14 December, 2014

School of Sewing (Weekend Reads)

A zipper pouch. People, I made a zipper pouch. I'd set a goal to learn how to install a zipper this year and thanks to the encouragement of Jen and the instructions from Shea Henderson in her book, School of Sewing, I did it. I did it!

And honestly, it wasn't that hard. I was a fraidy cat for nothing.

It really helps that Shea's directions in the book were so clear. The step by step photography (by Lauren Hunt) was perfect. I'm not the kind of person to enjoy following directions, but when I am going to do it I am religious about going along. And it was so easy doing so for this project.

This book is kind of amazing. It is set up to lead sewers through a series of basic projects that, at the end, culminates in their first quilt. Along the way they pick up skills that will allow them to sew nearly anything. And it is all broken down in clear instructions with a lot of encouragement and humour.

Shea started writing the book after gathering a group of friends and neighbours to teach sewing. While people were always asking her how to sew she never taught them, preferring to send out a standard email full of resources and encouragement to do it on their own. But when enough people at the same time asked she decided to invite them all into her kitchen to learn. Many hadn't met before either. One of my favourite things about this book is that it also tells the students' stories. We learn who each of them are, we get commentary from them along the way, and the photographs include them and their journey. So this isn't a random book of instructions, it really is a school of sewing.

Initially I got the book in my hands for an article. For good research I read it cover to cover. Trust me, that was not a sacrifice. Shea has filled it with so much useful information - from shopping for fabric to sewing machine basics. Even an old quilter like me learned a few things. Plus, her voice is there throughout the writing. I know Shea in person (she has turned me on to the best milk ever) and I could hear her speak as I read the book. Her humour and enthusiasm come through so well. I couldn't help but want to try something new.

A zipper pouch it was. I have a collection of old zippers from a box. I have loads of beautiful fabric. I had a quiet afternoon to myself. I went for it. And in less than an hour I had a little zip pouch. No swearing, only a few mistakes made (easily recoverable), and a whole lot of pride in my new skill. I want to put zippers in everything!

With all the other projects in the book from bags to ruffled key fobs to endless layouts for a half square triangle quilt there is no shortage of directions and inspiration. This book is a must have for any beginner sewer. And a perfect tool for a teacher. If home ec were still around then School of Sewing should be the textbook.


Julierose said...

Oh how nice! I am a total "Zipper Fraidy Cat"! I always avoid making anything with a zipper....but yours came out so well...big congratulations.....hugs, Julierose

Live a Colorful Life said...

I love Shea so of course I bought her book as soon as it was available. It is fabulous!

Shea said...

Oh, Cheryl! This was such fun to read! Thank you so very much for capturing the reason I wrote the book. It means so much to me that you took the time to write this. (and I will confess to laughing quite loudly at the 'Shatto shootout')

Your zipper pouch looks fabulous! I expect to see zippers from you a lot in 2015! Ha!


Anonymous said...

Craftsy has a free zipper tutorial which shows different types of zipper sewing. I'm an experienced sewist and some of it is not the way I'd do it--but it's certainly a good place to start and has some useful tips. Once you know how to put in a zipper--the world opens up.
Isn't it sad that home ec isn't taught in the schools anymore. Many young women don't even know how to sew on a button or hem a skirt or pants. I took home ec all through high school and believe it is a basic survival skill. I could have done without the cooking segments!
Of course, when I took home ec--many, many year ago--it was quite sexist. I remember my teacher--Mrs. Motherwell (how's that for an ironic name) said "If your husband doesn't carve the Sunday roast, your marriage is a failure."

Sarah said...

Home Ec is still taught in many schools in Australia. I taught it this year. Wish I'd had this book!