A. Marie Silver

A. Marie Silver

The Worst Sewing Lesson I’ve Ever Had

Once upon a time, I wanted to learn how to sew so that I could eventually learn how to quilt.  It was a simple, non-complicated desire.  I looked and looked everywhere for sewing lessons and finally found lessons offered at Joann Fabric.

I eagerly called the store and signed up for a class, paying for the $35 lesson over the phone.  My excitement for the class grew and grew until finally, the day arrived.  I pulled into the parking lot 30 minutes early so that I would have time to use the restroom and locate a sewing gauge that was required for the class.  As I stepped out of my car my cell phone rang from inside my purse.  I dug through three layers of crap until I finally found it.

“Hello,” I said.

“Yes.  Hello.  This is Babs from Joann Fabric.  Am I speaking with Allison?”


“Yes.  Good then.  I’m sorry to have to tell you this but there was a mixup and there won’t be a class today.  I thought I would catch you before you left home.”

Too late.

“See the instructor who teaches the class is on vacation this week.  I’m surprised no one caught this mistake when they were enrolling you.”

That makes two of us.

“I can schedule you for next week.  It’ll be in the evening.  Is that okay?”

“That’s fine,” I said.

Oddly enough it wasn’t fine.  The night before the class the I remembered that I wouldn’t be able to attend so I  rescheduled for the following week.

Excited to finally learn how to sew I arrived at the store, once again 30 minutes early.  As the time got closer, I stopped an employee in the store to find out where the class was.

“Excuse me, where do I go for the sewing lesson?”

That’s an excellent question,” the employee said.  “Let me find out for you.”

After a few minutes of puzzling looks and re-confirming with me that this was, in fact, the Basic Sewing course and not any other course, I was re-directed to the front of the store.  When I arrived at the counter I passed a dry erase board that very clearly indicated a Basic Sewing course was taught on this day at this time.  So I was a little surprised when the instructor said, “I’m very sorry but I wasn’t aware that there was a class today.”

“But the sign over here,” I pointed to the dry-erase board, “says that there is a class today.”

“Right,” the bewildered instructor said, “But no one told me there was a class and I’m the instructor for it.”

How does that work?

“I’m very sorry,” she said again.  “Can I reschedule for next week?”

Why not?  I nodded and a date and a time were set for the following week.

Four times could be the charm.  You just never know.

So on this fourth time I arrived to the store about ten minutes early.  I went to the front where she had been told the following week the course would be held.  There was a class in session that I figured would be over soon.  So while I waited to looked around at the different fabrics.  Suddenly, about five minutes after her class should have begun, my phone rang.

“Hello,” I answered.

“Hello.  Is this Allison?”


“This is Bertha from Joann Fabric.  Did you know that you were scheduled for a class today?”

Is that supposed to be a joke?  ‘Cause it’s not funny.

“Yes,” I replied, “I’m waiting for the current class to wrap up.”

“Huh?  Where are you?”

“At the front of the store, where the classes are held.”

“Oh no dear.  That’s not where your class is.  You really should have asked someone.”

What?  “I did.  Last week.  And I was told that it would be at the front of the store.”

“No.  This is a special makeup class.  It’s going to be taught in the back of the store.  That’s why it’s important to ask.”

Rude much. Didn’t I just tell her that I did ask.

Sigh.  “Okay.  I’ll head that way.”

I found her at the sewing section.  Concept! She hustled me into a small room at the back of the store.

“Okay.  So since you’re late, You should know that we use up every minute for this class.  It’s a crash course.”


Two hours went by, during which I learned about the various fabrics.  That was kind of helpful.  Also during that time she pulled out a large Rubbermaid box that contained all kinds of really neat sewing accessories and then she went through each and everyone telling me what it was and the theoretical use for each item.  Please note that she never actually demonstrated how to use any of it.  She never even showed me how to use the sewing gauge that I was told to buy for the class.

Then it was time to sew.  She had a pattern that she made up in her head and I was trying to pin it she kept interrupting me because I wasn’t pinning it in the right direction or I was pinning it too many times in one spot or not enough in another.  Okay.  That’s fair.  Since I don’t know anything about sewing I have to assume that there’s a logical explanation for this. 

When we actually got to the sewing machine she set it up for me and then said, “You’ll have to hurry!  Time’s almost up.”

So you made me sit through an hour of “See all the pretty things we want you to buy that you probably don’t need,” and now I’m being screwed out of the whole reason I paid for this class?  Great!  That’s fantastic!  Note the sarcasm.

I never knew just how hard it could be to sew in a straight line.  It’s even harder when you have someone saying, “Hurry up! No you’re not doing it right,  Start over.  You have to move faster.  Okay, we’ll just pretend that it’s straight.”

The next I heard was, “We’ll have to skip this next part.  Just pretend we did it.”

Keep in mind the entire sewing process was a little over thirty minutes.  And with her rushing me the entire time, it was a very aggravating thirty minutes.  Finally she said, “Okay.  Well we are out of time.  So if you pinch this end of the tote together then you’ll just sew here and of course you’ll have to finish the other handle but when you do you’ll just do this and then that and then sew here and then you’ll be done.”

And here comes the kicker, “Now if you sign up for a class on Saturday then all classes are 50% off.  Also we now will only offer a class if there is a minimum number of people in attendance.  If you want a private class then you’ll have to pay quite a bit more but we can do that for you also.”

Wait one second.  So, not only did I not get to finish my tote, or learn how to sew in a straight line, for that matter, but you want me to sign up for another class so that I can sit through another hour of “Buy all of this neat stuff you don’t need,” and then still not learn how to sew?  Forget you, lady!

The only thing I learned from this lesson is that when rushed, I don’t do good work.  Not to sound like a know-it-all, but I learned that lesson many, many moons ago and I certainly didn’t need to pay $35 to learn it again.

So….does anyone out there know where I learn how to sew?  ‘Cause I really do want to learn.

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A. Marie Smith

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