Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hosting a sew-in.

Yes, I'm still alive. As much as I love blogging, sometimes life gets busy. And it really doesn't kill anyone to stay away from the computer for a few days, you know?

So, I had planned to host a sew-in for a few friends. Actually, that sounds like I planned and planned for this and selected guests and had an agenda. It was nothing like that.

I had two friends who needed help on sewing projects, and I told them to come on the same day, at the same time! (That's about as formal as it gets around here) I told them to bring food and thread. One can never have too much food and thread.. except for seam rippers and cutting shears. Next time I am going to ask for those also.

(The pictures in this post are NOT what we worked on, since everyone was making gifts, so I can't put photos up. But they are things we have made, and what's a sewing post without pictures??!!)

So, we, as a chapel, have tried to host craft days in various forms. At the end of the day, we are significantly FRIED and wondering why we ever thought we could do this.
So, if you do not mind, I'll propose some guidelines for hosting a sewing event. Since, I feel like yesterday went smoothly, despite our many past sewing days that have taken me years to recover from.
Well, maybe not YEARS! But I do have some ideas that will keep things moving and the hostess from getting overwhelmed.
1. BE the teacher/ not the student: Do not plan on working on anything yourself, or you'll just be disappointed and frustrated. This is an opportunity to serve.

2. SELECT a project that everyone can work on, rather than several different projects going at the same time. I tried this once with FOUR different things going on at once. Feels too much like homeschooling (LOL). Prepare for a migraine if you do it that way.

3. GROUP like ability sewers together. Yesterday, I asked Shannen (a teenager) and Valerie (a stay at home mom) to come at the same time because I knew they were BOTH at an intermediate level of sewing. Although, Val and I both agree that the kids pick up things much quicker than the adults do! Joanna was teaching Casey, Valerie's daughter, upstairs in the kitchen. So, we separated the projects by rooms.

We have tried combining people who are hardly threading the machine with people who are fairly advanced and a couple things happen.

People who less experienced in making things do not realize that attaining a sewing skill level is something that takes time and patience. So, they aren't very patient with themselves when they are first learning. They tend to compare themselves among themselves, which is not wise. They do not understand that the entirety of their self esteem does not rest on the outcome of THIS project. Depending on their emotional stability, life could quickly spiral down into an emotional heap very quickly.

Part of the reason we learn sewing/ craft skills is to build character. We learn: dependence, patience, endurance, perseverance, and humility. We learn to identify with God in his creative abilities, appreciating Him more in the process. In other words, it has the potential to bring out the worst in people.

So many beginning crafters are interested in the "product" rather than the "process". If you end up making something and don't really like it (and there's no way to fix it), there was still the benefit of learning new skills and Christ-likeness.

The more advanced sewers will often get frustrated or end up abandoning their projects altogether in order to help the beginners. There's nothing wrong with this level of sacrifice, but I think we ought to provide challenging projects for those who actually do like to sew!

4. SIT and have a cup of coffee and relax when the "students" don't need you. I try to avoid sewing it for them, unless they are really frustrated. I think a lot of teachers just want to do the projects for the students. Let them be crooked or unmatched, and let them decide if they want to redo it. Developing a sewing "eye" takes time also. If we make too many corrections, it will take the enjoyment out of it. Encourage them to take breaks and eat or drink something. They will forget to do this, if they are really focusing!

5. HAVE fun! Eat some good food. Tell some good stories. Laugh. If you want to plan a devotional for the group, have the formal part be first. People get very tired from sewing all day, so their concentration skills will quickly dwindle by the end!

In all things, give God the Glory!

Hope your sewing day with your friends goes well!


Jenny P. said...

These ideas are excellent. This summer I had a few friends over who wanted to make skirts and I made the mistake of trying to work on a project, too. The biggest problem was my project was way more complicated and we only had one machine we were trying to share. I finally gave up, brewed a pot of tea, and was able to relax, enjoy my friends, and help as needed. I wish I'd had your advice before starting!

Mrs. Parunak said...

Great ideas!

I loved your paragraph about all the character qualities we can develop while learning crafts. So true! And a good perspective for all the times things don't go according to plan (which for me, is usually).

Fun story about the guy who opened the door for you! Thanks for passing it on. :)

DarcyLee said...

Thanks for sharing this. My oldest daughter, who has been married and away from home for the last 4 years, is wanting to really learn how to sew-finally! She did some simple sewing as a teenager but not much. So, now I'm going to get her over here in the next few months and see if we can get some projects sewn up. The tips you gave about teaching others how to sew will really be a big help as I try to help her.

Organizing Mommy said...

Jenny: I've managed to "collect" a few extra sewing machines at garage sales and such. It really helps. As long as they can hold a straight stitch, they are good enough. I tend to look for high end machines for a good price.

Mrs. P and Darcy Lee: Yes, it's hard to remember how frustrating it can be. The mother-daughter thing can be hard, so I'll be praying for you! My daughter learned sewing from a sewing teacher. She's really good because of it. I tend to "wing it" too much, and I didn't want her to start off that way!

singtothelord2 said...

Thank you Gina for your hospitality...I am examining the slippers and getting ready for a fix it session. I got a new sewing machine for Christmas..so next time Casey and I will have our own...and you forgot to mention the most important part...that everyone bring their own scissors... hee hee... Thank you again, it was much fun and I look forward to just a mom sewing day.

Organizing Mommy said...

Glad you had fun, Val! It was a good time, and yeah, we should have everyone bring scissors!