You will know that in the last year we introduced our very own Online Learning platform but we wanted to take you back and tell you how it all began.
As mums, small business owners, sewing teachers, and YouTubers we know what it’s like to always be busy. You have to get really good at juggling! Although it certainly helps when your business partner is your best friend and sewing buddy! The main thing that keeps us motivated is the joy we get from teaching people how to sew.
Back in 2014, we had the idea of opening up our homes in the Cotswold countryside to people who wanted to learn to sew. We had been so inspired by the brand new Great British Sewing Bee and we wanted to share our passion with as many people as possible. Sodbury Sewing School started with a single Learn To Sew class, but we were soon running up to 8 classes a week teaching everything from quilting to dressmaking. We both turned our dining rooms into dedicated sewing studios and over the next 5 years, we were lucky enough to teach thousands of people how to sew. More than anything, we enjoyed creating a sewing community and we would look forward to seeing regular friendly faces, with some people attending multiple classes in the same week.
As self-taught home sewists, we both appreciate that learning to sew is so much more than just learning a skill. People have lots of reasons for taking up the hobby. Whether it is for practical reasons, for self-care or just for fun. Nothing beats that feeling when you look at something and think “I could make that” or someone asks you where you got something and you get to proudly proclaim “ I made it”! We have always felt privileged to see first hand how that sense of pride develops in those we teach.
Moving To Online Classes
Whilst running our classes we were simultaneously vlogging as The Stitch Sisters on YouTube. This opened up a whole new world for us and allowed us to connect with sewists all around the world. We realized that our teaching didn’t need to be restricted by how many people we could squeeze into a small studio and so, last year, we decided to take our sewing classes online. We created a brand new online learning platform as The Stitch Sisters and already have 16 different classes available. We offer everything from a basic Learn To Sew course through to more advanced techniques such as Companion To Shirtmaking or our popular Definitive Guide To Bust Adjustments.
We are very proud of our latest class, Guide to Sleeve Hacking, which we launched last month. We hold your hand and walk you through 12 different sleeves which you can create from a standard sleeve and bodice. It’s easy to become your own fashion designer and create some amazing statement sleeves!
Benefits of E-Learning
Nowadays everyone’s first solution to any problem is to head straight to YouTube and find a video that can teach you what you need. Online learning takes that one step further giving you a deeper understanding of your subject and virtual classroom experience in the comfort of your own home. Online sewing classes, you can take in your pajamas!!
We all have such busy schedules that it can be hard to commit to specific dates or times to take classes outside of the home, which is why e-learning works so well for so many people. As genuine fans of online learning ourselves, we have each taken several online courses to help us build our business including web development and digital marketing. We have also enjoyed getting our crafty fix from online classes such as macrame and drawing.
Our years teaching people in person gave us some valuable insights into the way people learn and how even experienced sewists benefit from learning visually. Being shown something by a real person, even via the internet, who can explain exactly how and why something is done can be invaluable. Our philosophy is that there is no such thing as too much information so we pride ourselves in thoroughly researching every aspect of each topic and covering it in detail.
Never Stop Learning
The thing we love most about sewing is that you never master it completely. No matter where you are on your sewing journey, there is always so much more you can learn. There is such a sense of achievement in learning to make something better or to a higher standard than you could before. Mastering a new skill unlocks new elements of sewing and can elevate everything you do from then onwards. We get so inspired knowing that the sky is the limit and we are always learning new skills ourselves, both to help us with our own creations and to ensure that we always have new things to teach. We love it when we get feedback from experienced sewists who only expected to pick up a few tips from one of our online learning classes but say they learned so much more than they were expecting to.
Advice For Anyone Wanting To Improve Their Sewing
- Set Yourself Goals. They can be independent or part of sewing challenges in the social media community. A new pattern, or mastering a new skill.
- Learn From Your Mistakes. Mistakes are always frustrating but every one teaches you something. Write down all the details, both the problem and how you solved it.
- Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help. The online sewing community is a great place to make sewing friends and get advice, but don’t feel like everything you share needs to be perfect. Sharing your sewing dilemmas with others and asking for advice is both helpful to you and to anyone else reading it.
- Don’t Expect Perfection. When learning a new skill, even with Online Learning, it can be tempting to pile on the pressure and set high expectations for ourselves. We all get better with time, but make sure you are realistic about what you can achieve with your current skill level.
- Don’t Let People Hijack Your Hobby. When you sew, you’re often inundated with requests from people to take up trousers, shorten curtains or repair holes. Don’t feel obliged to say yes! Just explain that this is your hobby and your time for yourself.
What’s To Come
Having just celebrated our 1st year anniversary of The Stitch Sisters online classes, we are excited about all of the ideas we have still to come for more Online Learning. We will be adding lots of new classes and even expanding on some of our existing ones.
We have plans for new Companion classes, Hacking classes, and more machine classes.
With the Great British Sewing Bee returning again, we are excited about all of the people who will discover this wonderful hobby for the first time and take their first steps on a new sewing journey.
Stay Safe, Keep Smiling, Keep Sewing
Nikki & Rachel