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Thread: Request to teach - suggestions please

  1. #26
    Senior Member olebat's Avatar
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    As a 4-H leader, the classes I teach are usually with 10 year olds. I do offer classes for families, and the mothers/fathers are just as much in the dark as the kids are. So when someone says they know nothing - believe them, that they know NOTHING.

    My classes begin with an orientation of basic sewing supplies. Because they are totally green, safety is high on the teaching scale. (Do you always know where your needle is?) Each machine has it's own sewing and repair kit, so the student needs nothing for the class. We cover the things they might want to buy for their own sewing box. Then, I present an introduction to different fabrics. The second hour we begin with the sewing machine. It's getting easier with a good collection of vintage machines. They're pretty simple, nothing to fiddle with, just learn how to thread and wind bobbins.

    For the first class, I provide the fabric. They start with a strip, which they cut (scissors) into 4 pieces. They sew back and forth, up and down until their strip is filled.
    The nest piece, they sew curvy lines, and make circles, boxes, and Christmas tree designs, then they layer the last two and do the same thing with double layers. By that time (15 minutes) they are comfortable with the machines.

    Then, I pull out a pre-cut kit for each of them. It is a simple turned pot holder. I provide a hand out of everything covered, and a hand out for the next session. They get to choose their own fabric, or get one of my kits. Class two is a set of place mats, again, turned, rather than bound. After the class, we discuss where to go next. Strip lap quilts usually win. (OK I lead a little.) I have a mismatch batch of loaner machines if they want to work at home. This one is finished with a binding. After those 4 weeks, they choose their track of more quilting, or garment construction. For rotary cutting, I insist they buy their own gloves, and have one-on one instruction. So far, knock on wood - all has gone well.

    This is a 4-H program, so I don't charge. However, I collect fair value for cost of supplies have a tip jar available. Parents often consider it an instructional sitting service.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amythyst02
    Quote Originally Posted by sewcrafty
    For a no clue class:

    definitions
    grain of fabric
    difference between ironing and pressing and how you do this (I had someone actually use 5/8" seam and press open) in an intermediate class
    different ways to accomplish the dreaded 1/4" or scant
    How to use a rotary cutter safely! OMG some individuals will scare the h*** out of you! (always have them buy the stickies for the back of the rulers)
    How to use a ruler properly (I know this sounds basic, but the lining up and how different ruler manuf. measure differently)
    Starching vs. not starching
    The proper thread to use! I had someone actually using hand quilting thread in a machine :shock:

    Start with a basic square block. 4P or 9P. To teach kissing seams. :-) Maybe have them make them a little larger and then transform into D4P or D9P.

    If at all possible make sure they bring their own machine to use. There will be many applications that they will want to write down the settings for their particular machine.
    This is the perfect example for the newbie. I have no idea what 1/2 of the things she is talking about are. But ... I am sure it is all important. Like what in the world is 4P or 9P. : ) Oh and I just learned yesterday how important the grain of the fabric is, and that if you get it wrong your squares will come out wrong. I just figured you cut and sew. I have never used a rotary cutter, you mean there is a right and wrong way? I thought it looked pretty simple.

    These are all things the "never have quilted before" student will be needing to know.
    I really appreciate your feedback. Understanding what a true newbie doesn't know/does know helps me out so much. I remember not knowing and being shown the ropes so to speak. So much of it is second nature now we tend to forget how it was in the very beginning. I remember thinking that 'quilting' was another language!
    Oh, and a 4P is a 4 patch block and a 9P is a nine patch block. If you put either of those in the search feature above it will take you to examples.
    :)

  3. #28
    Super Member alleyoop1's Avatar
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    Contact your LQS and see if they need anyone to teach basic quilting. Perhaps you can work out something with them. It would be good advertising for them and it would give you a legitimate place to teach. If not there, then try Michael's or A.C. Moore - they do classes.

  4. #29
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    After reading the above posts, and after having taken a wonderful "My First Quilt" class only 2 1/2 years ago, I thought I'd chime in -- what was so very helpful to me was 1. a detailed list of needed supplies and 2. a set of very detailed written instructions. As the class was held at my LQS, the supply list was provided when we registered for the class with a discount offered for any supplies purchased at the shop. However, we were free to purchase the supplies wherever we chose. (As I wasn't sure if I'd continue quilting beyond the class, I wanted the flexibility to purchase where I could get the best prices, later learning that often the supplies at the LQS are of a higher quality than what I found at Walmart, Hancock's, Hobby Lobby, etc.). The detailed instructions were handed out during the first class session. They contained very basic details, such as how to hold up the fabric with the selvages together in order to square it up prior to making the first cut, how to use the rulers to square up the fabric, how to miter corners when creating binding, etc. It had room for notations (of which I made plenty) and included some simple drawings (i.e.what a mitered corner looks like). I find that if I don't quilt for a while, I can pull out those instructions to remind myself what a particular term means or how to follow a basic procedure that many patterns don't explain. Having a couple of ironing boards and irons certainly helps as does plenty of space for cutting as well as sewing space. If you can determine in advance what exactly the skill level (or lack thereof!) of each person taking the class will be, then you can know how basic your beginning session needs to be. Be prepared for some questions that will just floor you because you'll think that EVERYONE should know the answer. Build in time to help someone rip out something and bring with you patience in explaining what the problem was and how to fix it and avoid it in the future. Good luck to you!!

