Meet Sue Way: she's not your average school teacher. Sue teaches Apparel I, Apparel II, and Foods II at East Carteret High School in Beaufort, NC. Rather than going by some old textbooks, Sue decided it would be fun to put a modern twist on her Apparel II class. So she fired up her computer and introduced them to an online sewing workshop taught by her friend: Sashiko Zen Pillow with Pepper Cory. As Sue explained to us recently, she felt it would be perfect for the section of the class entitled "Judging Quality in Apparel Purchasing and Construction."
To Sue, using the workshop was a no-brainer. As she told us, she had plenty of reasons to introduce it to the students: "For students to learn seam standards between quilt construction, home pattern construction and apparel industry standard...to practice precision in cutting and seams for a successful quality project. The project can be a precursor into a quilt project at the end of the semester," and, of course: "Learning on the internet is a natural choice for high school students."
Sue also rightly suspected that teens' fearlessness and creativity would be a definite advantage when it came to sewing. "Teens are more adept at expanding upon any idea. They take one look at the norm and leap into their own creation... 'Can I change this up? Can I use my initials? Can I use more colors? Can I use one color? Can I use fleece? How about velvet? Can I add more rows for a baby blanket?'" Of course, that doesn't mean they don't have their weaknesses, too. When we asked Sue what aspect of sewing and quilting her students struggled with the most, her answer was simple: "Patience! They need simplification and quick projects." And those projects are not just the pillow that Pepper Cory teaches in her workshop. "The students make bean bags, pillowcases, totes, zippered pouches, dog chew toys, stuffed animals, drawstring bags, pillowcase dresses, key chains," Sue explained.
You can see the range of projects they created, and watch them come together in this slideshow they put together.
We were curious to know how Pepper Cory felt about being the star over at Carteret High School, so we immediately contacted her for an interview, which she was gracious enough to give us. What she had to say was quite entertaining, and quite interesting. Check it out:
Did your friend let you know ahead of time that she'd be using the Craftsy Sashiko Zen Pillow workshop, or was this a surprise to you?
I had no idea she was going to use my Craftsy [workshop] in her sewing classes! It was a surprise all the way around.
Sewing is not usually associated with the younger generations. But is that just a myth? Have you taught many teens the craft?
Re: "younger generations"--I'm a little surprised at you--you are not keeping up with what's going on! Younger and younger sewers (sometimes they call themselves 'sewists' as in artists) are stitching up a storm. So, yeah, it's a myth that kids aren't sewing or interested in crafts--they're hungry for handwork and welcome the idea that they can make themselves things. The 'only older people sew' thing is a journalist's stereotype, as in, "Grandma sittin' on the porch, rockin' away and stitchin' a quilt..."
We're happy to dispel that myth, so thanks for saying so! Do you think most people should be familiar with sewing, or do you think it should simply be for those who are interested?
Should sewing be for everybody? You bet. Sewing is one of the basic life skills. Ever heard of the Basic 50 list? http://www.marcandangel.com/2008/06/02/50-things-everyone-should-know-how-to-do/. Other than knowing how to fist fight (#8; I prefer the samurai option), and being truly conversational in another language (#26), and sometimes not being the best time manager (#12), I know how to do all the things on that list. But check out #40. Sewing on a button. Men, women, everyone needs basic sewing skills. It keeps you from looking like a slob, avoids embarrassing pants splits, and makes you capable of making things for other people and helping them.
Thanks so much, Pepper!
Come on back to the Craftsy blog tomorrow to learn great tips and tricks for marking your quilts.