Sewing and Hand Placement

I took a couple of sewing classes as a teenager, and they are the reason why I will probably never take a sewing class again. For starters, I never wanted to make the projects that we had been assigned — I already had three pairs of pajama pants that I had sewn, so why should I have to make more? To make it worse, the teacher wouldn’t let me work on the more advanced projects that I was interested in, even though I was handling that satin fabric just fine and not asking for any help. The sewing classes were so distasteful to me that I stopped sewing altogether for a few years.

Sometimes now I wish that I hadn’t taken those classes. In some ways those classes have delayed me from learning new techniques. I remember, for instance, that the teacher had told us to never put our hands behind the presser foot while sewing. In front of it was ideal, to the side was okay, but never, EVER, in back — she’d admonish anyone she caught with their hand resting on the fabric behind the presser foot. I stuck with this approach for a long time, and always felt like I was one stitch away from drunken swerving, until one day I decided “To hell with it!” and started placing my hands wherever I felt like I had the most control over the fabric. Usually that means a finger, or even an entire hand, behind the presser foot.

So, I strongly prefer independent study over structured lessons. Sure, it requires a lot more self-motivation and I don’t have anyone that I can immediately go to for help when I run into a problem, but this way I don’t have to make any more pajama pants. Or wait for the rest of the class to finish their projects before I’m allowed to start my next. The benefits of independent study are much more suited to me.

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3 thoughts on “Sewing and Hand Placement

  1. I agree heartily, everyone has a different learning style and your experience could have put you off sewing for life. I am so glad it didn’t. I guide the fabric from behind the footer. :-)

  2. I don’t understand people’s problem with having a hand behind the presser foot. I think wherever you need to put your hands to feel as though you are in control of what you’re working on, do it! I often have one hand behind and one hand in front, if it’s a large project like a blanket. Glad you didn’t give up sewing altogether!

  3. You a bit scared me, coz I start as a self employed like teacher of sewing craft.
    I’m in the begining, but I hope that will be good. Well childrens are different from adults.

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