LRN2QLT Day Agenda

Room Set-Up If possible, place the tables so that all students can face the front. We used six 8-foot tables with two students per table. The tables were set up in three rows with two tables in each row. Ironing and cutting stations were set up in the back and on one side so several students could be using each at any given time.

8 a.m. Teachers prepare classroom. Make sure there is a sharp needle in each machine. (If students are bringing their own machines, be sure you have teachers who are familiar with many types of machines and allow more time before starting the class.) Place the following by each machine: neutral-colored thread, two 6" squares of scrap fabric for practice stitching, scissors, pins, seam ripper, pencil, pincushion (we made simple pin cushions from four-patches, using lots of different color combinations, and we allowed each student to choose one he/she liked).


Session One: Pillowcase
9 a.m.–11 a.m.

Greet students. Allow students to choose where they want to sit. Start with the basics:

* How to turn on machine and lights.

* What the foot pedal does (like the gas pedal on your car).

* Show the main parts of the machine: presser foot, needle, reverse button, bobbin case and bobbin.

* Show how to wind a bobbin.

* Show how to put bobbin in machine.

* Thread the machine.

* Set the stitch length.

* How to find 1/4" on the throat plate or how to gauge it using the presser foot.

* Practice stitching on the 6" squares to allow students to get a feel for the machine.

* Have students practice reverse stitching.

* Show how to set zigzag and allow students to practice zigzag stitching.

* Reset machines for straight stitch.

Show Pillowcase sample. Pass out Pillowcase instruction sheets. Allow students to choose fabrics for one pillowcase. Ask students to read instructions and give them time to do so. Show example of contrasting band and show how to fold it wrong sides together along the lengthwise edge. (Explain what the right side and wrong side of fabric is. If you used batiks as we did, it would be helpful to have some printed fabric to show this concept.) Show how to press the band and trim. Show how to pin pieces of fabric right sides together and explain that they should not sew over pins.

Allow students to work at their own pace. When you have something to show the whole group, you can stop all the machines and get students’ attention. But in this setting, working one-on-one is best and most efficient. Your teachers should constantly be circulating and asking, “Are you doing okay? Is there anything you need help with?” Some students catch on quickly, while others take their time. If someone finishes her pillowcase before the end of the session, allow her to choose another kit and start a second pillowcase.

Take a short break.


Session Two: Star Pillow
11 a.m.–2 p.m.

Show Star pillow sample. Pass out Star Pillow instructions. Define the following terms: nine-patch, block, unit, stitch-and-flip, patchwork, piecing, quilting, pillow top, backing, muslin, batting. Allow students to choose Star Pillow kit. Demonstrate rotary cutting tools, rotary cutting safety and how to cut the pieces needed for the pillow. Have students cut all the pieces.

Break for lunch.

Have students return to their machines. Work with students in small groups or one-on-one to explain how to do stitch & flip star points. Teachers continue to circulate, offering help as needed. Show how to lay out the nine-patch star. Show how to piece the star and explain the importance of pressing seam allowances in opposite directions. Show how to add borders and how to trim to length, using the rotary cutter. Be available to help students when they have questions about machine quilting and finishing the pillow.


Session Three: Flannel Rag Quilt
2 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

Show Flannel Rag Quilt sample. Pass out Flannel Rag Quilt instructions. Define a quilt sandwich, chain sewing, 1/4" seam allowance. Allow students to choose a Flannel Rag Quilt Kit. Demonstrate pinning the 3 layers of a block together with pins positioned at the top, bottom, left and right where they won’t interfere with machine quilting.

Demonstrate machine quilting one line of the “X” and how to continue to the next block to quilt one line without cutting the thread (chain sewing). Have students quilt one line of eight blocks that make a row. Show how to quilt the second line of the X in the same manner. Show how to arrange the blocks for a row and sew them together. Explain that the seam allowances will be on the quilt’s top side. Have students work at their own pace, sewing one row at a time. Teachers continue to circulate.

When students have two rows sewn, show how to sew the two rows together. Demonstrate pinning or finger pressing the block seams in opposite directions at block intersections. Explain sewing around the perimeter of the quilt and how to make cuts into the seam allowances when the quilt is completed. Explain how to wash and dry the quilt.


3:30 p.m.–5 p.m.

Everyone starts to fade by this time of the day, but a quick show & tell of what they’ve made brings smiles all around. During this time we also took aside each student and his/her projects and snapped photos. Consider doing this and (with permission) use the photos in your newsletter or on your website. It’s also nice to print one photo for each student to take home that day.

We all pitched in to clean up, gave students our contact information and encouraged them to keep in touch. You might also consider giving out information about local resources (like shops and guilds) where they can connect with other quilters.


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