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The Apprentice is Teaching Me!
And in the beginning......
a7yrstitch
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a7yrstitch  Friend of PR
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Date: 7/20/13 1:32 PM

One of the young neighborhood teens is working for me, short term, to earn money for church camp. She is scheduled to do light chores and be a sewing apprentice. I'm a softie so she only did apprentice work last week.

I thought she might enjoy a break from cutting and pressing patterns and brought out some fabric for her to cut for a muslin. I quickly realized that this would be a learning experience for me to.

I don't know how much I'll be able to report before I lose my apprentice to summer camp but some things might be helpful to someone who is just beginning.

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I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

a7yrstitch
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Date: 7/20/13 2:01 PM

The Apprentice (let's call her Tia) was uncomfortable using a cutting table and cutting mat. I was surprised as Tia has a little bit of experience. Tia had been shown how to lay the fabric on the ironing board, place the pattern piece on top, press both together and then pin. I was able to ease Tia into using the cutting board by explaining the times when it would be impractical to use the ironing board.

We found the straight grain of the fabric and measured off of the established straight grain to the straight grain line marked on the pattern. The pattern pieces were short so a pin towards either end of the grain line was sufficient to keep the pattern piece aligned while fully pinning.

Tia lifted the pattern and fabric off of the table to insert the pins. When the piece was fully pinned the pattern paper was no longer flat and was a bit misaligned. Truly, it would have been okay-ish for my plus size muslin, but not okay for working on a finished garment. And definitely not okay for working on a much smaller size garment with a much smaller percentage of ease. This was when I decided that I would be learning some things too. It is easy to forget about the learning process after decades of sewing.

We worked on pinning the fabric while leaving it flat on the table, gently weaving the pin in and then up causing minimal disturbance to the fabric. And pinning with just the right space to leave the pattern piece unpinched.

We pinned the details with more pins around areas that might shift when cutting, fewer pins in long uninterrupted stretches.

We covered not pinning across the cutting line.





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I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

a7yrstitch
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a7yrstitch  Friend of PR
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Date: 7/20/13 2:08 PM

This is the pattern, V8020. I've chosen it to use for making fitted shells. It has become harder to find a good quality knit shell so I have a need. And a fitted shell is an economical palette for beautiful discounted end cuts.

I hadn't intended for Tia to cut a muslin for me but thought she might like a change from cutting and pressing patterns. Again, I learned quite a bit.

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I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

a7yrstitch
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Date: 7/20/13 2:21 PM

V8020 is helping me to understand the frustrations of new sewers. I chose it for Tia to cut so I could compare it to the 'old' Vogue patterns. I don't particularly pay attention to a pattern anymore so it was helpful to look at along with a new sewer.

No marked seam allowances! It shouldn't matter but it made me realize that looking at marked seam allowances for years and years gave me an 'eye' for knowing what a seam allowance is.

To me, a marked seam allowance on a more basic pattern also makes it easier to adjust the seam allowance for different sewing methods.

No marked seam allowances means no marked seam intersection points. Sometimes that is a very handy point to mark on the fabric to lend precision to a finished garment.

You can mark some of these things on the pattern yourself but this certainly gives me a clearer picture on the frustrations that some beginners are experiencing.

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I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

a7yrstitch
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Date: 7/20/13 2:24 PM

The instructions..........

Bah humbug! Two pages of instructions in two languages. I explained to Tia that years ago that pattern would have had about six pages of instruction. It would have concisely explained all detail work and there would have been a Vogue label included in the envelope to stitch into the garment to complete it.

Thank goodness you newbies have the Internet! And, of course, good (and great) reference materials.
-- Edited on 7/21/13 6:55 PM --

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I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

a7yrstitch
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Date: 7/20/13 2:48 PM

The tissue......

Thinner, of course, to save money. Fewer markings.

Okay, I have two big complaints on things that a beginner might not pick up on.

First, all of the different neckline treatments use the same back pieces and front side bodice panel pieces. A newbie might not realize that each successive use of those pieces could lead to a very slightly smaller cut each time. I am not typically a tracer, especially on deeply discounted patterns (last of the 1.99's on this one) but any plans to make multiple views on this pattern would cause me to trace to maintain accuracy with each successive cut.

