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Thread: Need advice for 'quick to teach' beginner projects....

  1. #1
    Senior Member Twilliebee's Avatar
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    Hi everyone, I've been roped into offering a class at community school this year. It's one evening a week, 7-9, for 9 weeks and the 'class' is for people who haven't sewed before but are specifically interested in quilting. I'd like to send everyone home with at least two small completed projects, and I was thinking about coasters or potholders for Valentine's Day and maybe a small mug rug for St. Patrick's Day. I'm also thinking about an evening of basic mending (sewing on a button?), and simple embroidery (stem stitch, couple of others). I'd love any and all ideas, suggestions, guidelines.........any HELP at all. It's my first foray into teaching and after worming my way out of volunteering for the 4th year in a row, the guilt has finally gotten to me.
    I just want anyone who comes out to this to see how much fun fabric is, and to feel free enough to enjoy it. Love to hear from you, and thanks, it's a great board.

  2. #2
    Cyn
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    I want to join your class!

  3. #3
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    wow, I have some ideas for you:


    coasters, potholders, placemats, applique heart for Valentines Day, criss cross coasters, pincushions, remote control holder, table runners, crazy quilt small project, maybe a small sampler quilt to show different unique quilt blocks, bookmarks, small wall hanging, doll quilt to show how to do binding something small, mug rug, appliques, tote bags

    1. to discuss tools and how to use rotary cutter properly
    2. sewing machine basics (get to know the sewing machine)


    Quote Originally Posted by Twilliebee
    Hi everyone, I've been roped into offering a class at community school this year. It's one evening a week, 7-9, for 9 weeks and the 'class' is for people who haven't sewed before but are specifically interested in quilting. I'd like to send everyone home with at least two small completed projects, and I was thinking about coasters or potholders for Valentine's Day and maybe a small mug rug for St. Patrick's Day. I'm also thinking about an evening of basic mending (sewing on a button?), and simple embroidery (stem stitch, couple of others). I'd love any and all ideas, suggestions, guidelines.........any HELP at all. It's my first foray into teaching and after worming my way out of volunteering for the 4th year in a row, the guilt has finally gotten to me.
    I just want anyone who comes out to this to see how much fun fabric is, and to feel free enough to enjoy it. Love to hear from you, and thanks, it's a great board.

  4. #4
    Super Member nwm50's Avatar
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    When i went to an quilting class...we learned how to used the sew machine basic and used shoo fly, churn dash, fence rail , 9 patch patterns then how to sew blocks together & pin batting on as well as the backing... that was all the time you have in 9 weeks but of course i missed the last couple classes due to chemo. The ladies had to talk a little and then ooo-ahh over each other projects before settled down. Your idea of coasters, mug rug, etc are all wonderful ! Keep it simple & fun will roll around !

  5. #5
    Junior Member gemmyfrog's Avatar
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    I recently talked my mother into teaching a 3-4 week class for "Learn how to Quilt". What I learned was to have the material and/or patterns ready to be used. Our class had 10 people, and 10 different projects. :oops: We did have a quilt project selected, but gave the people the option of bring their own material. This didn't work out so well.

  6. #6
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    Everyone loves tote bags. For example
    http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/projec...erns_ss_b.html

  7. #7
    Super Member nwm50's Avatar
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    forgot to say when you call the school for enrollment,,,they tell u the supplies that is needed so all in on hand when they show up for classes.

  8. #8
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    After you decide on "what" - send out a supply list so that the students will have/bring what they need.

    There will always be one or two that will have "forgotten" or "not got around to gettting whatever"''

    If you are teaching in a shop - spending/shopping opportunity -

    but if you are teaching in a community center - do you bring "extras" - or do you let the student "learn to be a responsible adult"?

  9. #9
    Super Member LindaM's Avatar
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    Be sure to have your course outline available to the prospective students so they know what to expect, including materials they need to bring (pins? scissors? rotary cutter/mat? iron? machine? thread?). And I'd have whatever extras I could scrounge up with me for the ones who will come with completely different things than you suggest :)

    Personally, if the course was to learn to quilt and I ended up making pot holders, that wouldn't make me happy.

