About a year ago I started my handmade business, Oxford Dogma, where I design and sew accessories for dogs and their loving humans. Without taking the time to develop my sewing skills and gaining confidence at the machine, I don’t think I would have been able to get such a good start with the business.
Since learning these skills has been such a turning point in my life, I decided to explore teaching others to sew as well. My first class was at a local quilt shop teaching students how to draft a custom jacket pattern for their dog and then sew the custom jacket. My next class at the quilt shop is for a dog walking bag — a simple and compact, cross body bag with a handy exterior pocket that dispenses poo bags.
My focus at the quilt shop is sewing for pets, primarily for a community with quite a bit of sewing experience. But I’m also teaching sewing classes at the local makerspace TechShop. The goal with these classes is to help makers feel more comfortable in the textiles room and behind the sewing machine. They often are looking to expand their basic skills and pick up tips for helping achieve their creative goals and projects.
The first class was for a lined drawstring bag. The goal was to work with simple shapes (just several rectangles) and piece them together to create the final project. Basic techniques like joining pieces, pressing seams, and sewing long straight lines were the focus. The experience was really rewarding because I remember well the feeling of learning things that would get me closer to my business goals.
Next up is a heavy duty tool roll. This project is useful on a few levels:
- we’ll be sizing the tool roll based on the students’ tools, so they’ll gain experience sizing fabric pieces
- sewing with heavy fabric like denim presents a unique set of challenges to overcome for successful results
- attaching straps with durable “x box” stitches provides experience making a durable stitch that’s tricky at first, but gets better each time you do it
This class will be held on April 6, 2016, from 6-9 p.m. at TechShop Chandler, in downtown Chandler, Arizona. For more information and to register for this heavy duty tool roll workshop, visit the TechShop class page.