I came from a family where the women all knew how to sew, crochet, knit and quilt. I had a needle and thread in my hand as far back as I can remember, but when it came time to "teach me to sew properly" my mother said she wanted me to learn the right way and sent me to the local sewing shop. She signed me up for a 2 week adventure to learn a multitude of techniques and the bonus was to make the ugliest dress known to mankind. This dress had a ruffle, long sleeves with cuffs, darts, zipper up the back and a peter pan collar. I remember thinking this was way too much information for a 9 year old who just wanted design and to make doll clothes and shorts.
My sewing skills grew, took me to college, and into my career. I have used sewing over the years to make people gifts, pay my bills and just to soothe my soul, but the best part about knowing how to sew is sharing my passion with others. I created a quick and easy 1-2-3(needle down/ ski's down/ and then your foot down) learn to sew curriculum for children so they would have sewing as a skill to keep with them throughout their life. I taught hundreds of children to sew using this method. I kept the groups small 6-8 kids at a time and each one made a lap size split rail quilt. I taught them to strive for their perfect not mine since everyone has a different level of what they want from sewing. I let them decide if they were ok with 1/2" seam or 1/4" seam as long as they knew how that would affect the final project.
I have always preferred to have the beginner love to sew and then strive for perfect seam than to start with making the perfect seam be the threshold for going forward. Learning to sew is not hard but there is much to remember and if you get so caught up in perfection you will never enjoy the process. My mother always said perfect is the enemy of done, and that has stuck with me. So I teach to love the seam ripper and refer to it as your best friend, the kind of friend that gets you out of a jam and helps fix everything wrong with your day. At least once per session someone would either rip too far or snip with scissors in a place that could not be repaired in the traditional way. I invented the "Love Patch" for just these times. We would take a scrap of their fabric and cut it into the shape of a heart and stitch it over the "unfixable spot." Everyone in the group would take a stitch or two and share their love with the patch. I had one little girl cut her quilt on purpose so she could have a Love Patch to remember everyone in her group.
I have been blessed with this gift of sewing but my life's goal has always been to share it, either through gifts, costumes, wedding dresses I have made, but mostly through sharing the love of sewing and helping others learn and share it too.
I love the way Susan reaches sewing! I need to adopt some of her sewing philosophies...my mistakes wouldn't seem so daunting if I thought about it in the way Susan does.