For Christmas this year, I sewed my mom a set of reversible napkins and placemats from Amy Butler’s “In Stitches” book. I’d never sewn before other than in seventh grade home ec class, where I made a duffel bag. With help from the DVD that came with my sister’s sewing machine, YouTube, and Dave, I was able to make a really nice gift. Not perfect, but a lot better than I expected! Even though I had one project under my belt, I wanted to take a beginning sewing class to get some official instruction.
My first sewing class was at Joann Fabrics and this was even before I made the napkins and placemats. It was so long ago, I don’t remember the title of the class and their website is of no help (and it’s really slow loading, ever try to use their store locator function? Bring a book!). It was a very basic class, one evening for 2 or 3 hours and we didn’t even make anything despite the fact that you’re required to bring a yard of fabric and a yard of interfacing to the class. I would avoid taking classes at Joann’s.
My second sewing class that I took was at Haberman Fabrics and was called “So You Want to Learn How to Sew.” The class is described as:
Are you “sewing illiterate”? If so, this class is for you. This hands on course is to provide you with the necessary sewing machine skills for all of our beginner-level classes. You will learn about stitch settings, machine threading, and bobbin winding. At the end of the course you will walk away with an apparel or home dec project. You will also be taught about notions, interfacings, and sewing patterns.
After teaching myself the basics, this class was way too basic for me. Also, it wasn’t run very efficiently. With 10 students and only one rotary cutter, it took around 2 hours for everyone to get the material cut to size for our placemats or table runners. That’s right, 2 hours for cutting rectangles! And we didn’t even finish our projects and we never talked about notions, interfacings, or sewing patterns. It was really disappointing. Though I do feel I was able to reinforce the skills I learned by helping others thread their machines and wind bobbins.
Haberman Fabrics is a wonderful resource for purchasing decor and apparel fabrics, but I think I would avoid their classes in the future. Maybe their more advanced classes or a different instructor would help, but based on my experience, I probably wouldn’t return for classes.
My most recent class was at Nonpareil in Ann Arbor and my experience was FABULOUS! I took the Fundamentals of Sewing II, which is described as:
For those who have already taken Fundamentals I, or who already have some knowledge, but may need a refresher. You will learn how to read a pattern, how to choose the correct fabric for your project, stitch a hem, and all about different seam finishes. An elastic waisted pajama pant with drawstring will be constructed. 2 sessions.
I’ve been wanting to sew pajama pants forever, it’s even on my life list! So this class was perfect. The space was large, enough equipment for all of us, and the instructor, Michelle Moenssen, was wonderful. Michelle is very knowledgeable and skilled and she really knows how to explain things well. I’m already looking forward to taking my next class, Beginning Fitted Garment Construction, and I wish I would have taken the Sewing Fundamentals I. I would highly recommend taking classes at Nonpareil.