Monday, September 29, 2014

A Joyfully Made Mess of Creativity and Fun

This is no ordinary, crafty mess...this is a lovely, joyfully made mess, courtesy of my sweet sewing students and me.  I absolutely adore their enthusiasm and (sometimes overwhelming) eagerness to "make something" - I say "overwhelming" because I get it - I *know* that desire to just MAKE IT...and so, we take baby steps...making small things to learn basic skills, all the while, building a collection of techniques that they can get comfortable with and use without hesitation as ideas and inspirations come to mind.

Case in point?  Parker's sewn necklace and hair tie (the latter can also be a head or neck scarf!) - once she felt comfortable with her machine, she was determined to "MAKE SOMETHING!!!"  So I gave her some scrap fabric...and she did some different stitches on that...but then she wanted to add to it...and rummaged through my scraps to find just the right piece to add on...and again...and again... :)

And then there's Kate - a feisty, little almost 6 year old - she's smart as a whip and wants to do it all!  Her confidence at the sewing machine after such little time was so cute and awesome - I just had to take a video!  She and Parker had WAY TOO MUCH fun finding JUST the right button for their Needle Books they made.  Poor girls were so bummed that it only required one button and not a

Madison is my goofy girl - she loves to be funny...and she's very dramatic.  You may or may not be able to tell this from the pics I took as she was practicing her hand sewing on a felt pumpkin we started.  

And Amelia has grown so much in her confidence at the sewing machine and with her hand sewing.  She wants to make a skirt - and I could see that happening very soon!  She's very mindful of what she does, and hesitates to share progress until she knows she's done it right.  :) 

Stay tuned for more fun!!!  I just had to share how proud I am of them and how well they're doing!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sewing School...Recommended Reading!

Sew.  Let's talk recommended reading.

I LOVE this book...I've checked it out from the library numerous times, renewed it numerous times, and finally decided I should just own the darn thing, especially if I'm going to be teaching sewing!

Fun patterns, great layout, colorful, spiral bound (so it stays open!!!), basically, it's just very beginner-friendly!!!

Click HERE for product info and to buy!

Can't wait to try out lots of these projects with both my kid and adult students! :)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Silly Jillybeans Sewing School

Well, I finally did it.  I finally decided that after years of people asking, suggesting, and nudging, that I am ready to teach some sewing classes!!!!  I guess that the timing was never really right before now...because nothing says, "I'm ready to take on something new" like also being in the middle of packing up a house to move in under a week, right?  LOL

Actually, I decided that I wanted to teach a few weeks before we found the that makes more sense, right?  Anyway, as most of my Facebook Friends know, I've been slowly getting things organized with an official, Silly Jillybeans Sewing School Facebook Page, and, even more helpful, the Silly Jillybeans Sewing School GROUP Page, where I've been trying to get all of my sewing school ducks in a row, via sporadic polls and posts.  I'm super thankful for the group members there, as they've been eagerly helping me in this process.  Thank you!!!

Alright.  So moving on..."Sew" you want to sew...but there's a zillion different machines out there.  Where to begin?  

Well, first let's tackle the issue of, "Who will be using the machine?"

First, we'll assume that this machine will be for a child.  I guess it would make sense for me to share what I got for my kids, which is basically the Walmart version of this Brother machine found on Amazon.

We got this one because I've always used Brother machines and have been very pleased.  I figured that I already had a feel for the Brother "basics" and the feel of the machine, so might as well stick with the same brand, right?

However, more and more, I hear that the Janome Portable Sewing Machine is the way to go, since it's ONLY 5 pounds, and its presser foot is shaped such that it would be difficult for little fingers to get caught or too close to the needle.  It's a "half size" machine, so it's perfect for kids, but would probably make a great option for an adult looking for something portable or to just have a backup to their "usual" machine.
I think that had I heard about this machine earlier, we would've gotten it...though probably in the purple/turquoise color option, since those are Jillian's favorites!  (and then...maaaaybe also the blue/yellow color option for Everett...because it would be cool for us to all be able to sew at the same time, right?!)
It looks like the Fuschia color is currently the cheapest, at around $60, but most of the other, fun colors are only $10 more.

Another choice would be one that seems to be popular with both kids AND adults:
The Hello Kitty Janome Sewing Machine.

Now.  Let's talk sewing machines for Adult Beginners!

Similar to the above section on kid machines, it would make sense if I first started with machines that I've personally owned, used, and loved:

The Brother CP7500:  This machine was a fantastic step up from the verrrry first sewing machine I got - a Euro-Pro Shark, given to me by my Dad for Christmas, so that I could be able to make Richard (and eventually, our children) a Christmas stocking in the same style as those made by my Grandmother decades before.  Yes, that was a random overshare.

However, this particular model seems to have been discontinued, but it seems like the Brother Project Runway CE7070PRW is most similar in quality, price, and what it offers to the novice seamstress.
Things I LOVED about my CP7500 - the fact that I didn't have to use the handwheel so much, since it has (as I'm sure the newer model above has) a push-button used for raising and lowering the needle, AS WELL AS a button used for the Reverse Stitch!!!!  YAY!!!!  Less wrist torture!!!! :)  Also, the automatic needle-threader.  So helpful.
However, after a while, I decided to upgrade to the AWESOME Brother Project Runway Special Edition PC420.  It has all of the above and LOTS more!  My very, very favorite feature?  The knee-lifter!  Yes, that's right.  The knee-lifter.  It enables you to raise and lower the presser foot super easily, without having to let go of your fabric with either hand, aiding in the ability to reposition and remove your fabric super quickly.  This is a fabulous feature when it comes to applique work!  Also, the push-button thread-cutter.  It's the little things, y'all.
Like I said in the kid section, though, I keep hearing amazing things about Janome.  
So here are some links to recommended Janome Sewing Machines (per forums and blog posts I've read):

Janome 2212

And, more Brother Sewing Machines (I promise, I don't have an agreement/deal with Brother!):
Brother CS6000i
Brother LS2125i
Brother XL2600I

This is by NO MEANS a comprehensive list of sewing machines great for beginners, but hopefully it's a helpful list as you begin your fun journey into the world of sewing!