This is part of a series of instructions on how to teach your children to sew in the form of a camp. This series can also be used to teach yourself to sew. Click on the button below for the entire series.
Day One: Straight Seams
Today I will go over some of the lessons for your first day of your Summer Sewing Camp. Each camp day has one major theme but there are many lessons to cover.
Have everyone set down their fabrics and sewing machines. Everyone should set their sewing machines around the table. Have the powerstrips OFF. See that they have brought the right fabrics in the proper amounts. I always have extra from my stash in case someone forgot or bought the wrong amount. This is a good time for everyone to share the fabrics they have chosen. Before you can ever be happy with a project you make, you have to be happy with the fabric you chose. Be sure they know which fabrics are for which projects.
Children today do not know how to iron and many do not even know what an iron is. I had one student say, "My mom has one of those in the closet." So don't assume they know the first thing about an iron. Safety is very important.
Demonstrate how to turn the iron on. Some have an automatic shut-off after a period of time. Show how to reactivate. Discuss which parts of the iron get hot and which parts are safe to touch. Only the plate gets hot and the handle and the plastic parts are safe to touch. Set the iron to the "Cotton" setting with steam. Demonstrate where the water goes into the iron. When not ironing, the iron must be in a standing position. But DO NOT have it facing out (as shown) where it can burn someone.
Place the piece of fabric to be ironed on the ironing board. Place as far to the back edge as possible and still be on the board. Try to stay on the straight part of the board, not the pointed end. Have excess fabric hanging off on the side closest to you. Pick up the iron from its standing position and place on the fabric. Start from the right side and let the point of the iron guide the way to the left side of the fabric. Let the weight of the iron do the work; you don't have to press too hard. Continue back and forth in a right to left motion, at the same time be working back to front, until the entire surface is flat and smooth. Do not have hands too close as the steam can also burn.
Before you know it they are ironing all their projects with ease.
Sewing Machine Parts, Posture and Threading Lesson
Now its time to unravel all the machine stuff they brought. Put the foot pedal on the floor and plug this cord into the machine. This should be on the right side of the machine. With the powerstrip still OFF, plug the power cord into the machine and the powerstrip. Sometimes these two cords are connected and plugs into the machine at one place and splits to the power cord and the foot pedal. The Janome Sew Mini above has two separate cords.
Once all the machines are plugged in, go over posture. You should be able to sit with ease on a chair and feet flat on the floor with arms on the table. If they are too short and legs are dangling, you may put a shoe box under the foot pedal. Position the foot pedal so that is comfortably in front of your right foot.
Go over all the parts of the sewing machine. This works well if they can follow their manual that comes with their machine. Emphasize the part names as you thread the bobbin and machine. Begin with winding a bobbin. When everyone is seated properly, you can turn ON the powerstrip. It is very important that they understand that this is a piece of machinery and can be DANGEROUS. No one should be standing near you and be able to accidentally step on your foot pedal. Each person needs to have sole control over their own machine. Never teach a child to sew on your lap.
After you load the bobbin, thread the machine. Turn the powerstrip OFF so that everyone can thread the needle of their machine. Putting your fingers that close to the needle of a sewing machine can be dangerous for even the most experienced sewers.
Some machines can turn off with turning off the power switch of the machine. On older machines, the only on/off switch is the light switch. So turning off the powerstrip is the safest way to be sure the power is off.
For extra help in threading the bobbin and machine, press on the button below.
The Craftsy class Sewing Machine 911 is perfect for going over the sewing machine and all its parts. This course reviews bobbins, needles, the presser foot, thread and fabric. It goes over different types of machines including the drop-in bobbin, the front-loading bobbin, and vintage machines. It reviews manual and computerized machines. Finally it teaches how to wind a bobbin and thread the machine. The most important part is the troubleshooting section at the end. Once you log into your Craftsy class, it is there and available to access anytime.
The free Craftsy Sewing Machine 911 class also includes many printable resources, including a Metric Conversion Guide, Online Resources, Needles Bobbins and Presser Feet, and a multi-page Sewing Machine Troubleshooting Chart. You can keep these handy during your camp.
Preparing to Sew Your First Stitch Lesson will be next in this series.
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