    If the course is intended for students who haven't sewn at all, they'll need to learn about cutting precisely and sewing the 1/4" seam, and pressing. So again, a pot holder wouldn't give me enough practice on seams.

    What about having a number of strip sets ready to put together to figure out how to do the 1/4" seam - 3 strips, six" long, 2" wide. You could end up with dozens of strip sets ... and put them together into a wall hanging (without correcting anything!) or sub-cut into different shapes to show how much you can do with just strip piecing (tube quilts, rail fence, there are tons of books on this!).

    I like your idea about incorporating other sewing methods into the class - but rather than 'mending', sew the button on to decorate an embroidery square!

    I'd also suggest putting together a list of resources for the students - local library for books/magazines, any local guilds?, local quilt shops, websites (quilter's cache, quiltville, this board!)

    Good for you for sharing your passion, good luck with the class!

  10. #10
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    A member of our church recently did a beginner class. The night I dropped in three people were making a simple wall hanging, one a darling doll quilt, one a simple prayer quilt in a lap robe size, and another a table runner. All in squares and rectangles - no triangles yet. They had learned measuring, cutting with a rotary cutter, piecing, 1/4 stitching and sandwiching. Most were ready to quilt - one by hand, then go on to binding. It was going very well.

  11. #11
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    all the information given so far has hit the spot. Sounds like you sure have a handle on it before the class even gets to start.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    After you decide on "what" - send out a supply list so that the students will have/bring what they need.

    There will always be one or two that will have "forgotten" or "not got around to gettting whatever"''

    If you are teaching in a shop - spending/shopping opportunity -

    but if you are teaching in a community center - do you bring "extras" - or do you let the student "learn to be a responsible adult"?
    Kits can be a good choice for beginners also. no stress of colors, yardage, etc. I would start on a small quilt that uses several techniques. "little projects" are sometimes just time wasters & they still do not have the hang of a 1/4" seam (a must learn !),how to cut with rotary cutter, etc. split rail, 4 patch, etc.
    anyone who does not bring the correct supplies after they rec'd a good supply list should not be allowed to "share" with someone else & waste everyone's time. Adults know what they should do. A class can be ruined by the selfish person. sometimes you really need to spot that person right away & derail them.
    there is a lot to learn, just basics are so easy for us because they are now old hat, but the beginner takes a lot more time to master cutting, etc.
    I am thinking you said adults--right ? maybe you could even do a supply list AFTER the first class. the first night could be talking about fabrics, kinds of cutters, rulers, etc. this might save someone from making a mistake by trying to save money but not realizing why they need certain things. A "show & Tell" of some of your finished projects would be a sure ice breaker and hit !

  13. #13
    Senior Member Momof3Es's Avatar
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    I'm with Cyn! I wanna take the class!!

  14. #14
    Senior Member hevemi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smitty
    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    After you decide on "what" - send out a supply list so that the students will have/bring what they need.

    There will always be one or two that will have "forgotten" or "not got around to gettting whatever"''

