by Meredith Flory
Readers, I am so happy to begin writing this column for you for a third year. Whether you’ve been with me since the beginning, or you are new to Augusta Family, I’m excited to have you join me on this journey as we “raise readers” together. As we entered the New Year, my daughter has just begun to sound out words on her own, and is developing a love of graphic novels for kids – it’s so exciting to see her begin to put the pieces together for an act that has brought me so much joy.
While literacy will always be my focus in this column, I wanted to begin 2018 thinking about something a little different – domestic literacy. For the next few columns, I’m going to focus on ways to teach children important life skills, such as sewing, cooking, and gardening. Learning these skills can directly connect to other subjects, and give children a sense of responsibility and confidence.
I recently spoke with Jordan Nuques, a local mother and owner of My Best Friend’s Sewing Room, where children and adults can learn the art of sewing through creative classes. Nuques offered insights into why this skill is so important, and how her classes can make a great gift for a child or parent in your life.
Nuques starting sewing at the age of 12, learning the skill through her involvement with 4-H, but says that she “did not fall in love with sewing until I was a mom sewing for my own kids.” She began to enjoy teaching other stay-at-home moms to sew, but “wished I had more room to teach more students”. After gaining experience at a local quilt shop teaching sewing and embroidery, a change in her family’s schedule gave her the motivation to form “my own business teaching kids how to sew.” She exclaimed, “It was the best risk I ever took!”
When we have the access to cloths, linens, and other items so easily and readily accessible, sewing might seem like an old-fashioned skill, and not one taught in as many homes now, but Nuques explains that, “sewing is a valuable life skill. We need to learn how to mend our clothes, hem up pants, and sew buttons.” She continued to list examples showing how it’s a skill that can save money, and create less waste in our homes. It’s also a skill that can be valuable in other activities. As an example she shared that she “had a student who once told me that her dad sewed. He was a doctor…kids need to practice basic hand-sewing for life’s little emergencies.”
Many people may think of sewing as a stereo-typically female pursuit, but many fields that require sewing skills, such as tailoring, upholstery, and costume design, frequently employ men, and as a military spouse, I can attest to the fact that uniform maintenance can be cost saving for adults in a number of fields. Exploring sewing may help your son explore his passions through a new skill. Nuques welcomes boys in her sewing classes, and many of her popular themes for classes, like Harry Potter and Minecraft, appeal to boys and girls. She shares, “I am more than happy to offer custom colors and fabric prints for boys. Earlier this year we had a doll sewing camp. My 8-year-old boy student opted to make a Batman. He had so much fun!”
Sewing instructions can be complicated, and learning to follow each step allows children to practice reading, patience, and attention to detail. And while reading is importance, Nuques acknowledges that math is a key component of sewing. When creating her own patterns, “for example, there is a mathematical formula for making a pillow cover for any given size pillow insert. Also, if I have a circular bottom for a tote bag, I will need to know how to find the circumference of a circle and add the seam allowances to find the width of the fabric for the sides.” She compares it to a recipe for cooking – “first, you have to have all the ingredients”, in this case, sewing supplies, and then “follow instructions in order, step by step.” She acknowledges that now Pinterest and You-Tube have allowed many people to receive guidance on sewing if they don’t have someone in their life to teach them, but that “some students need to take a class with a sewing teacher to make learning more approachable for them.”
This is where My Best Friend’s Sewing Room comes in for families in the CSRA. Nuques offers scheduled classes, camps, private lessons, and birthday parties, with sewing machine classes starting at age eight. Homeschoolers can find classes during the week, and she offers discounts for Girl Scout troops. Weekend birthday parties run two hours with a cost of $30.00 per student. A non-refundable party deposit goes towards the final cost, and is required to reserve the date. Parents bring the cake and refreshments, and Nuques takes care of the rest with a fun sewing activity for party goers.
As a parent, sewing may be a skill you’ve never learned, but you’ve experienced moments such as a torn beloved stuffed animal or blanket, that has made you wish you could find time to learn. While many of her classes focus on children, Nuques offers opportunities for parents as well. She offers Mommy and Me lessons on her schedule or as private events and says, “it’s wonderful to see mother and child working side-by-side, learning a new skill and spending quality time together.” She also offers adult only classes and private lessons, and groups can book “Sip and Sew” parties for a fun Mom’s Night Out. She emphasizes that “modern parents are running from activity to activity and need to learn sewing basics so they can help their child with a school project, Halloween costume, or making a baby blanket. I believe the sewing machine to be a helpful household tool that can be used by both parents and children.”
Classes, pictures, and pricing can be found at www.mybestfriendsewingroom.com or on Facebook at My Best Friend’s Sewing Room.
This article appears in the February 2018 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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