This, this....., this has me really feeling for newbies.

The side bodice panels have all three sizes on one pattern piece. There should be three different versions; one for each size.

Why? If a beginner directly cuts the largest size of the side bodice panel pieces, they will cut away a portion necessary for smaller sizes.

I'm going with the idea that a newbie may want to cut a larger size for a beginning muslin just to be able to play with the fit. Again, this is teaching me about some frustrations that newbies might be experiencing. And, again, this is a case where pattern tracing could be helpful while trying to hone in on a correct final fit.

Maybe I haven't looked with 'newbie' eyes before but this may be my first experience with a major pattern piece that, if cut to the largest size, would be unusable for smaller sizes.

Tia's time was up for the day so I skirted around the issue by carefully folding back the tissue markings for the smaller size and cutting the outer bodice bust curve. We'll discuss that next week with the options of carefully folding back the pattern or tracing the pattern.
-- Edited on 7/21/13 6:58 PM --

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I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

Sonoma33
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In reply to a7yrstitch <<
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Date: 7/20/13 3:07 PM

This apprenticeship makes me very very happy. Awesome! I am excited to follow along.

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Berninas 830LE ♥ Artista 630PQE ♥ 930 Record ♥ Juki TL2010Q ♥ Pfaffs Creative Performance ♥ Passport 2.0 ♥ Singers 221 ♥ 301 ♥ 500a ♥ Kenmore 1040 ♥ Elna 'Grasshopper' ♥ Tacsew T500 ♥ Babylock Evolution

a7yrstitch
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Date: 7/20/13 3:07 PM

My original plan had been to have Tia trace my first ever Style Arc pattern as a break from cutting and pressing other patterns. I am glad I had her go hands on with cutting a muslin first.

Also happy that I chose just the bodice of V8020 over a full length KoKo Beall caftan or dress first.

I suppose this might seem a bit boring but it was really fascinating for me to have my eyes opened on challenges that a newbie faces.

Tia has a love of fabric and has already been handling and oohing and ahhing over scraps so we discuss whatever we can about those in relationship to the patterns that are out. Her fabric exposure has been at JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby.

I'm curious about what I will learn from Tia next week. Since our time is limited I will probably keep her on pattern prep and muslin cutting. I have already explained to her why I chose not to prewash the current muslin fabric. So, I guess I had better cover prewashing too. If she gets comfortable I may throw a stripe her way so we can explore pattern matching.

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I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

Sonoma33
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Date: 7/20/13 4:30 PM

I wish someone had done this for me as a teen. This is a gift of a lifetime--truly. My mother and I are so different. She can't handle the mess of sewing or other crafts, so while she did a bit of sewing when I was very young, and a few quilts later, as I got old enough to be interested her OCD kicked in to the point where she couldn't deal with the mess or time to complete things and she gave it all up.

Now my mom marvels at my quilts--she says I am way more of a perfectionist than she realized (and my quilts are far from perfect) but she won't/can't pick up the hobby herself. Instead she wants me to make things for her. But I hesitate to make her anything to her specs (I'm happy for her to take things I've already made) because she is soooo picky, that the chance of her being happy with it once it is done is slim and I don't want to put myself in that position.

If I had been able to work with a neighbor or relative on sewing or knitting, or other ventures related to textiles, I think my life would have taken an entirely different path. I love textiles and I love this type of craft and had I realized it at a younger age it would have been in my life much earlier and probably as a career path. Now I'm trying to learn these lessons in my 40's that you are teaching a young teen. You can see her enthusiasm for fabric and learning.

This is a gift. A rare and valuable gift that I'm guessing she will treasure forever.
-- Edited on 7/20/13 4:31 PM --

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Berninas 830LE ♥ Artista 630PQE ♥ 930 Record ♥ Juki TL2010Q ♥ Pfaffs Creative Performance ♥ Passport 2.0 ♥ Singers 221 ♥ 301 ♥ 500a ♥ Kenmore 1040 ♥ Elna 'Grasshopper' ♥ Tacsew T500 ♥ Babylock Evolution

AnneM
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Date: 7/20/13 4:33 PM

Great topic to put in this forum, a7yrstitch. You will cover a lot of points that can help new sewers out.

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With a great wardrobe that's still in the flat-fabric stage.

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