    If you are teaching in a shop - spending/shopping opportunity -

    but if you are teaching in a community center - do you bring "extras" - or do you let the student "learn to be a responsible adult"?
    Kits can be a good choice for beginners also. no stress of colors, yardage, etc. I would start on a small quilt that uses several techniques. "little projects" are sometimes just time wasters & they still do not have the hang of a 1/4" seam (a must learn !),how to cut with rotary cutter, etc. split rail, 4 patch, etc.
    anyone who does not bring the correct supplies after they rec'd a good supply list should not be allowed to "share" with someone else & waste everyone's time. Adults know what they should do. A class can be ruined by the selfish person. sometimes you really need to spot that person right away & derail them.
    there is a lot to learn, just basics are so easy for us because they are now old hat, but the beginner takes a lot more time to master cutting, etc.
    I am thinking you said adults--right ? maybe you could even do a supply list AFTER the first class. the first night could be talking about fabrics, kinds of cutters, rulers, etc. this might save someone from making a mistake by trying to save money but not realizing why they need certain things. A "show & Tell" of some of your finished projects would be a sure ice breaker and hit !
    I agree with "not sharing" but how about small scale swapping? You could make pillow cases with quilted bands (squares, rail fence etc.) from your OWN fabrics, but as you'll end up with some left overs your students could trade and maybe also get some idea of the "sisterhood"?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaM
    Be sure to have your course outline available to the prospective students so they know what to expect, including materials they need to bring (pins? scissors? rotary cutter/mat? iron? machine? thread?). And I'd have whatever extras I could scrounge up with me for the ones who will come with completely different things than you suggest :)

    Personally, if the course was to learn to quilt and I ended up making pot holders, that wouldn't make me happy.

    If the course is intended for students who haven't sewn at all, they'll need to learn about cutting precisely and sewing the 1/4" seam, and pressing. So again, a pot holder wouldn't give me enough practice on seams.

    What about having a number of strip sets ready to put together to figure out how to do the 1/4" seam - 3 strips, six" long, 2" wide. You could end up with dozens of strip sets ... and put them together into a wall hanging (without correcting anything!) or sub-cut into different shapes to show how much you can do with just strip piecing (tube quilts, rail fence, there are tons of books on this!).

    I like your idea about incorporating other sewing methods into the class - but rather than 'mending', sew the button on to decorate an embroidery square!

    I'd also suggest putting together a list of resources for the students - local library for books/magazines, any local guilds?, local quilt shops, websites (quilter's cache, quiltville, this board!)

    Good for you for sharing your passion, good luck with the class!
    I agree. I would be very upset if I paid for a class to learn how to make quilts and didn't even get a lap quilt. For people who have never sewn before sewing straight lines and matching seams could be a challenge. I would also bet they won't sew as fast as you do. Maybe save a craft or two incase they get a small quilt completed before the end of the classes. They could use up their scraps to make those.
    Could you talk to your friend about a "quilt n' crafts" class where you make the pot holders, mug rugs, and the other ideas you had? If it gets timed right this class could be promoted by mentioning that the craft projects can be made for Christmas gifts.
    Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a fun time! You'll do great!

  16. #16
    Super Member quilterella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twilliebee
    Hi everyone, I've been roped into offering a class at community school this year. It's one evening a week, 7-9, for 9 weeks and the 'class' is for people who haven't sewed before but are specifically interested in quilting. I'd like to send everyone home with at least two small completed projects, and I was thinking about coasters or potholders for Valentine's Day and maybe a small mug rug for St. Patrick's Day. I'm also thinking about an evening of basic mending (sewing on a button?), and simple embroidery (stem stitch, couple of others). I'd love any and all ideas, suggestions, guidelines.........any HELP at all. It's my first foray into teaching and after worming my way out of volunteering for the 4th year in a row, the guilt has finally gotten to me.
    I just want anyone who comes out to this to see how much fun fabric is, and to feel free enough to enjoy it. Love to hear from you, and thanks, it's a great board.
    When we offered a beginner's class, we started out with getting to know your machine(their own or classroom), then they could choose between two projects: one: pj pants and an apron or two:quilted table runner. Which ever they chose, they had to do the two week (6hrs) get to know your machine first. They all loved their classes and most became regular customers.

  17. #17
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    When choosing colors be sure to make them understand the light, medium, dark concept. When I started no one mentioned this and I still have a top not completed because I realized that there was no contrast. It will still be pretty but I just need motivation to finish it.
    Good luck with the class.

  18. #18
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    As a new quilter, I think a sampler would have been the best way to learn...for me specifically. Start with something simple like a 9 patch, working your way up, including things like pinwheels (triangles!), curves maybe, y-seams, and beginner paper piecing (I wish someone would come teach me that! lol). In the end, they learn several techniques to use in the future, and come out with a quilt!

