Archive for the 'Our Class Philosophy' Category
Thursday, February 19th, 2009
All the rage here at Laura’s Sewing School, we are having such fun and interest in making Amy Butler’s gumdrop pillows that I have scheduled a one day workshop for us to go wild and make them together. I will order the stuffing and patterns and you will purchase the fabric of your choice. You can see the details (dimensions, materials list) about the pattern on Amy Butler’s website.
These cushions are made of drapery weight fabric. You can find that weight of fabric here in Arlington, at Fabric Corner, at Freddy Farkel’s in Watertown (also known as Fabric Showplace) and online. Fabric Corner just ordered a large selection of Amy Butler home dec fabrics and they have received 12 of them! They will go fast, especially because they will be posting them for online sale, too. So, you may want to get there as soon as you can to pick up the fabric. If the weight is fine, it can be any brand of fabric. You just don’t want a fabric which is too loosely woven, or unravels easily. Fabric.com has a nice selection of Amy Butler printed twills if you want to use her fabric designs. There are 8 panels, all the same, which are sewn together like sections of an orange. They are packed with a LOT of stuffing. I found hand sewing the first one, Amy Lou actually did that work since it was her project, rather tedious. So, when I made MY first one, I used an invisible zipper to close the pillow once it was stuff. Much easier and quicker.
Kids absolutely love this pillow. They have found it as a great place to sit and bounce and roll on or off. Adults do find it useful as a footrest. You can make them with one fabric or two. If you cut it from one fabric, you fussy cut it, making sure that it is cut in the very same place on the fabric, for all the pieces. This makes interesting, kaleidoscopic patterns, especially if the fabric has symmetry. You can see this on both of Amy’s pillows. Even though I used 2 fabrics in the pillows for my nieces, I did cut all of the large-scale, patterned fabric in the same place. There is an octagonal patch on the top of the cushion. I fussy cut that, centering it on a flower or pattern.
I propose that the workshop be on Sunday, March 15th. From 10am-4pm. That should give us plenty of time to work and eat and stuff and finish one gumdrop cushion. The next one, you will be able to do on your own and much faster. I will provide the stuffing and the pattern. You provide the fabric, thread (good quality polyester like Gutermann or Mettler) and an invisible zipper in a matching color. The only part of the zipper to show will be the tab. Buy a 12-14″ zipper or longer. It will work for either size pillow. And, if you have to buy a longer zipper to get a color match, it is very easy to shorten. Better too long than too short! The Fabric Corner sells invisible zippers and the presser foot to apply it to your project. I just talked to them about ordering enough for all of you. The presser foot is adaptable to most sewing machines and can be used over and over again. It is reasonably priced and worth buying.
I will have to price out the patterns and stuffing. So, I will have to get back to you on the price for the class. I think that we can have 5, possibly 6 students for the day. Let me know if you want to take the class and I will let you know the price. If the 22nd of March is better than the 15th, let me know. I am flexible about the date. If you are available during the day, M-F, I could possibly meet with you for a workshop on a Thursday. I am excited about this project.
Sunday, January 27th, 2008
Got Tape anyone?
I am very interested in custom-made dress forms of late. Most of my adult life, I would buy a pattern, add 5 inches to the pants length and 2 inches to the sleeves, and the clothing would fit fine. I have steadily been gaining weight over the last decade and can no longer do that. Who wants to make clothes that don’t fit? It’s a lot of work wasted if you do not take the time to do the fitting. But, to do this well, you need a good sewing friend to help you, or a dress form that fits your body.
So, I have been researching custom forms and experimenting with forms made of duct tape or paper packaging tape.
These are pictures of my daughter and her custom-made form of duct tape. I am hoping to schedule a class to share my findings with you, so that you can make a form that fits your body, too. The first date I am considering is coming up fast – Sunday, February 9, 2008 from 10am-4pm. (NOTE THE CHANGE OF DATE!)
