Learning something new requires patience to stop the beginners anxiety schedule that hinders success on the first try. I should know, I am an expert at failing the first time – like when I started learning to play the bodhran.
This past year I have started teaching a few community sewing classes. The youngest student was 8 and the oldest … well, a lot older. Recently I started teaching a small group of teen girls and decided it was time to pull out some of the technical skill sheets that I hated when taking 4-H in grade 6. Although I learned a lot in that year, I also decided that I didn’t like sewing. When I took it up again five years later and enjoyed it I determined to never make someone start sewing with boring things like sample sheets. I decided that I would teach through projects rather than regimented scraps of fabric. It is eight months since I started and I am finally now coming to terms with the value of small sample scraps as well as something fun to take home. In addition to specific sewing skills, I am making the girls go slow. I am teaching them how to breath and focus on the fabric in hand and peddle under foot so that they will have the emotional and mental stability to sew a straight seam the first time.
Success with sewing begins with learning the patience to take it slow. Slow down when you lose focus. Slow down when you get frustrated. Slow down to line up the fabric. Slow down to control the speed and outcome. Slow down to keep your mind on the first step even when the second step doesn’t make sense yet. My sewing students get to see success and trouble-shoot problems faster because they are learning to take it slow. They get to see success because they are learning technical skill. Somehow they are loving it!