Running a Nappy Sewing Class

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Megan
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Running a Nappy Sewing Class

Post by Megan » Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:34 am

We are going to run a nappy-sewing class down here during RNW. So far Fi has 6 definites and a further 4 possible attendees. Eeek! I will be the only teacher, and I'm a bit nervous. Any advice would be much appreciated!
* I was going to just teach how to make a pocket nappy but at least one woman would like to make a fitted. Do you think it would be too difficult to teach both styles in one class with one teacher?
* How did you organise fabrics? Did you take it along or let people buy their own from GB so they'd have the colours they wanted?
* Did you bother with inserts? I was just going to do the outer but then people wouldn't have a complete nappy to take home. Maybe I could buy prefolds and they could use those for stuffers?
* Snaps or velcro? I doubt many of the women will have snap presses so I guess it will be velcro - it's been a while since I made one of those! I might have to have a practice run!
* Did you make one too, or just supervise the others?
Um, I'm sure there were many more questions keeping me awake on the small hours :lol: but I'll come back with those.
Thanks in advance!

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Post by lizzie » Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:50 am

What a good idea Megan. We were thinking about a similar thing here too.

When I have done nappy sewing lessons before its usually been for just one or two people at a time. It can take a while so be pepared for a long day.

I'd go for velcro, but maybe have a pul outer prepared with snaps so they can take a look at how you did it. I usually get them to buy a greenbeans DIY kit, so that they have everything they need. I suppose you could buy the fabric etc yourself but that would be a bit of a hassle IMO.

I just get the person to sew her own nappy and just sit nearby to give instructions. I also wouldn't bother with inserts, just maybe take a couple of flats or prefolds with you to show them how it works.
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Post by Kaz » Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:53 am

Difficulty of teaching class would depend on previous sewing experience :)

I think it is possible to teach both :wink:

I'd precut the fabric if you only had a few attendees then you can concentrate on sewing. It would mean that you found out what size they wanted, but I don't think it would be too hard :)

Is it possible to have each step of the process done so they can look at each step as they go? It will free up your time to work with the less competent sewers.

If you have a snap press, it might be worth giving people the option to use it - once they have a go, they might become addicted :wink:

Who knows I may be over your way (if the builders haven't finished
), what is the date of the class? Might be able to give you a hand.
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Post by Dunners » Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:00 am

How exciting! I put a proposal together for the local Community Classes but they don't see a need yet :( Hopefully one day I'll get a phone call to offer it!

Here's how I would do it ;)

Have people sign up and pay a specified amount so that you buy all the materials. I would only offer the one item for the class, everyone does the one thing (in your case pockets), same colour PUL & microfleece and all ;) Remember it's concepts you're teaching - the fitted lady can do the same thing at home with fabrics to make fitteds - you're just teaching her the steps KWIM?

If you have 4 possibles, you might be able to offer 2 PUL colours but then 7 might want the same colour :roll: (I actually think that 6 in the class would be about right, 10 you might be a little busy, not to mention needing space to house the tables, machines, etc). Are people bringing their machines or using yours? You'll need to consider things like tables, chairs, power points, extension cords, multi boards.

Do you have a limited time frame? If you do: cut the fabric up into nappy cuts, premeasure the elastic for each nappy for them to work with, count out the snaps, or premeasure velcro etc. and give it to them in a wee kit. Provide multiple patterns (maybe one in each kit) to trace from to speed up the cutting out process (which can be very slow). I would also provide "made up" nappies show each of the steps.

I wouldn't bother with inserts - they can stuff it with a folded flat nappy ;) Most people have them - even sposie users ;)

I would personally encourage snaps - but I reckon I could get away with that because there are so many presses here in Chc that if someone wanted to make lots of nappies there would be plenty of presses to access (including one at Bumbles). However, if the ladies you're working with are from all over the show, that may not be so convenient - in which case yes, I'd use velcro.

Make sure you have some pens for tracing (or have people bring their own).

