White River Valley Fashion and Textiles students, Hannah and Riley, show off their hemmed pants that they completed in class.
Throughout history, people have been buying and wearing pants that fit them poorly. Some by choice, wearing fads like baggy jeans and low riders, others by circumstance, poor shopping and hand-me-downs. Both groups of people could remedy their unfortunate situation with the simple skill of sewing.
In modern times we are so blessed with good tailoring and many style options. Many people are able to find and purchase good fitting pants. This has allowed much of our clothing to not need altered. However there are times when alterations are very necessary. As part of the Fashion and Textiles course at WRV students are taught the skill of altering clothing. This week we have learned all about hemming pants in a way to maintain the commercial finish of the bottom hem.
In class we watched videos, broke the steps down and I showed them the process on a pair of pants that a student from another class needed hemmed.
We are so far removed from the necessity of altering clothing and using a sewing machine in general that it has been a big learning curve.
This important, yet simple task, while not very scary on the surface, incited deep fear or maybe just a mild anxiety in the hearts and minds of my Fashion and Textiles students.
Right away students started talking about some of the pants they had that needed to be shorter and how they have not worn these pants because they do not fit properly. But they were very nervous that they would not be able to hem them, that they would make mistakes and ruin the pants. Many students insisted that I hem their pants for them.
My purpose in the classroom is that of a supporting character, friend and teacher. I was able to provide pants for each student to practice the skill of hemming, teach them the process, and help calm their fears as they worked.
By the end of the class period, all students were well underway in their pursuit of practicing the skill of hemming. Two students had completely finished. One student had worked on her own pants and will soon have pants that fit her well.
I have come to realize that I teach students to alter pants and at the same time to not be afraid of trying a new skill.
Betsy Misner has been the Family and Consumer Science, formerly Home Economics, teacher at White River Valley for over a decade. Her motivation is helping students to strive for strong, happy, healthy families and providing career pathways. Check out more of what is happening in the classroom by following her on Twitter: WRVFACS@BetsyMisner