I have spoken to my current students, and many of you would like to do this. So, I say, “Why wait?” I am thinking that we should limit the class to 10 students, working in pairs, or even better, trios. If there are more students than I can accommodate that day, I will set another date soon. I will post a small list of what you need to bring, shortly. By clicking on the links in the paragraph above the picture, you can get a preview of what we will be doing. In fact, if you do plan on taking the class, I encourage you to read up as much as you can so that you will be familiar with the process.
Threads Magazine has had articles over the years about dress forms. Click here to view the a summary of the 4 different ways they recommend to making your own forms. Their article also includes links to various websites which have more detailed instructions and pdf downloads.
The cost for the day is $90. We will have refreshments and lunch available. Duct tape is included. Plus most of the other materials needed. That way, you can eat when you are not being fit.
If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
So, after all of this, here is what you need to bring with you when you come to the workshop:
- Long T-shirt or close-fitting turtleneck, this will become part of the dress form, so it has to be one that you are willing to sacrifice to the cause! If the shirt doesn’t go past the hipline, we can extend it
- Leggings or tights to wear while being taped
- Undergarments like you wear under most of your clothes, so that the form will be shaped (conformed, constricted, or left to hang) like your body is on a daily basis.
- Breath mints, just kidding!
If you have been to the shop, or see the pictures on the site, you know that there are large windows across the front and on the door. All shades and curtains will be pulled closed and the door will be locked so that we won’t have any surprise visitors while we are holding this workshop. If at any time you feel uncomfortable, we will stop and cut the form off immediately.
I will walk everyone through the process and demonstrate the taping techniques. We may need to do some prep of your shirt, etc. and we will do that, too. I will supervise every form made so that you will be happy with the one you take home with you. No swapping!
I think that teams of 3 work really well. One person being taped by 2 others. One in front and one in back. I think it will go better that way and faster.
There are ways to make stands and fill the forms. I will present them to you and you can decide what you want to do. You will need to buy fiberfill, (polyester fill for pillows and stuffed animals) to fill and support your form. I have seen various options, included packing peanuts. I have seen it recommended that the bust be filled with raglan shoulder pads. Let’s see how it goes and I will answer any questions you have about finishing them. If need be, we may have a short follow-up class.
The final thing is that I can teach you how to use your form through the classes you take for sewing. If your body does change, you will know how to make the form. With help from a good friend, you can remake the form in short order and very little monetary outlay.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday, March 16th!
Saturday, December 29th, 2007
In Massachusetts, the public schools have 3rd graders study Colonial times. Many schools have Colonial Days in which the students come to school for the day dressed in costumes like children would wear during that time in history.
I have a special interest in this since my daughter is in 3rd grade this year. She has an American Girl Doll “from” Colonial Williamsburg. Elizabeth is her name. The February vacation (2006) after she received the doll, we visited Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. I have a friend, Amy, who coaches the Fifes and Drums corps there and often plays music on flute and piano for events in Williamsburg historic area. The visitor center allows parents to rent costumes for the children to wear. They are simple white dresses and mop caps for girls. I have to admit that I cannot remember what they had for boys, other than 3 cornered hats. It was fun for my daughter to walk around wearing the dress and cap, carrying her doll, who was in her own costume, too.
I remember when Amy started working there over 10 years ago. She talked to me about how she had to make her own dress. It had to be out of certain materials and sewn all by hand!
Well, I am not so interested in being that authentic. Meaning, I plan to use a sewing machine for most of the construction. Luckily, McCall’s Pilgrim or McCall’s Fancier Colonial and Simplicity have issued patterns for different eras in American history. Unfortunately, these patterns are only available for girls. They offer no patterns of this era for boys. The following do have patterns for both. There is a company in Colorado, Patterns of Time, which offers many historic patterns. Sewing Central offers patterns and material. You may find Kannik’s Korner on the previous 2 sites, but they do offer a few patterns for girls and boys. Harper House offers many patterns from various eras. Their link takes you to the page for Children’s Colonial clothing. All of these linked names will take you as close as I can get you to pages for patterns for Children. You may find it fun to explore the sites. I have never used the patterns of these independent companies. They may be best suited to an experienced sewer.