Depending on the time you have available, you might not have the time to demonstrate each step (but I wouldn't count on it). Hopefully the range of skills will be there so that a lady or two catch on really quickly and zip ahead, then can show some others what to do. (or at least that's my style).

Gosh, I'm really excited for you! What an awesome project to have!

Good luck!
Leanne
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Post by Shae » Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:09 am

I've been thinking about exactly the same thing for the Cambridge/TA/Hamilton area. One of the side arms of Te Awhina will hopefully (eventually) be a stash of donated nappy fabrics for free classes. Once there is enough fabric to run a small class I was going to offer the fabrics to TNNers wanting to run classes, or do one myself and contact the Sallies or the Citizen Advice Bureau budgeting bit and advertise through them. Anyhow completely OT, but bear it in mind if nay of you ladies would like to run a class in the future.
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Megan
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Post by Megan » Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:41 am

Great idea, Shae!

Thanks for your input, everyone. I think I will do the following...
* Only make pockets in the class and offer to visit the Fitted woman at her house to do that another time
* Ask them what 3 PUL colours they prefer then do my best to get two colours out of this list, or raid my personal stash for some of them
* Use only one colour of microfleece (probably ivory)
* Ask them to bring their own white polyester thread, sewing scissors, pegs, pen, and optional dressmakers chalk
* Precut some patterns onto thermal backing, possibly precut some PUL?
* Ask beforehand who wants to do snaps and who wants to do velcro, then ask Erica very nicely if she will lend her snap press so we can have two :wink:

Anything I've forgotten?

Kaz, we don't have a date yet. Fi is sorting out a venue as neither of us has room for so many people plus sewing machines. But I will be sure to let you know as I would be eternally grateful for another instructor! :lol:

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Post by Kaz » Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:18 pm

Have you considered asking the High School if you could use their sewing room?
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Post by Shae » Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:51 pm

Or a local church?
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Post by channyhoo » Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:14 pm

Awesome stuff. This is what I was hoping Te Awhina would be contributing towards where possible. I like your concepts Leeanne. I reckon mums-to-be would be more keen to pay towards a class where they are developing/creating a skill rather than towards nappies directly in many cases so it would be contributing towards the same benefits in a slightly indirect way (Hope you can understand that!) I would love to learn how to sew if I could afford a sewing machine.

Does anyone know if there is anywhere that charitable organisations can get printing? I think the homebirth association would be a great place to promote classes through the antenatal classes.
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Post by Katriana » Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:25 pm

channyhoo wrote:Does anyone know if there is anywhere that charitable organisations can get printing? I think the homebirth association would be a great place to promote classes through the antenatal classes.


I think you can get it done at "Community House" http://www.cch.org.nz/ NOt 100% sure though, but it can't hurt to enquire. Have you registed as a charitable trust yet?

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Post by figi9 » Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:01 pm

Dunners wrote:Have people sign up and pay a specified amount so that you buy all the materials. I would only offer the one item for the class, everyone does the one thing (in your case pockets), same colour PUL & microfleece and all ;) Remember it's concepts you're teaching - the fitted lady can do the same thing at home with fabrics to make fitteds - you're just teaching her the steps KWIM?


The thing about this was, that 2 of the people don't use pocket nappies so they were wondering what the point in learning to make a nappy they wouldn't use was and leaving the class still not knowing how to make a nappy they would use. (They can of course use the pocket nappy they have made, but they still won't know how to make a fitted. - They can of course have a sperate lesson with Megan and some stage, if she was willing.

If you have 4 possibles, you might be able to offer 2 PUL colours but then 7 might want the same colour :roll: (I actually think that 6 in the class would be about right, 10 you might be a little busy, not to mention needing space to house the tables, machines, etc). Are people bringing their machines or using yours? You'll need to consider things like tables, chairs, power points, extension cords, multi boards.


I've got this covered. We will all be using our own machines and i have plenty of extension cords, power boxes etc, and a large venue with tressle tables, chair etc and hopfully lots of toys and nannies from the polytech to help watch our kids so we can actually sew!!

