Tuesday, January 10, 2012

D.I.Y. Project Week - inspired by Mollie Makes Magazine

I am a teacher at a San Francisco high school.  Between the 2 semesters we have an interim course period of about a week where teachers can teach a class to 18 students.  The courses range from Iron Chef, Dorm room cooking, Physics of Sledding and Yoga.  This was my first year doing the program.  Inspired by Mollie Makes Magaine http://molliemakes.themakingspot.com  I created a D.I.Y Project Runway class to teach students how to sew (basic sewing machine use) and make accessories.  We started with a coffee cup cuff, moved on to a wallet - inspired by one one of the articles in Molli Makes.  Then I let them loose to be creative and use a variety of magazines and books I have from Tida Finnager's books to, yes, Mollie Makes magazines, and Altered Couture.  I am so proud of my students.  90% of them have never sewn before in their lives!  I had 15 girls and 3 boys. 

Note:  Because I didn't get permission from their parents to use their images, I am only going to show their products.  Cheers!
Coffee cup cuff.

This student took a tank top and used it as a pattern and created this bag.

Clutch with applique.

Drawstring bag all done by hand.

Zippered bag.  Hey, I never showed them how to set a zipper...they figured it out themselves!
There were more things that they made Infinity scraves, messenger bags, belts and all but I wasn't able to get pictures of those.  I had 5 days to teach them to sew and though not everything was done with a 'professional' eye the students learn something and had fun with it.  In the U.S. or at least in California, many schools do not teach home economics anymore.  One funding is not there for it.  Secondly, no one is coming out of college to teach home economics anymore and you have to have credentials to teach it in the public schools.  So, I thought this would be a great way to get young people into something different - thrift it and make it.

This project was done on mostly donations.  I got a lot of the fabric and notions as donations from parents and the community.  Teachers and parents and students lent their sewing machines.  Of all the sewing machines we had one worked the best an old 1960's Singer.  Amazing, right?  All the others kept breaking down and were too sensitive for use. 

Now with that said, I plan to do this next year but get another teacher to help me and we may break it up to more crafting and will include sewing, knitting, embroidery, jewelry making it but the premise will be thrift it then make it.



  1. Those projects are really cool and so fun to do! :-)



    1. Thanks! My kids were so excited and I have one gal who never knew how to sew and she went straight home to ask for her own machine! Hey if we can get a new generation of sewers and creative people going I am all for it. Thanks for visiting. ag