  19. #19
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    I think the promotion for the class should be fairly clear.

    If it is to be a "Learn to make a quilt class" - then that's what should be taught.

    If it is a "Make some fun little projects - such as pot holders, mug rugs, etc " - then that's what should be taught.

    Have everyone doing more or less the same thing at the same time. If the people are complete beginners, it's helpful to have everyone on the same page. Or teach as if they were!

    I prefer to have a few things taught thoroughly and well - than a smattering of many things - that I never quite caught on to any of them. I get frustrated when I "almost got it" - but it went too fast to really have gotten it.

    You may want to have a back-up plan if you get a group of quick-learners to fill up the last week of classes.

  20. #20
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    Contratulations on your new adventure. Select a simple pattern (ex. Bar Quilt, Rail Fence), have class objectives, basic supply list and fabrics needed for project (tools needed for making a quilt), basic machine theory, how to use the tools. Bar quilt or Rail Fence will introduce the students how to use the basic tools,stitching straight lines, fabric theory and basic machine stitching. If time permit, you can cover batting and backing techiques. If I pay for a class I would like to have a finish product or fell comfortable enough to finish at home and try another projects on my own. Check out the internet for teaching a beginners quilt class. Great ideas and suggestions. Good Luck!

  21. #21
    Super Member noveltyjunkie's Avatar
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    If it is a learn to quilt class I would expect to have a quilt at the end of it, as in, something someone can snuggle with, even if it is a baby quilt.

    It depends on the age group you are targetting- some might want to do a lap quilt but some would have no use for them.

    Some might have a child or grandchild to make for, but some would not. I think it would be good to ask the students to say on their enrolment form what they would like to make and try to accommodate that.

    I am a person who is eager to get going and, although I am very interested NOW in learning proper techniques, when I started I just wanted to MAKE something. It didn't really matter how wonky it was.

    I think you need to show them basic straight line stitching, how to measure and cut, how to choose colours, and then let them get on with it- a strip quilt for the impatient, a rail fence or a more complex project for the more ambitious.

  22. #22

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    sounds like a fun class... where can I take it???

  23. #23
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    If you have only 9 weeks, you'll want to make sure that you will have a completed project at the end. So, would you take 1 week to introduce their sewing machine to them, 5 weeks to piece the quilt, 2 weeks to quilt and 1 week for the binding? You will have to judge the slowness or fastness of learning from the class to determine this. I know at the end of the 9 weeks I would want a completed project.

  24. #24
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    because this is a school class - I would assume there is some typw of curriculum to be followed - if not start with the basics - Decide on your projects and go from there.

  25. #25
    MNM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twilliebee
    Hi everyone, I've been roped into offering a class at community school this year. It's one evening a week, 7-9, for 9 weeks and the 'class' is for people who haven't sewed before but are specifically interested in quilting. I'd like to send everyone home with at least two small completed projects, and I was thinking about coasters or potholders for Valentine's Day and maybe a small mug rug for St. Patrick's Day. I'm also thinking about an evening of basic mending (sewing on a button?), and simple embroidery (stem stitch, couple of others). I'd love any and all ideas, suggestions, guidelines.........any HELP at all. It's my first foray into teaching and after worming my way out of volunteering for the 4th year in a row, the guilt has finally gotten to me.
    I just want anyone who comes out to this to see how much fun fabric is, and to feel free enough to enjoy it. Love to hear from you, and thanks, it's a great board.
    Even though the class is for people who have not sewn before you will always get people that do know a little about sewing and they either show off or just get things done faster than most so be ready for the faster learners. I always got bored in a class that moved to slow.
    I think a lap quilt is great for a starter project , if they don't want it when it is done it can be donated to a hospital or retirement home. Have a great time teaching this class, wish I could be there to help you, I love beginners. MNM

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