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DIRECTIONS SHOW ME SEW by Sewing Prose
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Who Invented DIRECTIONS SHOW ME SEW, Anyhow? Who Invented DIRECTIONS SHOW ME SEW, Anyhow?
photo of Carol Hawkey, owner and developer

I DID!

I'm Carol Hawkey, owner of Show Me Sew - Sewing Prose and Developer of DIRECTIONS SHOW ME SEW™ Sewing Adventures for Children. I started an alterations and custom sewing business fresh out of high school in 1977, and added children's sewing lessons in 1987, after my kids were born. I had little interest in putting my kids in daycare and working an 8-to-5 J-O-B, so it was sink or swim for me! It was these classroom experiences that developed into the DIRECTIONS SHOW ME SEW series of Progressive Sewing Lessons you see here today. The first edition of Level 1 and Level 2 was printed in 1992. In 1998, DIRECTIONS SHOW ME SEW went through a major overhaul with the introduction of Level 3, adding extra educational materials and improving packaging. Now we're half-way through Level 5 and have one more Level to go after that.

THE EARLY YEARS

When I first started teaching, there were a few child-oriented programs on the market, plus the "easy" commercial patterns. I tried them all, and found the kids were SO CONFUSED with all of them. And so was I! It was difficult to get all the different patterns organized into sections of "first this, then that". The instructions for the same sewing event changed from project to project. So I set about to streamline the projects. I wrote out seperate instructions for the tasks that tended to be done over and over, sometimes several times in one project, like "how to sew a seam." These instructions became SKILLCARDS [tm].

The patterns were inconvenient, also. Some didn't hang on children's bodies quite right. The commercial pattern paper was so flimsy it would rip apart before the kids even got the whole thing pinned down. On the other end of the scale, some off-brand patterns were on such heavy paper that the kids couldn't even put a pin through it! I'm sure we don't need to discuss the instructions. If you have ever even opened a regular pattern, you know how confusing they are when you don't know what you're doing. Some expert seamstresses even say they toss the instructions! Then there was the sizing. Everyone wanted to cut out the same size that their parents bought for them in ready-to-wear. If you've sewn at all, you know what a big "OOOPS" that was. All these trials resulted in a DIRECTIONS SHOW ME SEW pattern tissue with the right balance of thin and tough, and sizing that requires taking body measurements first. Just more ways DIRECTIONS SHOW ME SEW helps you get it right the first time!

MY CLASSROOM

I've had a blast teaching classes over the years. I started out with 5 kids in a class and $25.00 per month. I taught three days a week that first year, fifteen students. We had a great fashion show at the end of May! We did it at our local Holiday Inn, Poolside, and the hotel let us stay for one hour after for a swim party.

Then I switched to a "session" which was 12-weeks for $75.00. Usually there would be school breaks in this time period, and I adjusted the class calender to hold class for 12 weeks. This eliminated make-ups for those weeks when one day would have class and one day wouldn't, but it did mean a month over Christmas with no income. So you learn to balance. This time we did our fashion show in my back yard with a rented floral arch, and a pot-luck after.

Over the years I've done it many different ways. While I was earning my B.A. in Business Administration, I would change the whole class structure every semester to coincide with my class schedule and parenting duties. One year when my darling ones were 6 and 4, I was able to trade sewing lessons for the child care I needed while I taught for two hours! {PS - I finally got that B.A. in 1994, along with a B.S. in Business Management, and a B.S. in Retail Merchandising.} Now I teach only my advanced students, who are my testers for the new Lesson Modules. And, every so often I'll work with a beginner group on a special event activity for beginners, like the Y or the Girl Scouts.

MY FAMILY

The Dear Children are grown now. Ashley, (My Pride and Joy) is off on her own. Sometimes I just go into the room she used (she covered every non-moving surface with glow-in-the-dark something - stars, letters, chalk, paint, planets, I could go ON,) and reflect on how wonderful she is. Cameron, (The Apple of My Eye), is 2 years younger. He's now a working man with his own agenda and a preference to share little bits of fine art in the margins of his life. (and on every non-moving surface in his room, plus a few moving ones!)

FROM ME TO YOU

I know you will find the work I've done on the DIRECTIONS SHOW ME SEW series will save you all the headaches I've already had on your behalf, like - What project next? Does this come first or does that? Can my kid really make this project? How can I be sure I'm not skipping anything? - Well, you get the idea. Why re-invent the wheel? Use DIRECTIONS SHOW ME SEW and spend your time enjoying sewing with your family instead.

Happy Sewing and enjoy your family time together as you share sewing with your kids. Even if you've never sewn much, you can use DIRECTIONS SHOW ME SEW to make sure your kids get a pleasant sewing experience with every project. Who knows - you may learn something, too!

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