  5. #30
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    You might consider teaching how to relax in a room full of people who are cutting and sewing with great success. One of the most difficult obstacles to overcome, for me, was to go at my own pace without being intimidated by the progress of other participants. (for what it is worth..)

  6. #31
    Super Member lass's Avatar
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    A simple four patch or snowball block for the first project would work. That was my first real quilt.

  7. #32
    Super Member mimee4's Avatar
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    Ideas - how to tell if the fabric is cotton or part poly. Safety - always, always, always close your rotary cutter. How to hold the ruler so that it doesn't slide. Cutting off the selvage.

  8. #33
    Senior Member Johanna Fritz's Avatar
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    I teach a basic (if you have 6 classes - make 6 blocks - wall hanging) sampler class. By picking a nine patch to start, then something simple with a HST (usually Shoo Fly), Goose tracks, Ohio Star (for QST), one drunkard's path (for curves) and then a sunbonnet sue etc for basic applique. Teaching one block per month (week or whatever), you will cover rotary cutting, tips, etc. Then you can cover binding and prep for quilting at the end. Good luck.

  9. #34
    Junior Member Toni-in-Texas's Avatar
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    Personally, I think the rail fence is a perfect beginner's project. It was the first class I took and after she showed us how to do a four-patch, she taught us the rail fence and that was so much easier. It's a good one to learn rotary cutting and sewing 1/4" seams, too. Plus, even if you do mess up a little the overall design covers minor flaws. Plus only having three main colors, it doesn't overwhelm the beginner with decisions.

    I got elected teacher when our teacher moved away. I just try to teach a block that I first do at home following any directions that I have. We meet twice a month and some meeting, we just get together to share and work on whatever we want to. Good luck.

  10. #35
    Super Member Amythyst02's Avatar
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    Additionally, although I am a noob at quilting I have been sewing for almost 45yrs. But garment sewing. I have made Wedding dresses, coats, suits, etc. So I am not unfamiliar with sewing. But.. quilting is a whole different world. There is so much to learn, and its completely different from garment sewing, as I have started to learn here.

    Oh and printed instructions are a must. I love my computer and being able to run to it for information. However, when it comes to learning things, I would much prefer printed, hand held instructions. I want to be able to have it right next to what I am doing! I do even still read pattern directions, I may only skim them but they are right there, handy if I need them. And I cannot take notes next to the computer instruction like I can printed. : )

    Now I am going to go look at 4P and 9P : )

  11. #36
    Senior Member vickimc's Avatar
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    I would start with a 9 patch. I think log cabin is hard for a beginner. keeping it square is tough. ask me how I know!!

  12. #37
    Senior Member Cookie64's Avatar
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    A sampler quilt is really nice, you teach different ways of doing the blocks and learn so much more.

    Good Luck,

    Cookie

  13. #38
    Super Member SandyMac's Avatar
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    My first class was a take 5 and I loved it.

  14. #39
    Super Member Evie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jitkaau
    Teach them about the machine first - all the bits and maintenance and how to thread etc. You will be surprised about what they don't know, so it is better not to assume that they have prior knowledge.
    This definitely comes first! The students must know the very basics of sewing before they can learn to quilt.

  15. #40
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    I presently teach a quilter class at my house. Most of my students were newbies. It all came about at church when some people expressed an interest. I made up a flyer with the date and time and the cost for supplies. I chose to buy some limited supplies and they bought them from me ( mats, rotary cutter,scissors,rulers). I did this because they said they didnt know what to buy and since I was the teacher, they told me I knew best .
    At the first class I went through the tools and how they were to be used. I had material/ fabric they could choose from and I didn't mind parting with. I also taught them rail fence which I think is easier than a log cabin and still produces great results.That has been 6 years ago and we are still going strong .
    I have taught a friend in Barbados how to quilt in one day and she has done at least 20 quilts. When I go back home I give her other tips. I consider her an intermedite quilter. As a matter of fact. there are two others at home that I have taught but they are still real beginners because they need to keep practicing but my other friends does so she gets better.
    Remember Utube and the internet is here to help you.
    One thing I havent done and I am not sure I would do it is to charge a fee for my time. I have problem charging people and no one has offered. Anyway we are having a great time.

  16. #41
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    The first quilt I learned was a nine patch and rail set on point. I learned soooo much from that one quilt.

  17. #42
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    My friend, who recently had a stroke, and I have taught beginning quilting for 4 years thru our church. Now we teach beginning thru advanced. We run by the school semesters and the classes are 2 hours every Tues. We start at the very beginning with tools they need the first meeting. I bring in my stash the 2nd meeting and they play with putting fabrics together. The 3rd week we go shopping and they pick their fabrics. The pattern we start with is a "Buddies quilt" by Jean Nolte. We then spend the next 2 weeks perfecting rotary cutting on cheap fabric I have picked up, sewing 1/4"seam and pressing. Then they begin with their quilt and are comfortable with doing it. Some sew at home but most don't. We finish the quilt, including binding that semester or they can finish it the next semester. Always on call and very happy students. We charge $5 a semester and they certainly get their money's worth. If you would like a copy of our materials, I will be happy to send you one just PM me. Also, please pray for my friend. I believe I will be teaching alone this year.

