|I'm pretty sure it will not turn out this picturesque. From here.|
My students, who are high schoolers, all know of my professed abhorrence of children, especially the littlest, tiniest babies. The older they are, the more tolerable. When they can have reasonable conversations with you, oh joy! Although one might argue that high schoolers are hardly reasonable, what with the raging hormones and underdeveloped frontal lobe and all. But in all honesty, it's because I never know what to say to kids (My repertoire is exhausted after "What's your name?" and "How old are you?"). I'm not one of those magical Mary Poppins types who walk into a room and suddenly all the kids flock over because they sense a kindred spirit. Despite the goofiness of my wardrobe, I'm more likely to be found staring awkwardly at a small human being. Telling myself "They're more afraid of you than you are of them!" doesn't really help either.
So it is with some trepidation that I agreed to teach an eight year old how to use her brand new Christmas sewing machine. Her mom, who goes to our church, says that she wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up and is really excited about making her own clothing. She's been waiting to open up the machine for a month, waiting until someone can show her how not to sew through her fingers. Well, my desire to enable others to engage in this awesomely creative pastime trumps my fear of children. That said, here are my areas of concern:
- She's eight. Despite majoring in psychology, I have no idea what that practically means about her maturity level and attention span.
- I don't know what kind of machine this Christmas gift is? I'm afraid it will be one of these. To that end, I am going to bring my own, just in case.
- Will she be expecting to whip up a dress right away? When I teach people to sew, after practicing stitching on scraps, my standard first project is a drawstring bag. And then maybe a zippered pouch. Maybe then, a gathered elastic waist skirt for a third project. Will she be bored if we start there?
- How much should I tell her about details, like say, pressing seams or the parts on the sewing machine? Should I just call it the little thingy that holds the bottom thread and how much space you leave at the end, or the bobbin and the seam allowance?