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  • Margaret Wiseheart Anderson

project peacetrain

I remember when my oldest sister Bunny was home for summer break from college sewing clothes for Jani and me. That was around the time when my chin barely reached the converted treadle sewing machine tabletop. Okay all right, I'm exaggerating a bit and I was really tall for my age, but I would have been around 5 years old. I watched everything she did and asked questions like, why? After a few hours....wow... whole bunch of red and white flowery fabric become 2 new outfits with skirts that twirled! Bunny was a rockstar! I wanted to do that!

She learned to sew in her teens in high school home economics classes. Our mother didn't get the sewing gene, she always said. No, Mom was a knitter and a fine one at that. Our grandmother on the Johnston side was quite talented in the handiwork department and my Aunt Margaret always had some crafty stuff going on from kits she got by mail order.

My parents supported my eagerness to learn and always provided me with trips to the fabric store for supplies. What I clearly remember is, NOT finding the entire process quite as fascinating as the resulting outfits it yielded. The rewards were always having something new to wear that satisfied my creative expression. None the less, I'd need to learn the means to the end. That meant everything - designing, sketching, patterns, cutting, stitching, ironing, wearing and modeling. Yep, especially liked the last part! But even the beginning and middle parts really weren't that hard once you grasp the basics. One day, my dad brought home a big girl Singer sewing machine and mom told me I was enrolled in a summer sewing class and a Singer sewing contest. I won. I was 12. Not exaggerating....lol.

This is the age to start learning the basics of sewing-- around age 9 or 10 through middle school age. We learn by osmosis, like me with my chin on the sewing table. It is the reward to wear your own work and the exposure to the crafting of clothing that will often take the fear out of the scary parts of sewing for most kids. This idea for a workshop will prepare interested students for constructing wearable fashion, and will aid in developing their innate artistic and creative skills with the technical construction of clothing.

So, a business model is born. project peactrain...is a dream of many a young artist to be able to make and wear their own designs. In giving students the training to craft what they wear, and possibly what others will also want to wear, they will develop and progress through higher levels of fashion training more easily. Much of what will be taught will become old hat in a few years. Learning these skills early on is key to growth in the field of fashion. Then it's a matter of unleashing the creativity before it gets bottle-necked inside, as what tends to happen if we don't make an effort to practice our creative expression. Recognizing the traits that will help your child succeed in this area, such as curiosity and willingness to try, is key in helping your child find the right creative outlet. It's my opinion that kids are relating more to the clothing industry more now than ever, because of TV shows like Project Runway. Whatever it takes, it worth it in the end.

Being resourceful is one of the most important lessons for this class. Re-purposing, up-cycling, recycling or whatever you call it, gives us the challenges that we need to make the most with what we've got to work from. So several items of clothing to work from are going to be required. You could pull from your own wardrobe or find items at the local thrift shops. These garments would include blue or white jeans and denim jackets, men's 100% cotton shirts, skirts with lots of fabric to them, and embellishment items such as trim or appliques. A detailed list of what to bring will be provided to participating students.

project peacetrain is a name and endeavor that was partially inspired by the war in Ukraine. As an effort to raise awareness to the injustices of war, a donation to UNICEF will be made for each enrollment to the workshops.

Please let me know what you think and if you know someone who would be a great candidate as a project peacetrain designer!

Reach me by calling 215-669-4577 or by sending an email to wiseheartist@gmail.com Thanks for coming along on board!

Peace.

Margaret




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