Fun With the Rocky Mountain Quilters Guild - And Some Goodies

11/11/2013 10:40:00 AM

I have been friends with Sheila for 15 years now, we both joined Girl Guides of Canada as Leaders of our daughters groups at the same time back in 1998, so it was really hard to say no when she asked me to teach her sister's quilting guild the Necessary Clutch Wallet.  But I did.  NO!  AH! CAN'T!

I had a few reservations!
1) The Necessary Clutch Wallet pattern wasn't in print, only PDF.
2) It's not a quick project.
3) They don't have the materials and interfacings available to them (remote location).
4) I have never taught a sewing class before.

Sheila continued to encourage (nag) and I started to chip away at these issues as slowly as I could.  I tried to do it quickly, but I found out that everything takes longer than you like when you are in a hurry.

The Necessary Clutch Wallet Sewing Pattern
The Necessary Clutch Wallet - Available in PDF or Paper Pattern HERE.

1) Wallet patterns were printed and bagged.  (Very exciting!!)
2) I would do a couple of demos for the group during their UFO weekend and they could work at their own pace, or even at a later date after seeing the demo. I would be there to answer questions the whole time.
3) I made interfacing and lock kits for them to purchase (available in my shop soon). I put out a table of glue, fraystop, screw drivers, pilot frixion pens and double-sided tape for them to use. I provided extra zippers.
4) I had to suck it up and be a Leader, just like back when I was guiding ;)
... and on top of all this I had to sew sample wallets as I had given all of mine away and package everything I sell in little baggies with price labels.  (That was a lot of work!)

So this weekend, Sheila and I traveled west about 3 hours to Hinton, Alberta, which is just about 40 mins or so from beautiful Jasper.  We stayed with Dianna, Sheila's sister, and spent all day Friday and most of Saturday with the friendly ladies of the Rocky Mountain Quilters Guild.

I had a very warm welcome from Denise (organizer extraordinaire) and Dianna and busily set up my patterns, kits, and hardware and prepared for my first demo.

I also set up my sewing machine because this was a UFO weekend and I really doubted that many ladies would be wanting to sew my project. I was sure they had better things to do!

My first demo went okay, but I am sure I talked too fast, mumbled - and talked too much.  The ladies started getting a little cross-eyed and I was only 3/4 of the way through it so I said "Okay, I think I will leave it at that for now.  I will just give you some helpful tips and you can come visit me when you are having troubles.  I'll be making my rounds around the room to answer any questions too."

Sheila "the Ruler", and my messy unused sewing area with our prize baskets in front. 
Surprisingly, there were a lot of ladies making the wallet.  More ladies came later in the evening and I did a much better presentation (I think), and wasn't nervous at all.  I think in total there were around 20 ladies sewing wallets and another 15 or so working on other projects.

I made my way around the room, and around, and around. There were ladies flying through it without troubles and ladies having a few troubles and a few having a lot of troubles.  I started to worry that my pattern wasn't clear and the instructions weren't easy to follow. I had to put myself in check and remind myself that I have had a lot of people tell me the pattern was clear, that it's meant for an intermediate sewer, that this was a very distracting, social, environment and it's easy to skip steps, that a lot of the ladies have never sewed tight curves, top stitched, or inserted a purse lock, and most importantly - there are different kinds of learners.

A few of the first ladies to get done. Donna, Denise & Kelly.

The experience was fantastic!  I loved working with the ladies. I loved helping them hands on.  I loved that aha moment when a switch of a presser foot, changed topstitching from being nearly impossible - to very easy and beautiful. It was a good feeling to help them through a challenge and help them make something they were very proud of in the end.  Here are some of the beautiful wallets they made:

Beautiful Necessary Clutch Wallets. Click to enlarge!

The wallets turned out gorgeous, the ladies were lovely, and the pot luck lunches and dinners were YUMMY!

The small turn lock and metal bag label in antique brass.

I am very glad that I got it all together and went.  The big reward and validation came when I heard that some ladies were already working on second wallets and finding them much easier to work on. They came to me and purchased more locks, more interfacing and my (brag) lovely zipper pulls and metal bag labels for their bags.  (I was so excited to share my antique brass bag labels and zipper pulls as I only got the order delivered to me the night before). They look so gorgeous on the right fabric and give you such a different look than my nickel ones.
Metal Bag Labels  "Handmade"
Antique Brass "Handmade" Metal Bag Labels
Metal Bag Labels and Zipper Pulls "Handmade"
Metal Bag Labels and Zipper Pulls "Handmade"

I didn't sew a stitch on my unfinished projects, but I wouldn't change that in any way.  I really wanted these ladies to be successful with their wallets before I left so I tried to help as much as I could.

I had a great time with Sheila, as usual. We always have a laugh.  I kind of picked on her a bit with sarcastic jokes, but I think it was just my nervous energy.  Driving home, I didn't really have a chance to "come down from it all" because we had about 2 hours of driving through blinding snow. When I got home I just collapsed on the couch in a heap and cuddled with my boy, and had a great surprise: While I was gone, my husband washed the dog and cleaned the pantry!!  He's a keeper.

Don't be afraid to challenge yourself.  This past weekend, I saw a lot of ladies challenge their sewing capabilities and I certainly challenged myself with instructing, organizing, AND winter driving.  You sew girl!

Thank you for listening.

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  1. What a fantastic assortment of bags! And I love your zipper pulls and metal tags. I think you deserve a merit badge!

  2. I knew you could do it. I'm so glad it all came together for you.

    It must have been so great to see your pattern finished in so many different ways.

  3. I am so impressed by you! Congrats on teaching the class - way to put yourself out there. Glad all went well and that everyone got their wallets done - I know I love mine :) That is heat!!! Love, Lisa


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