“I don’t sew”

“I don’t sew” said one of the boys in my art for disengaged youth class.”Hmm”, I said. “Do you mean you can’t sew, you don’t know how to sew, or you don’t want to sew?” “I suppose all of those” he replied. “I’m here to teach you how to sew if you want to learn. What will you do when you move out of home and the buttons fall off your shirt?” I asked. “I’ll just buy a new shirt” he answered. “Okay, perhaps you might like to draw instead.” As he started drawing, the others got to work, designing patterns, picking fabric, cutting and sewing. They were having fun, comparing designs and chosen materials. Most made up their own patterns but the lizard and waving monster were patterns from a book called softies 22 friends for you to sew,knit and crochet. He quietly said, “I suppose I may as well do one of those things”. “Great, let’s get you started”. You can see Mr I Don’t Sew’s work in the final photograph. I thought it was rather wonderful, and I think, so did he.

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44 thoughts on ““I don’t sew”

  1. Result 🙂
    What a fun creative project Jen . I particularly like the cheeky face on the softie of your newly inspired Mr I don’t Sew !
    Lovely to see your blog post sat there in my inbox this morning x

  2. What a success story! I love that you let the student come to do the sewing themselves. And all the final creatures have such wonderful personalities and character 🙂

    • Well, the needles I brought in had tiny eyes which my eyes had great difficulty seeing. Luckily two of the girls in the class had good needle threading skills. I did have to do quite a lot of knot unthreading though!

  3. What a lovely post, it brought a huge smile on my face! This is a good reminder that every one of us is able to do great things if we just forget the boundaries we’ve set for ourselves. Sometimes all it takes is someone to give a gentle nudge to the right direction. 🙂

    Adore all the monsters & other friends! 🙂

    • You are so right about setting boundaries for ourselves. One thing I really like about myself as I’m getting older, is that I’m less afraid of what others might think. I remember being almost frozen with fear as a teen that I would look silly! Thank you for your lovely comment 🙂

  4. This is great! I think I’ll have a “sewing class” (I don’t sew! Well, not very well, anyway!) with my teenagers…. they truly need to learn at least how to sew on a button! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • The lovely thing was with this project, was that the sewing didn’t have to be perfect. I think the little wonky bits add a lot of character to the softies. You’ve just reminded me, I don’t think my own boys know how to sew on a button! Time for a class at my house 🙂

      • I agree the no need for perfection allowed the creativity to shine through. Funny how that happens…we have an expression in French that translates to: the poorly shod shoemaker or more precisely “the shoemaker’s children are poorly shod or shoeless”! So, you better give that little lesson soon! 😉

  5. What a beautiful story! I am in awe of the beautiful creations that the children made. It looks like Mr. I Don’t Sew has a real talent for sewing after all! Of course, with help from a very talented teacher. Keep up the amazing work, lovely! xo

    • It’s a bit of a battle sometimes trying to think of things that might grab them. Sometimes I think of an idea that I think they will love and it turns out to be a disaster, so I have to abandon it. I’ve found the best thing is to ask them what they’d like to do. The problem is, so many of these kids have flown under the radar for so long that they don’t like to speak up. I throw around ideas until one of them grabs one.

  6. Jen, I agree w/ the above that you are an inspiring and insightful teacher. By the looks of Mr. I don’t sew’s project – it looks awesome for a true beginner, especially! I hope you continue to post the wonderfully creative work of both you and your students!

  7. Jen – nice to see your blogs again. So glad that you encourage the students to try stepping out of what they think they do and don’t do. I think their projects are all so much fun. Hooray for I don’t sew, does sew.

  8. He did OK because he had a good teacher who clearly knows a thing or two about adolescent psychology. You’re doing great work, Jen, in more ways than one. It’s a pleasure to know you. : )

    • It’s been a steep learning curve having this group Mark, learning when to nudge and when to leave alone, they are teaching me a thing or two…
      Thanks for all your encouragement!

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