November's Sewing Talk with Erin Hefner!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This month's SEW Moni's Sewing Talk is written by a wonderful student, Erin Hefner, who has not only grown in the craft of sewing, but design too! We are happy to share her story with you and hope that it encourages you to craft. Thank you Erin for being so kind in your words. Your dedication to learning is inspiring. Sew On! Moni + Katie


SEW Moni's Sewing Talk : Erin Hefner
I decided to learn to sew last fall.  2009 was winding down, and it had been a very turbulent year for me personally.  Professionally, I manage in an extremely fast-paced, dynamic and high-pressure environment.  Considering both aspects of my life at that time, I knew I was in need of a creative outlet and I was ready to try something new that would take complete focus and bring new energy into my life.  I even had in mind ideas for some things I could sew as a small side business if it turned out to be something I enjoyed and was good at. 

My mother sewed some of my childhood clothes and I would help her by cutting out the pattern pieces, pinning them to the fabric and cutting out the pieces. I never did any of the actual sewing, but I was always intrigued by the color and texture of the fabric as well as the interesting tools like pinking shears and tomato shaped pincushions.  My mother sewed all of the curtains and some of the throw pillows for our house, which were usually out of rich colors and bold patterns. Probably because of this, I grew up with a strong love of interior decorating which has grown stronger throughout adulthood and has turned into something of a hobby.  I decided I’d like to be able to sew curtains and throw pillows just like my mom did.

I took a beginner class at an established spot in Manhattan.  While I enjoyed it and it was a good place to start, I never felt like anyone was invested in my learning.  All work was completed in class so I wasn’t able to retain the knowledge and I didn’t really continue to sew on my own after the sessions ended.  I was left without enough skill or confidence to continue. 





I had known Moni for a while and as soon as I learned she was teaching, I was excited to sign up for her beginner class where we would complete a tote bag. We learned to thread a machine as well as the basics of fabric, cutting and basic zipper installation. Moni gave us small homework assignments each week to practice techniques such as sewing straight lines and curves, which allowed me to sew on my own and progress between sessions.  I could ask questions the next week about anything I needed help with or didn’t fully understand.  She also taught us how to adjust tension and stitch length in relationship to different fabrics as well as what to look for in a stitch that has been properly sewn.  I ended up with a lined tote bag with an interior pocket that I took to work and bragged about. The fabric pattern is perfectly lined up on the sides, and despite this being a total accident that I didn’t notice until Moni and my classmate pointed it out in amazement, I still allow people to be utterly impressed that I accomplished this in Beginner Sewing.  

    

































    By now I was hooked and convinced that I could satisfy my desire to design if I continued to learn. I asked Moni if she would focus some sessions on home d├ęcor.  In these classes I learned ruffles, pleating and hidden zipper installation for pillows as well as pleats, tabs and hemming for curtains.  Most importantly, I learned how to cut and measure with seam allowance to end up with a pillow cover or curtain to fit particular dimensions. 

At this point, I was ready to go all in and challenge myself with actual product development.  I met with Moni to discuss what I was interested in designing and creating.  I completed six sessions with Katie where I went from sketches and fabric swatches to an actual pattern to a working sample of something I had designed!  Katie really invested in my learning and helped me bring my vision to life. 

I’m so glad that I discovered Sew Moni!  Sewing has brought me a sense of accomplishment and has allowed me to explore my creative side with a level of focus that brings a sense of calm to my hectic New York City life.  Moni and Katie were able to balance guiding me with how much I needed to be challenged to figure things out on my own which is exactly the teaching style I needed.  Their investment in my learning and direction with my projects has given me confidence as well as building my skill set with sewing. 

I can’t wait for my next project!
Erin Hefner

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