How I love to see returning students and discover what their next project might be or to meet new students and guide them through the mine field of patterns and technical lingo to begin their sewing journey. It can be daunting going to a new class or turning up to a group where you don’t know anyone. A new place, new people and what’s the tutor like? These are all questions that go through the head at the beginning of any newbie in a class. A couple of them go through mine too.
If you’re sitting on the fence about trying a class, and this could be anything from dressmaking to watercolour I thought I put down a few thoughts on grasping the nettle and going for it.
Is the skill a new one to you?
Is this something you’ve tried before or are you completely new to the idea. Maybe you’ve always fancied having a go and now feels right. If it’s something new then a structured course will probably give you the most value. It’ll go over the basics and help you pick up some helpful tips and tricks to ease you into more challenging projects. Very often the equipment will be available if not provided so you don’t have to go out and stock up too much before you decide if it’s for you. A structured course is also good if you want to learn a particular technique. These can be intense but very informative.
Maybe you’ve sewn or tried something before, feel a bit rusty or just want someone to guide you through those tricky bits you’re never really happy with. You’ve built the stash and have the equipment. Just a tweek here or there in the way you might have been approaching something might be all it takes to get that smooth finish you’ve always wanted. This is where a guided session would come in. You’re not taught in the traditional sense. The information is still there for you should you need it but not necessarily in regular scheduled shots of information. Sometimes all you need is confirmation that you’re doing it right.
How big is the class?
Now this can vary enormously. For me, a smaller structured class is far better for both concentration and tutor time. when you’re working through specifics. It’s quite difficult for everyone to be able to see what’s happening with a demonstration if you have a large crowd. Unless of course, you have access to a camera and screen to film and display what’s happening.
In a guided class this is less of a stretch as not everyone will be as focused on the same demonstration but I still feel a smaller group is better for student-tutor engagement. It’s far easier for a tutor to keep track of what everyone’s working on of they haven’t got to remember 15 different projects. Never be afraid to ask for help. The tutor may not be able to devote an entire class to you ( that’s for a 1-1 session) but no-one wants to see you stuck. This is also another plus side to a small class.
How Long is the class?
The workshop/ class you may have looked at could be a day long or a weekly class over a run of weeks. Either way it’s difficult to get your teeth into anything much under 2 hours. Depending on whether you’re setting up with your own equipment or using everything supplied, consider the ten minutes it takes to set up and pack away at the beginning and end of the class.
Who is the Tutor?
Do you know who might be teaching the course? If so, what do you know about them? Are they qualified or experienced in their field. Have you met them elsewhere or heard about their classes from a friend. What sort of feel do they give? That probably seems an odd thing to consider. Are they generally relaxed and considered or do they give a stricter air. Do they have a sense of humour? Most of us do.. If their style of teaching doesn’t work for you then try someone else. Everyone is different.
Most of all give it a go.
Grasp the nettle. Take the plunge and give it a go. You’ll meet new people all interested in the same subject. You’ll learn far more that just what’s in the course too. It always amazes me the subjects covered when different people meet. If in doubt, ask a friend if they’d like to join you. It’s way less scary when your not on your own. Don’t be afraid to Fail. Nobody gets everything perfect first time. You may find this a bit of a cliché but think of it as a journey rather than a quick hit. Enjoy it for the process as well as gaining a new skill. If you’re going down the sewing route then get to know your unpick. You will never Not use this.
I hope my musings have been helpful. Lets get ready for a new adventure into something new. What are you going to try?