How I Became A Sewing Teacher

Life is funny! I never in my wildest dreams thought I would make a career out of teaching people how to sew. Writing this post has been a big trip down memory lane for me. I have really wonderful memories from my very first sewing workshop back in 2004, but things have changed a lot around here and I've learned so much about having a successful sewing studio in the last 15 years.

to be honest, Sewing wasn’t even on my radar until about 6 months of working in the real world, post college.

Actually Wait – I take that back. I did learn to sew as a kid. I learned in my 4-H group in rural upstate New York. In fact I even showed sewing projects at the county and state fair, if you can believe that. But I guess I lost interest as a teen, because there was absolutely no sewing for me in High School or College! I didn’t even really think about it.

Then after leaving college, I had a job lined up at an advertising agency in New York all lined before I even graduated. I graduated college, moved to NYC and started my new job at Ogilvy & Mather on June 1st. I was ready to work! Ready to be in the real world! Ready to be in New York City! I had these crazy dreams of climbing the corporate ladder.

And I’ll be honest, I am giggling thinking about it now.

It didn’t take long for me to see that this was not the life for me. 

About 6 months into the new gig, I was home visiting my parents, who still lived in rural upstate NY at the time. 

For whatever reason I saw my moms old singer sitting there in my childhood home. I think I was just craving creativity so badly that I snatched it from the house and brought it back to my little apartment in Hoboken. 

I honestly don’t even think I told my mom. I just took it. 

Even though she NEVER used it, I guess figured she wouldn’t let me take it if I asked, so I snuck it out. Even though I was working in the real world and making a real paycheck, it wasn’t very much money that I was making working in advertising there were no extra funds to buy myself a sewing machine. So I stole my moms. 

After I confiscated my mom’s sewing machine, I started bag making business. I sold customized bags online, and this was back before the days of Etsy. I found out pretty quickly that I absolutely cherished the entrepreneurial lifestyle. I loved my little bag business, but knew it wasn’t something I could do forever. I basically got to the point that if I wanted to grow my bag business I’d need to stop making all the bags myself. I loved to sew, but this fairly successful business venture I had started was making me not love sewing as much because I was doing it morning, noon and night filling bag orders from my website.

While running my little bag biz, I kept getting questions from people who saw my bags about how to sew. They’d ask me how I learned to sew? Would I be willing to teach them how to sew? I guess that’s what got me thinking about teaching sewing to other people. 

And That’s pretty much all it took.

THAT is how I became a sewing teacher. It wasn’t anything I set out to do. As with most things in my life, I kind of just ended up doing it. 

But at this point I knew teaching others how to sew was definitely the business opportunity I couldn’t refuse. Making bags other people took a lot of time. It was lonely tedious work, making things I didn’t even necessarily like. AND I couldn’t charge as much. 

But with my first bag making workshop, I could charge people $50 for a bag, we’d spend 2 hours together. I could have 6-8 people at a time doing a workshop and then after the workshop, the work was done. 

I didn’t have a clue what I was doing in that very first class. But everyone learned how to make a bag. Everyone brought home a project they were EXTREMELY proud of. And I loved every minute of teaching them!

Along the way I have learned SEW much about teaching others how to sew. I have to admit, I probably wasn’t really that qualified to teach anyone how to sew when I began. Aside from a few sewing lessons in my 4-H club when I was around 11, I was pretty much self taught. I would spend HOURS on the sewing machine figuring things out. Making things over and over again. There was NO YOU TUBE at this time! Can you even imagine life without youtube?

But what I did have was the gift of ignorance and a little bit of guts. Like all good entrepreneurs I faked it until I made it. And I am SEW glad I did. Along the way, I have probably taught close to 1000 people how to sew.


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