Friday, July 11, 2014

JoAnn Fabric Sewing Class Review: Basics

I decided to use my last free summer to learn a skill I've always wanted to have: sewing. I'm not into reality shows but I always enjoyed watching the creative process on Project Runway. Not sure I'll ever have the vision to create a garment from imagination, but I hope to be able to follow a pattern or at least hem.

This will be a 4-part series as I have signed up for 4 classes: basics, zippers, bear, and skirt. All classes are taken at the store at 4644 W Market St. Greensboro, NC 27407-1285


Previous Experience

The only sewing experience I have is from 7th grade home-ec where we learned to sew pillows. I made lots of pillows for presents after that. It's been so long that I don't even remember how to thread a machine.

Supply List

1 yard cotton fabric
1 yard fusible interfacing
All-purpose thread
Sewing shears
straight pins
pin cushion
seam ripper

Basics Class Description
The Basics Class is 2.5 hours long. The instructor is Anna Berry. I used a 50% off coupon and paid $17.50 for the class. All the materials were supplied for me except for the seam ripper, which I already had.
My free supplies from JoAnn

We were allowed to go out in the store and grab any fabric square we wanted for our project which would be a drawstring bag.

The objectives of the class are:
"Learn basic sewing skills

Sewing machine and tool basics
Sewing seams and terminology"

Basics Class Review

Is the class worth it? Definitely!
There were 3 people in the class, one of which was a pre-teen but she was quiet and polite. Us two adults brought our own machines but our instructor had us use the store's machines first and after we completed our project she helped us familiarize ourselves with our own machines.

The store's machines are NICE! They're fully digital and run about $350. When I got on my machine later I felt like I was using a hunk of junk compared to theirs. 
The store's nice digital sewing machine

 My experience began with threading the bobbin. After that we had 3 sheets of papers to sew. Yes, we sewed printer paper. The first one was straight lines that we just sewed up and down, practicing. Then we sewed a sheet of paper with squares and corners printed on it. Then we sewed a piece of paper with a huge spiral printed on it. Sewing paper is a little harder than fabric, but I appreciated the practice and felt it was a useful exercise.
I had some issues with corners on the paper on the right before I learned how best to do it
 After the paper, we moved on to scrap fabric. The instructor encouraged us to explore the different types of stitches on the machines, which we did. There were some gorgeous stitches on those machines, including one that looked like a vine of flowers. (My personal machine doesn't have that, of course. It's too fancy a stitch.) She showed us how the machine makes button holes as well. The store's fancy machines automatically detect the size of button hole you need.

Then we moved on to the real thing. We ironed our fabric and we started sewing the pouch where our drawstring goes. (step seen in picture above) Then we straight sewed the sides and bottom and we did a fancy zipzag stitch over top of it so it looked nice, even though it's just the inside. We did a fancy thing with the corners to make them angled so the bag isn't flat.
It was hard to capture the hard work I put into the bag in a photograph

I was very pleased with how the class turned out. The instructor was patient and showed us the more intricate steps individually. She was very helpful and I walked out feeling like I had learned a lot. I'm looking forward to my upcoming courses at this location.

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