What girls want....

Girls have discriminating taste.  I know this now as I've been exposed for the first time to groups (hoards, flocks, gaggles?) of young ladies with my new job.  This is the job I've been wanting so badly to talk about but needed to wait until until the right time to go public.  It's also partially to blame for my not being around so much in the blogging world.

I landed a job as a sewing instructor!  As you may know this is something I said I was interested in doing a few years ago and I've been jumping from one stepping stone to the next working my way to this goal.  A few months back I placed an ad on craigslist looking for private sewing students and was contacted about being an instructor in a new sewing school that was to be opening in the fall.  Cool right?

Classes don't officially get rolling until mid September but we've been doing some tester classes and I've been working on sample projects.  So far the students look to be mostly between 2nd and 6th grade girls but eventually we'll get some adult classes going as well.

One of the projects I've made recently that's been a big hit is the stuffed horse from Simplicity 2921.  The first one I made was from fleece and I was thinking I'd make it somewhat realistic. 
Girls love horses right?  Yes...  and no.  Apparently what we have here is a boy horse, and while girls like boy horses also what they really like is girl horses?  Girl horses to my surprise have pink hair and very often have horns and are called unicorns, hence the photo on the pattern envelope.  Well, with my new knowledge of how a horse should be I went home and sewed up another example.  This time I sprung for the twice the price pink hair and I used fabrics from the school stash.  I was surprised to find that I don't actually have any girl fabric, old lady yes, girl no.  Girls like pink or otherwise bright colors.  

Here's some of the other sample projects I've made up for the school:

Today I have quite a few sewing projects to work on.  Derian is a teacher and does the shirt and tie thing for work.  Earlier this summer I promised him that we could make him his very own custom shirt pattern and shirts.  I was thinking I would just take one of his existing shirts and use it as a base pattern.  School is now only a week away and still no pattern or shirts for that matter.  The other day I had him put on one of his best fitting shirts and was horrified at how badly it fit.  Unfortunately I'm not going to get much of anything from those it seems.  So far I've made up two muslins from the Wild Ginger software, the first was really big, the second was skin tight.  Today I'm planning on no more than three more tests before we have a wearable shirt.  Keep in mind he's like I used to be, if it doesn't hurt, it must fit.  I can continue to refine the pattern after we get him a working model.

I'm also planning on making that cute little elephant and maybe the lamb from the Simplicity pattern.  Something else I did that was a first for me when I made the horse, I interfaced my pattern pieces!  Usually I don't intend on using a pattern that often but I figured since these are such small pieces and I plan on cutting them a few times I should try it out.  Wow!!  so awesome!  I used all interfacing scrapes and it worked out great, besides the pieces I fused to the wrong sides of the pattern...   woops!

Oh here's a video, I've been having a terrible time with video lately.  Something changed on my computer in the last three months and it caused my audio to record slower than video.  This is a big pain but I finally found a work around.  I've shot this video like 20 times before I got it to work so it ended up being pretty casual in the end.  I do talk about how I do my horse hair and mostly babble on about other stuff.

18 comments :: What girls want....

  1. Brian i think lil girls would like pillow cases, aprons or a book bag as a starting project! Good luck with the the sewing lessons, sounds exciting.

  2. How utterly exciting to teach sewing! Something I have thought about but wondered if there would be enough interest. I am eager to learn of your success with this endeavor and of what you have learned from the girls.

    Please, please do not consider the following as a criticism but more of a discussion. My first thought of the horse, besides being adorable and full of creative options, was that the pattern was too sophisticated for tiny hands; too many and too small pieces. I think it may also be difficult for their minds eye to wrap around the look of the pattern pieces and how they would become a horse. I think this may be what Mz.Choize was alluding to when she suggested pillow cases, aprons or a book bag, although I certainly do not want to put words in her mouth!

    I am starting to teach my 7 year old granddaughter and we are starting with extremely simple patterns of aprons, shorts, tops, purses, etc. She has already made pillows and knows how to sew a straight line. Most of all, she loves to drape my dress form though! Her delight in using winter gloves as epaulets was innovative and caused her to run around the house and collect items for embellishment!

