Thoughts on Creativity and Sewing Education

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Blue Thimble Blog Thoughts on Creativity and Sewing Education

Comments (1) / January 11, 2016 /

Blue Thimble Recommends this great little article from Threads Magazine about Sewing Education

By April M Mohr

It saddens me that sewing isn’t taught in many schools today, and if it is, it’s often taught only to those students who plan to continue their education in areas such as fashion or textile design. Thankfully, there are 4-H, Girl Scouts, and other programs that are filling the void where the schools have slacked off. We do see some signs that sewing is on the upswing. TV shows such as “Project Runway” in the United States and “The Great British Sewing Bee” in England have encouraged the trend, and hopefully will continue to do so.

I wonder if school administrators realize how much more is involved in sewing besides creativity. I teach sewing in a local adult education program, and I often find that the adults (who weren’t offered sewing in school) have difficulty following the directions in the pattern packet. These are intelligent, educated adults. For many of these women, the sewing jargon used in the instructions stopped them cold. They gave up trying to sew before they even began. Following directions–whether to make a garment, to put together an entertainment center, or to hook up a DVD player–is a skill that our kids should practice. Being able to follow directions is critical to ANY employment environment, essential in advanced education, and basic in life.

What about the measuring and math skills that come into play in planning fabric needs, placing a pattern on fabric, adding ease to a garment, understanding body space, and so many other sewing tasks. These are math skills that are far more practical than just rote learning. Too often we don’t think of all the academic learning required to sew a basic garment, bag, or accessory. How much more is involved in being able to construct something more complicated, detailed, embellished, etc. Monica Brinkley, a Country Extension Director in Florida, and the 4-H Youth Development Agent there, is a major advocate for sewing in our schools, and she agrees that there are numerous academic and other side benefits gained while learning to sew that are important skills our children should learn!

Some schools are making good use of their sewing machines in a creative way. Volunteer students in Skaneateles Middle School in New York State stitched new microscope covers for their school’s Science Department. The cost to make a cover for every microscope was equivalent to what they would have paid for one cover from a science supply house! The sewing machines were purchased with a grant from the Skaneateles Education Foundation in 2012. Other students used the same machines to make tablecloths for the Hoedown for Education in October. It’s an annual fundraiser for the Skaneateles Education Foundation–which provided grants for the sewing machines in the first place. That’s what I call “paying it forward”!

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    One Response to " Thoughts on Creativity and Sewing Education "

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