Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Here is a great quote from this news article about Project Runway.

"Somehow, though, Bravo's "Project Runway" has found a way to spark intense interest in the creative process, getting us hyped up over draping and sewing fabric, of all things. Every Wednesday at 10 p.m., the series transforms even the laziest dressers (guilty as charged) into fashion critics."

For the past few years it's been hard to find sewing classes in the schools. The Home Ec labs of the past have been replaced with computer labs. Young girls (and boys) have no idea how to sew. Classes are offered at retail sewing machine and fabric stores, but these are mostly geared to adult women. How does a creative young girl learn to sew? Her mom is too busy and not interested. Her grandmother might teach her how to quilt...or even to knit. She might teach her how to follow a pattern - but these girls want to create their own designs - or maybe to re-create a look they've seen in a magazine. Who is teaching them? Who is inspiring them? Where will they acquire the skills?

I've told this story before but this is what made me realize that it was important to teach sewing:

At my oldest son's high school graduation in 2000 I asked his friend, Jessica, what she was going to do next. She told me she was going to go to "FIDM in CALIFORNIA to become a FASHION DESIGNER!" Well, I was really impressed..... "Jessica! You SEW?!?!?" I asked. "No...." she frowned. It did not occur to her that sewing was a skill she might need in order to "become a fashion designer."

It was a great moment for me. I've been teaching sewing for free out of my house ever since. We start with easy fun projects like necktie skirts, bags and skirts from blue jeans and other "recycled projects" that don't require patterns. Then we move on to pajama pants, and circle skirts and gypsy skirts. You can see photos of my students on my other blog, Rick Rack Ruby.

Anyway, the BEST thing about Project Runway is that it shows the viewers what goes into designing and producing an outfit. These contestants are drafting patterns, draping, pinning, cutting and sewing. There are important skills here. Just "wanting to be a fashion designer" and having "ideas" is not enough.

Thank you Project Runway.

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