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Thread: Request to teach - suggestions please

  1. #1
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    I have had people who have asked if I give classes on how to quilt, others on how to sew, and other to teach them about quilting. I've often thought about it.
    To do a "Just very beginners' class to get them started and then on to other things.
    I have several things in mind and some already written out, but not in any order yet.

    Any suggestions of:
    1) what to teach in a very "I don't know a thing about quilting" class?
    2)What do you wish you would have learned in the very beginning that would have be helpful?
    3) Tips, references etc will be much appreciated.

    Thanks
    Phyllis
    QuiltingGrannie
    (quilter, longarmer, designer --- teacher?) :thumbup:

  2. #2
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Your pieces may not fit together because of three basic issues
    1)it's cut wrong
    2) it's sewn wrong
    3) it's pressed wrong
    So I would teach basic rotary cutting skills, how to achieve that mysterious scant 1/4" and how to press.
    Have them make a 9patch that alternates with a plain block, add a few borders and bind.

  3. #3
    Super Member michelehuston's Avatar
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    A log cabin is a great one to start with!

  4. #4
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    I agree on the log cabin. There are so many different ways to lay it out! For your first meeting, you could meet at a fabric store at a pre-determined time to help with fabric selection, pattern, supplies, etc...

  5. #5
    Super Member donnajean's Avatar
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    I taught quilting/sewing for a while after retiring from school teaching. For someone that has never sewn before I would teach 9 patch pot holder. If they want to sew clothing, pajamas. If they have used a sewing machine that I would let them pick one of the small quilts/toppers from the book "More Quilts for Baby". In 5 one hr. classes, I could teach - most important, how to read instructions one step at a time & rotary cutting, piecing, sandwiching, quilting, & binding.

  6. #6
    Super Member donnajean's Avatar
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    I taught quilting/sewing for a while after retiring from school teaching. For someone that has never sewn before I would teach 9 patch pot holder. If they want to sew clothing, pajamas. If they have used a sewing machine that I would let them pick one of the small quilts/toppers from the book "More Quilts for Baby". In 5 one hr. classes, I could teach - most important, how to read instructions one step at a time & rotary cutting, piecing, sandwiching, quilting, & binding.

  7. #7
    AVQuilter's Avatar
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    My friend and I do a class once a month and we have the pattern cut and ready to sew...these ladies have some experience and others quilte a lot. We talk about what they are doing and why...gets them going at a good pace.

  8. #8

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    The beginners class I took almost 20 years ago was a 4 block sampler. Ohio star, Lemoyne star, Drunkeds path, and a Dresden plate. Each block built a skill. Piecing, points, curves, paper piecing. Then putting it together and quilting it. It was all done by hand but it could be a machine class.

  9. #9
    Super Member Sandee's Avatar
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    I think a Log cabin is a great 1st project. Even if all seams aren't perfect, they still look very nice when done.

    I've made about 50 quilts, & I haven't learned to cut binding or bind yet. Wish I had learned in 1 of the 2 clases I took.

  10. #10
    Super Member CAS49OR's Avatar
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    I am new to quilting, and my biggest disappointment in the classes I took was bringing home a barely started quilt and trying to figure out how to finish it on my own. Sometimes, if someone (teacher) has been quilting for years, something that seems to be so obvious is not. Please encourage students to share even the "stupidest" questions.

    I would suggest a project that could be completed during the class, so a new quilter has that excitement about making something they can feel proud of. This will inspire them to take more classes, and continue working at home on their own. Donna Jean suggested a potholder. That is a great idea. It could be completed during class and has all the basic techniques, especially if using binding to finish it. It would cost much less than a full quilt also.

    I think if a project cannot be completed during the class it should be clearly stated, "This is a class to begin to learn about quilting techniques, and the project may not be completed during the class."

    I also think it's wonderful when a teacher is willing to go "above and beyond" by allowing students to contact her later.

    I think a beginning class should have a limited amount of students so they get a lot of "one on one" instruction. It is helpful to ask the students to be familiar with their machine, and bring the manual for it. I have taken classes where the majority of the time is trying to get someone's machine to work.

    I think it's great you are asking for tips. I didn't know there was a 1/4" foot for my machine, and when I found out, after messing up several seams (I tried measuring and laying down painter tape.) my hubby went and bought it and brought it to me. It was SO helpful, and I was more confident about continuing the project. My point is, it probably was obvious to experienced sewers but I had not heard of it. Some people really do not know about things that seem so elementary.

    You are asking for suggestions, so I feel you will be a great teacher!

  11. #11
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    first off you have to decide if you are going to be a business and find out the issues involved in that...and yes, even if you teach in a shop/school/business, and you take money are considered a "contracted" business!

    if you teach in your home, contact your insurance agent and find out what the issues for liability will be.

    you of course then also have to contact your city to find out the legalities of running a business in your home...

    it gets really disheartening..trust me...
    I found teaching at the local college in the continueing ed classes was best and easiest as they did all the advertising,etc...but you are still considered a contracted business and must file all necessary taxes!

    a TRUE beginner quilting class should never take less than 6 weekly classes..I prefer 8, but that is a two month commitment..hard for most to do! and NO weekly class should ever last more than 2 hours...the beginner brain can't take it all in so more time is just more confusion/frustration usually!

    Pm me, I have been teaching all of the above for years...

