to knowing you have the ability to tackle any basic pattern is right here. Well-done video instruction (the presenter has a pleasant voice and manners) allows you to repeat any part if you didn’t quite get it or need to review later. A complete course manual parallels all video class material as well as provides additional content (like a fabric chart) and illustrations. Patterns for both adult sizes as well as child (pre-teen) sizes of a classic A-line dress (or nightgown) are provided for the final project. [Patterns are PDF files for you to print. Patterns will need to be taped together (adult sizes will have lots of taping) but the patterns are very sturdy and can be used repeatedly without the frustration of ripped tissue.] Like I said, it’s all here. And it’s non-consumable – you can use it for multiple children at one time – or sequentially.
The 65 video lessons (5-6 per week) are 5-10 minutes each and include sewing machine fundamentals (i.e. threading properly, getting the correct thread tension, choosing the right stitch), different fabric types and “personalities”, coordinating colors, how to read a standard pattern, how to measure your body correctly, and how to sew using a straight stitch and a zigzag stitch. Assignments are given via the video and the student is expected to do additional reading in the manual. With many lessons the student is encouraged to make journal entries as well as a sample to put in a binder thus creating a class record – and providing the basis for assessment (if you wish). Although instruction is simple and very understandable, it’s also quite comprehensive and everything you would expect from a beginner’s course including linings/interfacing, casings/hems, gathering, sleeves, buttonholes, buttons, and zippers. It all comes together in the final project that could be a matching mother/daughter dress if you preferred. Several field trips (such as to a local fabric store) are encouraged.
The binder/manual has sleeves for the DVDs, an extensive class syllabus that gives the topic, skill, classwork, and homework or follow-up for each class as well as a materials list. Periodic skills assessments involve sewing projects – pin cushion, simple apron, and simple skirt. All of this leads up to the final project – a classic A-line dress (or nightgown, if you prefer). Machine sewing skills are emphasized so a well-running basic sewing machine is necessary. Five DVDs provide the lessons and a sixth CD-ROM provides the pdf pattern files (patterns include child sizes plus adult sizes). The 189-page binder manual includes a thorough glossary of sewing terms as well as the detailed information that parallels the videos. ~ Janice