Sharing, learning, and connecting

Last night I had a wonderful time teaching a pair of students how to sew a lined drawstring bag at TechShop Chandler. They both had some experience with sewing, and wanted to develop their basic skills so they could expand into new types of projects.

student pressing seams open on drawstring bag
Pressing seams gives crisper, more professional results
student sewing the final seams on his drawstring bag
Sewing the final line of stitches on the bag

When it comes to sharing something I’ve learned or made with others, it brings me such happiness. It’s almost addictive! Last fall I attended a retreat (dubbed “Boss Ladies Retreat”) with some good friends — all smart, introspective, thoughtful, and ambitious women. One of our activities was to explore each of our values and missions. During this exercise, my ever-present tug to teach and share knowledge became much more clarified for me. The most powerful element to this exercise wasn’t listing my values (I had done a lot of thinking on that over the years and felt in touch with them), but rather in how we can put those values into tangible action.

Instead of just writing down what we value, we were challenged to think about how we could incorporate those values into our daily lives and use our personal mission to serve our friends, family, and community. The thing I loved about this was how it took something very lofty and rather vague and turned it into an actionable thing. One of my missions came into focus:

Because I value progress, I live to share what I learn with friends and family to empower them with knowledge that helps provide clarity and leads to growth.

It became clear why I love sharing bits of books with others who express interest in a topic, why I relate something I’ve gone through with someone who seems to be going through something similar…why I like to teach sewing! Being able to empower people with something that helps get them unstuck and moving forward toward their goals feels amazing.

After class, I asked the students what they’re favorite parts of making these bags were. One really liked learning the value of pressing seams. That’s something she’ll be able to carry forward into all of her future projects. The other just really enjoyed constructing something — taking some pieces and making it into something new. They also really liked using slivers of soap to mark their fabrics and how the marks magically disappeared with some steam from the iron.

I look forward to seeing what they come up with next, and meeting more students who are eager to get comfortable in the textiles room.