Tag Archives: sewing school

Passion, Joy & Purpose: My Journey Of Becoming A Sewing Teacher

Believe it or not, I haven’t always been a sewing teacher. In fact, for most of my adult life I was doing something entirely different. But look at me now – it’s been almost 10 years and I’m still going strong!

10 whole years of teaching the art of sewing to children and adults… I still can’t believe it! If you would have asked me when I first started my sewing business if I would still be in business in 10 years, I would have said, “Probably not.” I hoped I would be – but I started this job during a recession, and a lot of people were out of work. I was hopeful, but I was also realistic.

I didn’t always aspire to be a sewing teacher, either…

In May 2009 I lost my job of almost 15 years. I had been working at a bookstore – one of the best  jobs I ever had. Part of the reason I loved it so much was I wasn’t an avid reader growing up… until my 5th grade teacher changed me forever. (She was also our nextdoor neighbor, which helped).

My teacher knew I didn’t like to read, so she told my mom she’d do what she could do to help me love reading. She hand-picked a book for me to start with – it was Where The Red Fern Grows. I remember starting to read it and instantly loving it. I loved it so much I hid behind the couch to keep everyone from bothering me until I finished it.

My 5th grade teacher changed me for sure –  and as I worked at the bookstore my love for reading (and my passion for helping others learn to love it too) grew. I thought of my 5th grade teacher often when I worked at the bookstore, and know she would be pleased with how much I’ve grown.

For all who are wondering: here’s a picture of me in 5th grade!

I believe there is a time and a season for everything – and after 15 years my season was over at the bookstore. What would come next? I wasn’t sure.

Times were hard. We were in the middle of a recession and jobs were hard to come by. After about a week of fruitless job searching, I knew this wasn’t going to be easy.

Alina, a dear friend and former coworker of mine, suggested I start teaching people how to sew. However, I was pretty sure that wouldn’t work either. I had attempted to start sewing businesses in the past, and they never worked out.

After more fruitless job searching, I finally thought to myself, “I might as well look online – maybe someone has a program about teaching sewing that I could buy.” Sure enough, I found Kids Can Sew. The startup costs were minimal, and it ended up being exactly what I had been hoping for.

Sewing has always been my passion. (Not that I’m the world’s best sewer, but I love it nonetheless). It was – and is – my joy and my therapy. Running this business has given me the purpose I’ve been looking for my whole life. I feel like I “have it all” doing my passion for a living – it brings me joy and purpose.

Sewing Tip: This is perhaps not a sewing tip as much as it is a life tip. Sometimes, seasons end and it’s time for us to engage in something new. If you have a passion for something, you really can turn a “hobby” into a career! It takes work and determination, but it CAN be done! (I’m living proof of that!).

It’s been 9 years now and I’m still in love with my job. As such, it’s got me thinking… next year I’ll have been in business for 10 WHOLE YEARS (in June 2019) – which is a HUGE accomplishment! I really want to “go all out” celebrating this milestone, and so I’ve decided to do something special.

For the next 9 months (including September) I will be writing sewing blogs that commemorate the last 10 years of owning JoLene’s Sewing School. I’ll also be sending out newsletters and doing Facebook updates – all with information on upcoming sewing events, giveaways, and service projects. You won’t want to miss this!

That’s not all… these next 9 months are leading up to something BIG. In June of 2019 I’ll be celebrating my 10th Anniversary Bash! This will be a very big event – and I want all of you to come!

Details and dates on the party, sewing events, giveaways and more will be coming. Keep your eyes peeled for updates, and make sure to check my website and follow me on Facebook for more information. This is going to be SO FUN!

 

Happy Sewing!

JoLene

P.S: Keep your eyes peeled for next month’s blog: “From Then To Now: The Makings Of A Sewing Teacher.”

sewing studio

New Sewing Studio

My new sewing studio is finally finished!

 sewing studio

We moved into a new home with our daughter Stephanie and her family in August 2012. Hard to believe that it’s been over a year already! The first thing we did in our new home was put together my sewing studio, where I held classes throughout the year as I continued to work on getting it where I’d like it to be. Putting together the sewing studio has been a lot of hard work and there are still things I would like to do,  as always, but for now I will call it finished.

After moving a door, adding new lighting, and painting, the room was ready to start looking like a sewing studio. There are many small (and not-so-small!) elements that came together to make this lovely space in which to sew and to teach sewing.

  • I bought used cupboards from someone remodeling an apartment. They fit perfectly.
  • My daughter Stephanie ripped out her breakfast bar from upstairs and we recycled her counter top with a lot of help from my husband. After adding a ton of elbow grease we made it fit and it looks lovely.
  • I bought four black desks from Ikea for sewing stations. They were just what I wanted. I used to use long plastic fold up tables, but I think the individual stations work much better.
  • I bought four  brand new Janome sewing machines from SAVE Stores on Foster and 67th in SE Portland. I’m a big fan of Janome machines, and last year I replaced my computerized machine with this same brand.
  • My mother-in-law left us her table and chairs and with nowhere to put the chairs I decided to use them in my sewing room, giving the room an added charm.
  • My antique walnut table is serving as a cutting table. With square ends and the ability to become longer if I need it, I just love having it there.
  • The rest of the room includes shelves that house the rest of my supplies and fabric.
  • My sister Tonya has come a couple of times and helped me organize and decorate, which has been invaluable. The last time she came we decorated the big wall above the sewing stations. It says it all: SEW in big red letters with hoops in a variety of fabric.
  • And last but not least the door. I bought an antique door, stripped and painted it, and put different handles and hinges. It really tops off this simply lovely space.

sewing studio 2

sewing studio 3

My dream of having a sewing room/studio has come true. Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I am at my own sewing machine sewing to make sure I’m awake!

Happy sewing,

JoLene

Weekly Classes are now open for registration! Find them under Child/Teen Classes. Dismiss