  3. You are right about the horses with hairy feet: http://www.nipnet.dk/billedbureau.asp?foto_ID=niels-dk_1520.jpg&titel_DK=Bryggerhest%20vaskes%20p%C3%A5%20Carlsberg&titel_UK=Washing%20the%20dray%20horse%20at%20Carlsberg%20Visitor%20Centre

  4. I watched your video last Friday and really enjoyed it! Congrats on your move and your new job, it sounds really really cool! I enjoyed the discussion of the hair. I was wondering where you bought it and how it wasn't falling out and I understand now.

  5. Also I thought it was clever how you cut the hair into two sections. Great job on both horses!

  6. When I was at my academy (from 12 years old until 18 years old) - the first thing we had to sew at age 12) was a RIDICULOUS elf, out of felt, and I'm not sure we were allowed to use the machines. I think we had to hand sew it.

    The next sewing project was a cushion. We had to choose between a round or square, basic cushion, or a heart-shaped, lace-edge stuffed cushion. I chose that heart shape because I wanted to know about attaching the lace.

    I think our teachers wouldn't have been able to cope with all the questions we'd've had, had she given us a horse project.

    I agree, I think the horse ROCKS, but ffor that age it may be a bitty on the tricky side.

    Please let us all know how they get on with it, should you go ahead with it.

    Maximum respect!


  7. Super cute horse, and I agree that the hair gives it the "wow" factor. :) As a former 9-year old girl I also got excited when I saw the fur over the hooves.

    I have to admit when I first saw it that I thought it might be challenging for young girls. But then I thought about what I chose to sew when I was that age. I made doll clothes for Barbie and stuffed animals. Talk about tiny seams and tight corners. And I never worried about dexterity or whether my projects were at the right level of difficulty.

    I think that if you are exciting about making something, you will enjoy the project and finish it.

    Some of your students might become frustrated, though. For those kids, perhaps it would be helpful to have a simpler back-up project and give them the option to switch if they want to.

  8. Hey, didn't you say you wanted something like this?


  9. This goes to the shirt issue... David Page Coffin has a book out by Interweave Press on shirtmaking. Based on articles I've read by him and a phone convo I once had with him about an article in the magazine, way back in pre-email days, I would say it is probably a GREAT resource and you might want to go find it somewhere...

  10. Brian,
    I love your website and have been logging on daily to read your machine reviews.
    I have a question, since you have used so many machines, I want a machine that can work with jean and heavy canvas - any suggestions? Any advice would be great.
    Love the Jeans you made and really LOVE the shirts made from Sheets.

  11. I miss you! You haven't posted in a while!

  12. Hi Brian, your Bernina 117 is listed on Ebay. Wow-that price!

  13. Just checking in Mr. Very Interesting but Sporadic Blogger.

  14. David Coffin has published a brilliant book on making shirts - pattern and all. I sold mine a few years ago unfortunately and I've regretted it since. http://www.amazon.com/Shirtmaking-David-Page-Coffin/dp/1561582646/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1293133415&sr=1-1

  15. Happy New Year, Brian!

  16. What girls want...is to see an update from you! I hope you're well and will post soon!

  17. Hi!...I just found your blog and am excited to read you are pursuing your teaching goals. This quick note is to recommend some animal patterns that will be easily sewn by your new students. There are many types of animals to choose from, and they are all beautifuly drafted and go together in less than an hour or so.

    I made the mouse (now appropriately named
    'Eeek') for my grandson at Xmas, and it went together so easily I have been dying to recommend the line to my fellow sewists. Check out Carols Zoo ( http://carolszoo.com/patterns/index.htm ). (I've also sewn the Hippo...)

    Most patterns have only 2 pieces and her site also sells fabric and notions (eyes, noses) for the critters. Please post again soon....I would love to hear how your projects are going...


  18. Did Derian ever get his shirts? ;) I'm currently trying to finish a shirt for my husband using the pattern we adjusted to fit him the way he liked. Hopefully before he gets home from work!

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