Do you have a limited time frame? If you do: cut the fabric up into nappy cuts, premeasure the elastic for each nappy for them to work with, count out the snaps, or premeasure velcro etc. and give it to them in a wee kit. Provide multiple patterns (maybe one in each kit) to trace from to speed up the cutting out process (which can be very slow). I would also provide "made up" nappies show each of the steps
.

Great idea.

I wouldn't bother with inserts - they can stuff it with a folded flat nappy ;) Most people have them - even sposie users ;)


Hadn't thought of that. another great idea.

I would personally encourage snaps - but I reckon I could get away with that because there are so many presses here in Chc that if someone wanted to make lots of nappies there would be plenty of presses to access (including one at Bumbles). However, if the ladies you're working with are from all over the show, that may not be so convenient - in which case yes, I'd use velcro.

So far we are coming from Greymouth, Reefton, Hokitika and Ahaura. Velcro could be the go but the option to try a snap press is a really good idea. Hook them into it ah :wink: (why do most pocket nappies have snaps compared to fitted and AIO's? I've wondered that for ages!)

Make sure you have some pens for tracing (or have people bring their own).

Depending on the time you have available, you might not have the time to demonstrate each step (but I wouldn't count on it). Hopefully the range of skills will be there so that a lady or two catch on really quickly and zip ahead, then can show some others what to do. (or at least that's my style).


Haven't decided on a time limit yet. How long do you think something like this would take. I'd imagined 2-3 hours. Is that unrealistic?

Gosh, I'm really excited for you! What an awesome project to have!


Me too, unfortunately i am one of the completely novce sewers that is going to take up alot of Megans time.

Another teacher would be great!!!

Megan, you'll be fabulous. Don't feel too nervous. They are all lovely people and you will do a brilliant job.
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Post by Dunners » Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:05 pm

I've been thinking about this a bit more - with regards to the ladies whom want to make a fitted. You could have them make the pocket with a front opening - that way they will "get" the normal steps for a fitted. (Not sure if they'd want a sew-in booster on the inside - but that's easy enough to mention in passing).

I'm just worried for you that if you have 6-10 people with different levels of ability, you really need to make it as streamlined as possible and only offering one thing would help. Maybe offer a 2nd class for fitteds? (for the Community classes I recommended 4? x 2.5 hour sessions - pocket first week, fitted 2nd week, cover 3rd week, finish off any not finished or make boosters/inserts for the 4th week).

The snap press issue is going to be a bother since they are all coming from so far away :? Though, for future nappies, if they leave the front open they can do all the snapping in one visit ;) Not sure why most are snaps these days - maybe they're a bit easier to make commercially (I certainly hate sewing velcro :evil: )

I think you'd definitely need 2+ hours. When we had a group sewing session with Macca's mates they probably spent the first 30 min tracing & cutting.

:lol: Would love to come & help :lol: It would be great fun! Maybe I should just make on happen here? (I really do miss some parts of teaching - love the buzz of someone catching on and doing it for themselves :))
Leanne
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Post by Megan » Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:51 pm

Dunners wrote: :lol: Would love to come & help :lol: It would be great fun! Maybe I should just make on happen here? (I really do miss some parts of teaching - love the buzz of someone catching on and doing it for themselves :))


We'd love to have you! :wink:
Well Fi and I had a bit of a catch-up today and I think we're only going to do pockets in the class and I can offer to teach fitteds individually. Fi has a couple of great potential venues lined up, and is thinking of getting nannies to come along to look after all the sprogs! Woohoo!
I have most people's details now so I will get in touch with everyone to give and get a bit more info. I'm nervous and excited all at once :lol: .

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Post by macca » Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:55 pm

WOW that will be fun. We did a big session with a few mates that were wanting to learn to sew nappies and we used a whole afternoon, mind you there was alot of chatting and sorting out babies that went on.
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Post by Megan » Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:01 pm

We're thinking we'll say three hours. It's so hard to know though isn't it :? .

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