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An Amy Butler Bag and Teaching

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Some unexpected news for me – I got a job offer to teach a sewing class over at Remnants:fiber[culture], a quilting/fabric store not far away from my house.

My first class will start on June 8th and I’ll be teaching how to sew this monster size tote bag, Amy Butler’s Spice Market Tote pattern.

Spice Market Tote

I’ve never taught a real class before so I’m going to try my best to be prepared. I recently talked about teaching my friend how to sew and what a new experience that was for me. Any advice for teaching a group?

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Anyway, as for the bag itself – it’s huge! And I was in for a big surprise when I started working with this pattern. I’ve never used an Amy Butler pattern before so I couldn’t believe when it called for two layers of interfacing on each exterior and interior panel! That’s four layers on each side of the bag!

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There’s an interior pocket (the pattern calls for two but I only made one) that’s also pretty roomy. The bag even has a cool false bottom that stiffens up the base of the bag but you could take it out if you want to throw the bag in the wash.

***Ok, I also need to mention this: I know I announced that I was going to NYC in May and wanted to meet up with some people. Well, now it looks like that plan is scrapped. No NYC for Dixie. 🙁 Sorry all! I really wanted to meet a bunch of you and I’ve already emailed some to say the bad news. I’m hoping I’ll get another opportunity to go soon but if so I’ll make sure my tickets are already bought before I get too excited. Thanks!

Comments (26) for post “An Amy Butler Bag and Teaching”

  • Teaching a class is a lot of fun. I recently started teaching and I can only advice you to manage time for yourself and the group. And you can always make smaller groups within the big group (according to sewing speed…).
    Good luck! The bag looks fabulous, so great outcome shouldn’t be a problem 🙂 Oh and when they are at beginner level, you’ll have to explain literally everything, even how much thread to leave on the machine after you snip it…
    Last question: which fabric is that gorgeous fabric on the inside of the bag?

  • Hi Dixie,

    I have some advice about teaching (but I teach 7th graders so you’ll have to use your own judgement for how much you want to use my tips). First, tell them something about yourself and you as a sewist. People want to connect to you and feel they know you. Second, don’t be afraid to repeat instructions. They say someone has to see or hear something 8 times before it sinks in (but that may have to do with interest level). Three, reduce things to “the important thing is….” and four, bring treats! Candy makes everything sweeter.

  • I am also planning to start teaching and I’ve been taking the ‘how to teach it class’ on crafty. It’s really good, I’m a trained secondary school teacher and still finding it really helpful. Good luck, enjoy it!

  • Congratulations, how exciting! The biggest surprise for me when I first taught a group was the different speeds people understand and sew at. It helps if you can give the quicker ones sections they can get on with, while you help anyone who needs help.

  • Congrats on the new job!! What a great gig! I’m sure you’ll be awesome! Also, I love that spotty fabric on the interior of your bag – what fun!

  • thank you kelly! the end result was good but my bill for buying so much interfacing was a little hard to swallow. it was like $30 just for interfacing!

  • that’s for the tip. that might be good for me, too, ’cause with so much interfacing I know we’ll have limited irons to use so hopefully we can stagger the use of those based on who finishes early.

  • thanks, that’s good advice. i’m making a list of tips and I’ll remember to do introductions and repeat intructions, and bring candy (although I bet i’d eat more of it than anyone else, lol)!

  • thanks hanne, i’ll remember those tips.

    ugh, i never did figure out which company makes that fabric… and i already tossed my selvages. 🙁 i think they’re all from the same collection, though, if you ever find the other ones. sorry!

  • Congrats! That’s very exciting, and the bag looks lovely. I design training courses for a living (in film) and a great thing I’ve learnt to do is, before everyone leaves, ask them to reflect on / write down / shout out a “lightbulb moment” from the course. That way they get to reflect on their learning to help it sink in, share main points with other students, and feel motivated to continue learning and put their learning into practice after the course. Good luck – you’ll be great!

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