When you love to sew, teaching others how to sew is a rewarding experience. Even if you don't have any professional teaching experience, you can still help others discover a passion for sewing.
Plan the Class
Before you can even think about where to hold the class, you need to plan out the basics first.
Develop the class curriculum. For beginners you need to include an introduction to the sewing machine segment and basic stitches along with a completed project that makes students feel proud and accomplished. If you need ideas, browse sewing patterns labeled as "Easy." These could include tote bags, pajama pants, or other simple projects.
Limit Class Size
Set a manageable class size by limiting the number of students. Remember that some students need more attention than others, and you do not want to neglect anyone in the class.
Schedule the Class
Choose how many sessions you'll need for the class based on the project. Remember that beginners start out slowly, so devote more time for instruction and correcting mistakes. Set the class time as long as needed to hold their attention. You might start with a one-hour introduction to sewing, and then include two more one or two-hour sessions to complete a simple project.
Choose a day of the week to conduct the class based on your target market. For example, if you are teaching kids during the school year, you will want to plan the class on a weekend when kids are not in school. If you are teaching students who may work full-time, hold the class after office hours to accommodate as many students as possible.
Before you make any other decisions, decide where to teach the class. You can host it in your own home -- if you have the room -- or other local options.
Keep these elements in mind when choosing a site:
- Decide on the number of students you can work with successfully. Build up to larger classes when you become more experienced and find a spot.
- Select a space that can accommodate multiple sewing machines with the needed outlets; allow room for pattern layout, cutting and ironing.
Check with local fabric stores, churches, 4-H clubs and other community spaces to see if they are willing to host your class.
Set the Fees
Think about the number of hours you devote to teaching nd how much you would like to be paid per hour in combination with the class size. The class fee may be higher when you have fewer students and can give more one-on-one attention.
If you plan to provide the materials, you have the option of tacking material fees to the price of the class to cover those costs, but this makes your start-up costs much higher.
Advertise and Market
Once you've planned all the details, market and advertise the class to potential students.
Create a flyer that detail the date, time, class description and location. If you have a website, add that to the flyer and any contact information for potential students to reach you. Add the skill level as well as the age range of students to the flyer. For example, if you are teaching children, you will want to indicate the age group.
Develop a relationship with a sewing store in your area, as students will need to buy supplies somewhere. Consider asking the manager for a small discount for your students to attend the class -- because this can also benefit the sewing store in the long run. Leave copies of flyers with local sewing and crafts stores. Create a press release for the local newspaper or tabloid, as this can trigger an interview and write up.
Direct your efforts to your target market's habits. For example, if you are teaching a class for kids, you may want to ask the local 4-H club to help spread the word.
Word of mouth is another easy inexpensive way to market your class. Tell friends and family about the class and encourage them to share the information with their friends. Announce the class on social media and encourage friends to share the information from their own social media sites.
Consider a small discount to students who bring a friend to class to build up your number of students.
Communication with Students
When students sign up for the class, collect important contact information such as phone numbers and email addresses. Send a reminder a few days before the class is scheduled to ensure students have everything they need and are excited about learning to sew. Ensure that you collect fees from students upfront or during the initial class. You can add a small device to your smartphone to accept credit cards to make it easy for students to pay.
Ashley Little is a craft writer and editor who lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. Little is the author of Chunky Knits and a writer for Craftsy.com. She has her hands in all kinds of crafts, from sewing to knitting, crochet and any other DIY project she can find.