  18. #43
    Junior Member fabricesta's Avatar
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    I think squaring up your blocks would be a basic lesson

  19. #44
    Senior Member katcox's Avatar
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    I would add a little instruction on the sewing machine, rethreading,oiling, general stuff to keep you machine in operation while quilting.Along with all the basics use of a ruler rotary cutter etc. You know all general to someone who knows nothing. Just using that as an example.

  20. #45
    Super Member jgriinke's Avatar
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    Being in a local guild, I have to say that the hardest thing we come across is the people who don't know what a 1/4" seam is.
    I helped teach a "Back to Basics" year round project for the guild. We started out with how to cut properly, then sew a true 1/4" seam.
    From there, we went on to 12 different blocks. Starting with a large 4 patch. We even went into hand applique and machine applique.
    Then did a couple of free motion/stitch in the ditch classes.
    We had many of the members say they really learned lots from it.
    I guess I feel that cutting properly and finding and keeping the 1/4" seams are the most important.
    You are opening a whole can or worms here with that question. It will be interesting to see the answers to it.

  21. #46
    Super Member SueSew's Avatar
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    In my limited experience - the last five months - I have never attended a class because they are at inconvenient/daytime hours or - worse - they involve an entire day in a small room with a lot of people all crammed in and yakking - and WORST - the project they picked out is plug-ugly. Pick something pretty, something easy, and concentrate on the basic construction techniques. Cut, measure, piece, measure, rip, piece, block...

  22. #47
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    I come from a generation where almost all females were exposed to sewing in some way.

    However - some people really don't know what a needle is!

    I value the "hand-piecing" class that was my first quilting class.

    You might want to start with very very basics such as

    This is a needle - there are different types of needles (give examples)

    "Material/fabric" - examples of different types - grain lines - selvages, etc.

    What is appropriate for quilts - why others may not be

    Scissors - different types -

    Threads -

    Marking fabric -

    Perhaps suggestions for "if you can have only one, this is the one I recommend:

    Rotary cutters, mats, rulers

    One can still rotary cut pieces for hand pieced blocks.

    Sewing machines - other than the very basic machines, I wouldn't even consider dealing with them in a class.

    I think I would keep most of these choices to one or two "practical/usable" ones at the very beginning.

    Too many choices are confusing to a beginner.

  23. #48
    Senior Member PiecesinMn's Avatar
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    I've been teaching for a number of years through the school district's community ed. I have it stated in the class description that homework would be required if they want to have the quilt finished. I think one of the easiest to teach is the rail fence. My classes are for getting the top together. I stress the three important things you need to do to quilt (1) cut accurately, (2) sew accurately) and (3) press accurately. I do touch on how you can quilt or tie the quilt the last night, but I don't teach specifics. I do okay for me, I don't feel that I am qualified to teach a machine or hand quilting class. Also stated in the description is that they need to bring their own machine. In the material list I send out its states to know their machine and have it in working order. I do provide directions for whatever project we are working on, but I notice over and over people just want me to tell them what to do, they don't want to read instructions. Is this a Minnesota thing??? I am happy to oblige. I also like to get people started and then just go from student to student so that it's more of an individual lesson. Everyone cuts, sews, and irons at different speeds so it works out well.

  24. #49
    Super Member gzuslivz's Avatar
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    Bless you for wanting to teach. It is a great gift you are giving them. My advice would be, don't get discouraged. Sometimes it might seem like you are fighting alone, uphill in the dark. Just keep at it. Your reward is eternal!

  25. #50
    Super Member SueSew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PiecesinMn
    I've been teaching for a number of years through the school district's community ed. I have it stated in the class description that homework would be required if they want to have the quilt finished. I think one of the easiest to teach is the rail fence. My classes are for getting the top together. I stress the three important things you need to do to quilt (1) cut accurately, (2) sew accurately) and (3) press accurately. I do touch on how you can quilt or tie the quilt the last night, but I don't teach specifics. I do okay for me, I don't feel that I am qualified to teach a machine or hand quilting class. Also stated in the description is that they need to bring their own machine. In the material list I send out its states to know their machine and have it in working order. I do provide directions for whatever project we are working on, but I notice over and over people just want me to tell them what to do, they don't want to read instructions. Is this a Minnesota thing??? I am happy to oblige. I also like to get people started and then just go from student to student so that it's more of an individual lesson. Everyone cuts, sews, and irons at different speeds so it works out well.
    That sounds like a great approach and a worthwhile class. I think having the instructions written out for each class is great because when you leave you've got them to go by, not "what did she say to do about this?"

    And no one in any field wants to read instructions! At computer co where I worked we used the acronym RTFM meaning 'read the manual' because even engineers didn't want to read the software manuals, never mind the customers' IT personnel. Human nature, impatience.

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