  12. #12
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    The National Quilting Assn has a book "Teaching Basic Quiltmaking" You might check that out.
    The personal problem I have with many beginning/basic quilting classes is that the teacher trys to teach everything about quilting, including machine quilting, freemotion etc etc etc etc. And, I don't believe it is about what the student wants but what a beginning student needs to know to be successful and less frustrating.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Just-Lee's Avatar
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    Great ideas from everyone! Maybe you could do a beginner class, where you teach the basic rotary cutting, 1/4" seams, etc. and just make a pot holder and maybe an oven mitt. If they do well and are still interested, do an intermediate class where they could make a table runner/ topper, and then an adv. class...teaching more quilting techniques as you advance. I gave up on classes at dealers because they seem to never be able to come back down to my level and always make me feel more stupid than I know I am!! The basics are everything in the beginning and since I have never learned any of them really, I just do rag quilts...hard for even me to screw that up!

    I wish I knew someone in my area to take a small/ private class with!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Qwiltylady's Avatar
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    i taught at juvenile detention for a couple of years and our basic classes started with how to thread a needle and tie a knot in the end! Find out how basic the skills of the class are and then go from there. I had 2 feather weights that I took with me each week and they all wanted to sew on the machines but I made sure they knew how to stitch by hand first. I have received notes from several of the kids thanking me for the skills I taught them because they found that it helped them to know how to do basic repairs etc.

  15. #15
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    Thank you for all the suggestions so far. They have been very helpful.

    I want the first beginner class to be just that - very beginner. For those that want to learn quilting but don't have a clue what it is all about. To learn the basics, the equipment and cut and sew something real easy just to get the feel for what it is all about, the equipment they will need to have. But to also actually make something simple, but to have made something.

    I like the idea of precut pieces for them to sew for the first class. I know to go to a sewing/quilting class and come home having made something already makes you feel better than to go to a class and come away with just a bunch of notes and hand outs.

  16. #16
    Super Member Pam H's Avatar
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    I took a beginning quilting class 2 years ago. We learned how to use a rotary cutter/ruler/mat. She showed us how to cut the pieces for a friendship star. We learned how to put the first block together during the first class. For homework we had to have the rest of our blocks made before the next class where we learned about sashing and putting our quilts together. For our next class all the blocks had to be sewn together because we were learning how to do a mitered border. The last class was about quilting and binding. The 4 weeks of 2 hour classes were very worthwhile. The handouts she gave were/are very helpful.
    My LQS owner teaches beginning quilting classes where she teaches a Take 5. From choosing the fabrics to a finished quilt. That seems like a great way to go too.

  17. #17
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    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.

  18. #18
    Junior Member keesha_ont's Avatar
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    I have taught beginners classes - we do a sampler quilt with different squares/techniques. The participants love it and some of their quilts have grown into bedsize quilts.

  19. #19
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    Hi, The class I teach is a nine patch with solid block inbetween. My class last for 4 weeks. The first class is cutting, learning to use their machines, and achieving a 1/4 inch when sewing. Most finish cutting the first class. Some want homework so they can start sewing the strips together making sure they are getting an accurate seam allowance. Almost all finish the project in the 4 weeks except for the quilting and some start the stitch in the ditch before they leave. They can come back when they have finished their quilting and I help them attach the binding. I was amazed how many didn't know about their machines so tell them to bring their manuals. Happy teaching, Memepat

  20. #20
    Senior Member star619's Avatar
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    After learning the hard way, I prepared a sheet giving the scope of the class, the time allotted, the items students were expected to bring,and a disclaimer that at least 3 people needed to sign up, or the class would be re-scheduled.
    When they signed up, they paid for the class in full & there were no refunds for no shows (exceptions at the discretion of the teacher - death in family, etc.). Keep your"kits"for them with you -don't send them home! When class begins,expect socializing for 15 minutes, but then get to work. Have a hand-out prepared taking them through the steps (so they don't have to take notes) -which will also allow them to complete the project at home if they do not finish. Of course, these are just suggestions for you, but each one was created by MY learning curve & many "I'll never do it that way agains!". A happy experience for the students AND teacher will prevent complaints (students) & burnout (teacher). God bless! Debbie

  21. #21
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    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.

  22. #22
    community benefactor Conniequilts's Avatar
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    My ideas have to do more with supplies. The other things worked themselves out with time and practice.

    Please have them get a 1/4" and walking foot. I was so angry to struggle to get my first quilt quilted just to learn there was a foot available to help make it easier.

  23. #23
    Super Member Amythyst02's Avatar
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    To be perfectly honest, I have never made a quilt. Wanting to learn is one of the reasons I have joined these boards. To read and pick brains when I finally make the first step.

    However, what is the first step? I know I need a mat, a rotary cutter, but what kind of mat, what kind of rotary cutter. What else do I need? I know how to work my sewing machine, but there might be folks that attend that do not. However, if you begin with learning the machine, some may get extremely bored. So you would have to find out where each comfort zone is for each person. What they know and what they do not.

    I have checked into the classes they have at JoAnn's and a couple of other places. But they do not tell you what supplies you will need. Ah ha, of course it is so you would need to purchase those items from them ?? Not sure if that is the case, but it would seem so. I like to shop around, and get the best bang for my $$. So I guess one of the first things every student should know is the supplies that are needed for the first class.

    Also, I am rather picky about fabric. My daughter says I like too much foral? But I like it!! So I would say even give them a list of what type of fabric to bring along, and how much. I want your knowledge, not your supplies. I want to leave at the end of each class feeling I have come one step closer to making that quilt.

    I guess the only other thing I could add would be, keep your classes rather small. So you have time to spend with each person, and answer all their questions. There will probably be lots of questions.

    Good luck and I wish you success in your new venture. I think you will have alot of folks interested.

  24. #24
    Super Member Amythyst02's Avatar
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    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.

  25. #25
    Super Member Psychomomquilter's Avatar
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    something very simple. If they are at very beginning, why not doll quilt? the 9/or whatever block?

    I am still learning the how tos on the blocks, and binding and such....

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