Our first day of sewing was a huge success! The day was a bit more structured than some of the other activities we've been doing, in order to make sure the makers understand both the safety measures necessary and the operational basics for using our sewing machines. We started out with a threading demonstration, and then the makers worked in pairs to thread the rest of the machines. This buddy system worked well throughout the day-- an extra pair of eyes watching that needle never hurts! After another brief demonstration of how to actually use the machines, the makers took turns practicing on some scrap material. Favorite feature so far: the reverse function.
Then it was time for the makers to think about their first project: a pillow in a shape of their choosing, but with a few specific elements included: a straight line, a curve, and an angle. Most of the kids incorporated these elements into the outside shape of their pillows, but Vincent is making a rectangular pillow and using the machine to create a curvy, embroidered design on the front side. We got as far as patterns and pinning, and hope to finish up by the end of next week's meeting.
It was fascinating to watch how quickly the makers took to these machines. Within a matter of minutes, the kids quickly figured out how much pressure to apply to the foot pedals, how to use their hands to guide, not pull, the fabric through, and what "bad" pulling felt like if the thread knotted up. Everyone got a turn at the machines, with their partners (and Kelsey and I) watching closely to monitor things like hand placement, speed, and needle and presser foot starting position. The makers showed that they understand the safety concerns of the sewing machines and take them just as seriously as we do. We're excited to see how everyone's projects turn out next week, and to start exploring other projects to make with these machines!