My Jersey Girls❤
Last April, when I wasn't able to teach face to face, I offered some free virtual craft classes over Zoom. Like much of the population I had never even heard of Zoom before let alone used it. I was very nervous about the technology and had a few 'help me, Rick!' moments, some frozen faces, some 'you're on mute' troubles. These ginger steps teaching online would become the lifeblood of my business over the following year. And no group embodies this journey more than my beloved 'Jersey Girls'. This is our story...
After the initial success of the craft classes, I offered a couple of free dressmaking classes and then developed the confidence to offer some of my traditional paid classes online. The first was a 4 week course in sewing with stretch fabrics (jersey). Would anyone sign up? Would I be able to offer the same hands on help that I do for classes in person? One of my ideas to support the class was to create a closed Facebook group that all participants could post in - sharing their makes, mistakes and top tips. In June 2020 I created that first facebook group 'The Jersey Girls'
8 fabulous ladies - who I have now grown to know and adore, joined me for that first course in July. We began with a boat neck Breton top (ooh we had fun with those stripes), a simple classic t-shirt and a pair of knickers. Who knew how much fun could be had with some scraps of jersey and knicker elastic! Their posts onto the Facebook group were open and honest and sometimes very funny! At the end of the course I was delighted to hear that they had all really enjoyed and wanted more. We moved onto a 5 week course in late August covering sweatshirts, joggers and a longline slouchy cardigan. I loved seeing their fabric purchases, new sewing plans and hard fought triumphs (thank goodness for the unpicker) and I think they loved sharing them. It was starting to feel like a real community at this point and as the group members were the same, we just kept the Facebook group going. Soon it would feel just like a sewing family. The classes aren't just me teaching to the screen - we really interact and it feels very sociable.
In mid November we began Jersey Wrap dresses (over 3 weeks) - and I don't think any of the group would have imagined that they would be able to make a beautiful wrap dress back in July. Proud doesn't begin to describe it. By January the Jersey Girls wanted to develop their technical skills so we made The Camber Pattern from Merchant & Mills - a shift top with an enclosed yoke, bound neckline and bust darts followed by the Dove Blouse - a v-neck where we tackled full bust adjustments (and they all did VERY well). Then in February we tackled our latest and most challenging make yet - The Kalle Shirt. Collars, curved hems, plackets and burritos were no barrier to this bunch of intrepid sewists and they all encouraged each other (and me) to reach their very best. Can you tell that I love these ladies? And we're still going strong - trousers next!
If Lockdown hadn't happened, I am certain that I would not have met some of the Jersey Girls - they live all over Kent and Essex and may not have travelled to an 'in person' class. I am very grateful that I have met them and hope to see them all in one place one day when we can all meet up....for some sewing of course! This was the kind of community I wanted to create when I first started my business and I now have another fledgling group starting on their sewing journey - I hope they enjoy their classes and the community we are building just as much.
Don't be shy - join me!