Sewing Basics

Sewing Dots
Sewing Dots

For some, sewing is just a hobby, it is therapy.  For these girls it means a possible future trade or keeping their hands busy with a useful project.

I began basic sewing classes 06/2013 with the oldest six girls here at the beach house on Friday’s after school.

The basic five hand/mending stitches that were in the line-up to learn were: the running stitch, the half back-stitch, the full back-stitch, the hem stitch, and fringe stitch.  The first class was a great learning lesson for me.  I tried to teach all five stitches and quickly learned I needed to slow down.  I ended up teaching only two stitches that day.

I thought I had prepared well enough with pictures to demonstrate.  I had used Google Translate to help with my Creole instruction to go with the pictures, but Google Translate used words that they were not familiar with, and it was too early in my language learning to know better.  While, pictures are a great way to instruct, I ended up using the best method for the circumstances.  I demonstrated the two stitches with each of the six individual girls.  I was kept hopping around the table for three hours with questions like “Konsa? Sa bon Madam Katrine?”  (“Like this? This good Madam Catherine?”) Some were getting it and some were not, even after the up close personal demonstration.  The poor dears seemed to want to do a “good job and do it right”, and I wanted to help, but felt a bit discouraged because that needed one-on-one instruction.  My approach was simply not working.  I was worn out. *#:-S whew!I felt like I had run a marathon and my feet were hurting. There were really too many of them for me to handle correctly and teach effectively.  There were four that needed more of a one-on-one instructional time, and a couple of them needed very little one-on-one time.

Sewing Kit
Sewing Kits

On another day, after talking with Madam Djoune and sharing my struggles, she shared that when she learned to sew by hand, they were taught with using dots and numbers.  The first image shows my original dots and numbers with the instructional postcard that I created for each of them.

One of the fun things for me in teaching my own children was to learn how they learn.  I was learning the personalities, their interest levels, and learning styles.  The most important factor for them was being able to get out regardless of the interest level.

Sewing girls: Lordine, Atinia, Yvelande, Willienne, & Sophonie

When school was out 06/29/2013, I ended up teaching them on an individual basis at the Center.  That was so much better.  Part of the class practice was spent mending some clothes, mostly school uniforms.

Now, fast forward, and here we are with five of the girls at the beach house.  I guess I didn’t learn my lesson the first time; however, the problem is that there is really no good place at the Center to do this.  I worked with the five who had already taken lessons before but quickly found out that I had to refresh their memories because it had been a while.

Each one of these girls will hand sewing their own sewing kit bag with pockets to have a place to put each sewing kit tool.

A huge thank you to Carolee Franzkowiak and Mom DeRoos for putting these sewing kits together.

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