How to Teach Jacket Classes in a Quilt Shop
Classes are always a great way to attract quilters to your store. Teaching jacket classes is like teaching quilt making in 3D. It takes time, creativity and skill. For the typical quilt shop, space is an issue for classes. I suggest limiting classes to ten students or less. I like to bring students in for three classes. This helps to keep everyone focused without overload. You may do these as full or half day classes. This depends on the ability of the teacher. A good compromise is three 6 hour classes with homework before class 2 & 3.
Class #1 Fitting
The most important part of my classes is “fit”, as the customers happiness depends on their being happy with the color, style and most of all fit of the finished garment. If the garment does not fit and feel comfortable it will hang in the closet forever. It might only come out once or twice to be entered in a quilt show. I guarantee a student with an ill fitting jacket will not be making another one. Remember that many quilters are not garment sewers. So the simplest way to walk them through this is to start with a sloper class. The Jacket Fitting Class in a Bag has been revised April 2012. It is easier to use at home or in a class setting. Each student should choose their jacket pattern by the body type that best describes themselves. There are five jacket styles to choose from; Slender/Petite, Slim/Pear Shape, Regular/Average, Full/Large Bust and Plus Size/1X-4X. Refer to “About FFQ” for detailed descriptions. Order Jacket Fitting Class in a Bag for each of your students. There is no one size fits all here, each student will get the best result if these are special ordered for their own body type. Pair students up and assist them in working through this class. Students should leave class with a customized jacket pattern. The sloper can be taken apart and used as a foundation for any of our bargello designs.
Homework before the next class:
I always have students do busy work at home in preparation for the next class. Cutting pieces and sewing strips together is time consuming and is best done at home.
Student should cut all strips of exterior jacket fabric and sew strips together into sets if doing a bargello design. If you are doing a scrappy design they should have all pieces cut and ready to apply to foundation.
Class #2 Design
Have students trace custom jacket patterns onto foundation fabrics, be it muslin or micro-fleece. Mark design onto foundations according to the design pattern directions. Students then apply fabrics to foundations per design pattern directions.
Homework before the next class:
Students finish fronts, backs and sleeves at home.
Class #3 Finishing
Using customized pattern re-cut jacket, baste together. Now for the moment of truth, students try-on their creations. Make any minor fitting adjustments needed. This could be a short half day class with teacher demonstrations for finishing, lining, binding and/or embellishments.
In conclusion, call us to order the jacket design patterns of your choice along with the Jacket Fitting Class in a Bag for each student by body type. This will give students two copies of the jacket patterns for class. Let us know what works for you so we can share helpful hints with other teachers. Good Luck and Happy Quilting!