Saturday, May 10, 2008

Project Saturday: She Said ¡Sí!

A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

So much has happened in the last week that I hardly know where to begin! I guess I'll resort to that boring, old standby - the beginning… ;)

First, I carefully prepared a number of sentences in Spanish ahead of time using Altavista’s babel fish and went to the restaurant on Thursday afternoon. Anna remembered me and accepted my offer of sewing lessons!

As long as I was reading from my paper, things seemed to go smoothly. It got a bit stickier when I ran out of sentences on my paper, but I think we managed reasonably well. Luckily, she does know a few words in English.

Here is what I think happened: She offered her place for the sewing lessons and gave me her address. She asked if a friend (who also works in the kitchen) could come too. We agreed on this Sunday at 1:00 pm. She asked if they needed to have fabric available for the first lesson and I said no.

Of course, I may have agreed to meet her female friend, in the buff, at a seedy motel for a tryst… My only hope is that if I got all those bits wrong, then I also got the date and time wrong! ;)

Seriously, I am super excited and have been planning and preparing like crazy ever since!

First, I laid out a rough plan. I wrote the plan up in Spanish, so that I can show it to them and we can make any adjustments that they would like.

This week, I plan to go over the flash cards that I am making with sewing vocabulary, practice using the sewing machine a bit, take measurements and draw out skirt patterns on tracing paper. Next week I’ll take them shopping for fabric, and we’ll sew the skirts the following weekend. After that, we’ll move on to commercial patterns and slowly introduce things like zippers, buttons & buttonholes, collars, cuffs, etc.

The first skirt will be an A-line skirt with an elastic waistband. I'll let them decide if they want pockets or not, and a ruffle around the bottom or not. We'll draft out the patterns to fit their measurements according to the instructions in the book "Sew What! Skirts."

The other big thing that has been taking up my time is preparing the flashcards. I easily generated a list of about 50 sewing-related terms (list included at the end of the post) and have spent the better part of two days finding pictures to illustrate each of them. I scanned the pictures and am printing them out onto pre-perforated postcard cardstock (Avery #8387).

Figuring out the Spanish equivalents for all of those terms wasn't always easy either! I used the Singer book, "El ABC de la Costura" and some Neue Mode patterns that I purchased a while ago when they were being sold for $1 each. The Neue Mode patterns have directions in many languages, including English and Spanish, so they became my sewing Rosetta Stone!

I still have to write up some sentences to start and end our first lesson, but I'm pretty close to being as prepared as I'm ever going to be... ;)

Thank you so much to everyone who left encouragement, advice, offers of help and vocabulary! Wish me luck on Sunday afternoon!

Vocabulary: basting stitches, bias, bias tape, blouse, bobbin, bust, button, buttonhole, collar, dart, dress, elastic, fabric, fold, grainline, hem, hip, interfacing, iron, long, needles, pants, pattern, pattern pieces, pin cushion, pleat, pocket, presser foot, ruffle, ruler, scissors, seam, seam allowance, seam gauge, seam ripper, selvage, sewing machine, short, shorts, skirt, sleeve, stitch, straight pins, tape measure, thread, tracing paper, waist, zipper.


Claire said...

Gwen, you are truly one of the most generous persons I've run into. Do you know how touched Anna must be that you took the time to delve into her language and communicate AND that you are taking it upon yourself to teach her to sew. The offer still stands if I can send anything your way let me know. I certainly have an overabundance of almost everything.


Becky said...

Wow... teaching someone to sew sounds hard enough without crossing a language barrier too! Best of luck to you both on this endeavor.