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Summer Sewing

Summer Sewing

Few summer pastimes are as sacred as baseball. At the top of the summer pastimes are water sports, such as swimming, fishing, boating; then hiking, berrying–all the summer pastimes are remembered fondly.  Other popular summer pastimes are soccer, biking, and hiking on the numerous back-country trails.





But my favorite summer pastime was sewing because I first learned to sew the summer I was 10 and can remember the navy linen drawstring dress that was one of the first things I made.  It was also a wonderful way to beat the noonday heat and humidity in air conditioned comfort.

Now that school is out for the summer, this is a great time to teach sewing to kids and teens.  Most parents are looking for productive, inexpensive and safe activities for their children.  What better way for your kids and teens to spend some of their summertime than sewing their own summer clothes and preparing their wardrobe for fall?

Project Runway has directly influenced the home sewing industry-increasing the sales of patterns, fabrics and sewing machines substantially. Sewing can make you rich and famous, if you’re talented enough — just look at designers Vera Wang, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors.

Sewing is an important skill for both boys and girls to learn and sewing classes will teach them basic sewing techniques they will use throughout their life and inspire their creativity to try move challenging sewing projects.Over the next few weeks your child has a wonderful opportunity to expand their knowledge to learn new skills as they make projects beneficial to them, their family and home.

There are lots of resources for helping your kids learn to sew, there are even classes you can take together so you can learn side by side. Fortunately fabric stores, sewing schools, sewing machine companies, and national organizations such as 4-H are stepping up to the plate and filling an important ‘niche’ by providing a skill that has been vanishing from many schools.

More and more fabric retailers (big name chains and independent stores alike) are offering year-round classes and summer sewing camps for kids. Sewing machine companies have a vested interest in teaching children to sew, after all, today’s kids are tomorrow’s customers.  Sewing clubs on high school and college campuses are flourishing, and there are even summer sewing camps and after-school classes for kids as young as 5.

The Home Sewing Association, is a nonprofit organization that also provides a link on their website to find a sewing educator in your local area.

Classes are hands-on, project-oriented in a creative, laid back and supportive atmosphere where students are strongly encouraged to work at their own pace. Other sources are virtual sewing circles on the Internet, online video classes, sewing-oriented message boards, blogs, and chat rooms in which strangers exchange tips on the best hem styles and where to find inexpensive fabric.

Summer Sewing 2

Summer Sewing 2

Sewing also teaches students about different kinds of fabrics, seams, and reactions to fabrics. Cool and comfortable, natural fibers are perfect for summer sewing projects.  Airy and breezy cottons, linen types, hand-dyed batiks, Swiss batistes, brightly colored tropical prints with vibrant coordinating solids all bring to mind those visions of barefoot living and seaside cabana suppers. Cotton batiste is an elegant fabric that is in great demand for blouses and heirloom hand sewing projects, especially for smocking.  There are many types of cotton available in fabric stores and online.  Cotton voile is a sheer fabric with a crisp feel. Cooling white and blue fabric contrasts, and the bright reds, yellows, and oranges evoke the lazy, hazy days of summer.

Costs for classes and lessons are well within your budget.  They range from $20 – $40 an hour, or $150 – $175 for a workshop session. Some include a shopping spree to assist you in selecting the fabric, pattern, and supplies while others charge an additional fee to cover the cost of fabric and other items that will be used.  Ask for specifics and if there are any additional cost for materials with the class.

Instead of spending all of your vacation outside, include sewing as a summer pastime.  Kick off your summer sewing season as you learn new skills that will last a lifetime.  Sew for creative summer fun, learning how to sew your own clothes.You will learn a lot about sewing, fabric and will be positively charged about creating your own designs after class ends.

Thelma Horton has a degree in Home Economics, and has taught hundreds of high school students and adults how to sew for the very first time. She has also sewn prom & wedding dresses, tailored suits and coats and altered ready-to-wear for her clients.  To help others learn how to sew, she offers free tips and techniques on her website and authors two e-books, “Sew-It Like a Pro” and “Hem-It Yourself, Hem Finishes.”