The patterns vary in difficulty. Last year, I made costumes for my neighbor and her daughter. They were very simple, and we can use the patterns I drafted, too.
I have purchased the McCall’s and Simplicity patterns so that I can make samples for you to see. I may end up making the more elaborate dress while we are working on your projects. I will hang it near the front window so you you can observe the progress of the outfit. As soon as I finish the first dress, I will post it online here. I will find a pattern for a boy’s outfit, too. They can be easier to manufacture from their current wardrobe by altering pants and dressing with the right accessories.
I have been trying to find a time in my class schedule that would work for us to meet as a group on this topic of sewing. I would like to propose Wednesday evenings. Or, it may be possible to do a Thursday 11am-2pm time slot. If those times do not work for you, join any class. My classes allow you to work on what you want at your own pace, so it would be fine to come at a class time that is convenient. Though, I think that working together on these outfits together can be helpful, inspiring and a lot of fun.
Saturday, December 29th, 2007
A new sewing machine can be both an exciting and scary prospect. It is very easy to be discouraged when you try to figure out how to use it on your own. There are a few simple things you can do to make sure that you have success when using your machine. But, the manuals aren’t always clear on what to do.
Here at Laura’s Sewing School, we LOVE to teach beginners. We love all of our students, but we are happy to open the fun world of sewing to new enthusiasts. I have yet to meet a machine I couldn’t figure out. And, I will be able to demystify its workings for you. We can make some fun projects right from the beginning.
There are still spaces left in the classes starting in January 2008. So, give us a call or send an email. We are happy to answer any of your questions and if you want, sign you up for a class.
Friday, November 2nd, 2007
A long title, I know. But, this happens often. You decide that you want to take a sewing class, find my website, but the classes just started, or they start tomorrow and you cannot free up your schedule until next week. If we have the space in the class you want, we can take late registrations and charge you a pro-rated fee. So, don’t be afraid to contact us when this happens. If you are a beginner, or any other level, you won’t have missed anything, because everyone works on their own projects, at their own pace.
Friday, January 26th, 2007
Classes started Saturday, January 6th. It reached 72 degrees that day! It was a lot of fun teaching in the new space. The sun was shining and we had the door open. People stopped by to check us out. Fresh flowers, home-baked banana bread, and some sewing, (oops), made it a great day!
Sunday, December 17th, 2006
I am pleased to announce that we will be offering a class on pattern fitting starting in January. It will be meeting Tuesday mornings from 9:30am-12:30pm. The teacher is Vicki Massaro. She has a certificate from the School of Fashion Design in Boston, MA. Vicki has done many bridal gowns and bridesmaids dresses. She always has a solution to fitting and construction problems.
Vicki has worked on contract for Wirkkala Designs for many years. She has been a great sounding board for me. She embodies the teaching philosophy I have. She is flexible and encouraging and positive. Don’t miss this chance to get some great insight on how to make your patterns fit you beautifully!
Begins January 9, 2007. Cost is $210 for 6 weekly, 3 hour classes. You must be an experienced seamstress to take this class. Working with a commercial pattern, of your choice, you will be making a “muslin” of it to learn how to adjust to your body and transfer those markings and knowledge to your pattern. Feel free to contact us for more details.
Thursday, December 7th, 2006
Today has been a big day for the website. It is now posted! It includes a list of new classes starting in January. These are for all ages. Two classes a week will be dedicated to kid’s sewing. If they cannot make it during the posted after-school times, they are welcome to sign up for any of the other class sessions listed.
There is a map link to our new location. Click on the address lines in the left column or the “view map” line. It will take you to Google maps. I think this is a very clear map and google maps has great features.
Soon, you will be able to register and pay for classes online. I can accept registrations through my Wirkkala Designs web site. The link is near the bottom of the links in the right column of this page. And, you are still welcome to pay by check or call and register over the phone. We accept MC, Visa, AMEX and Discover.