Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 17, 2013

Sew much fun

Free sewing lessons to begin next month

Lee Ward
The Independent

ASHLAND — Like many women, Claudine Williamson learned to sew from her mother.

Her education continued when she joined the Master Volunteers in Clothing Construction in Greenup County.

“I’ve learned a lot from them,” she said. In fact, she now is one of four who will teach a free series of beginning sewing classes next month at the Greenup County Extension office.

“We start out teaching the parts of the sewing machine and how to take care of it, what you should have in your sewing basket,” she said. “Then, we teach the different seams and hems and how to sew a button on and zippers.”

Eventually, she and fellow teachers Joan Litteral, Rita Spence and Ann Howard will lead the class in making such items as pillowcases, aprons and curtains.

Williamson, who started teaching in 2004, said classes start with 18 or 19; as the series continues, attendance dwindles.

“It can be frustrating at first,” she said. “But you end up with most of them.”

The instructors agree that sewing seemed to nearly become a lost art, but they said they see a resurgence of interest.

Howard, who owned The Sewing Basket in Raceland with her daughter-in-law, said sewing is “a big thing.”

“Especially quilting,” she said. “Young girls are wanting to learn to sew.”

Litteral, who has taught in the Master Volunteers program since 1994, said she thinks the new technology in sewing might be stimulating interest.

“It’s probably the new sewing machines that are so nice and have so many features and are so much fun to work with,” she said, noting quilting has “come back into style.”

In addition, many people want to make their children’s clothing to save money and making decorative items for the home also is an area of interest. She said many young people are passionate about recycling and repurposing and sewing gives them another technique to apply toward those goals.

Williamson said many students want to learn to repair their own clothing.

“We had a gentleman who came to learn how to hem his pants because his wife couldn’t do it,” Williamson said. “We had some home-schooled children who came in to learn how to sew. We’ve had a lot of different students.”

Students of the beginning class will be asked to bring their sewing machine with instruction manual (machine must be in good working condition). Other supplies they must bring include thread, bobbin for machine, tape measure, pins, pencil and zigzag foot, if applicable.

Most Master Volunteer in Sewing Construction teachers learned to sew as a child, but all experience “sewing boot camp” at Jabez, where a 4-H training center provides nearly weeklong sessions to get seamstresses ready to teach.

“You sew from daylight until dark,” Litteral said. “They teach you the easiest way to do things and new techniques and tools and how to present the lessons.”Master Volunteers in Clothing Construction will offer a free series of beginning sewing classes in March. Classes will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 5, 12, 19 and 29 at the Greenup County Extension office at 35 Wurtland Ave. in Wurtland. Participants must register by Friday and may do so by calling the extension office at  (606) 836-0201.