Sewing camps let kids explore fashion side

Christine Hambleton started sewing when she was 10 years old.

Her mom showed her how to use a sewing machine and she started making clothes for her little sister’s dolls. By high school she was making clothes for herself.

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After working as a paralegal at a law firm for several years, her interest in fashion and sewing drew her back to school and she completed the Fashion Arts program at Vancouver Community College. She then worked with a local fashion designer for three years before deciding to start her own business about two years ago.

Made By Me Sewing Studio in North Vancouver is equipped with sewing machines, sergers, an industrial straight stitch machine, ironing stations, and a large cutting table, plus cutting shears, pins and other basic sewing gear. In this large, open sewing space, Hambleton offers a variety of classes, as
well as private birthday parties and day camps. When she opened the business, Hambleton was surprised to discover more kids than adults signing up for instruction.

“It’s been amazing. It’s super fun. They are so positive and energetic,” she says of teaching kids.

Alexa Finlay cuts out a pattern at Made By Me Sewing Studio.

Kids and teens are more willing to try new things and are generally “fearless” when it comes to learning new skills., she adds. “They inspire me to try new things and find new projects for them.

After a successful series of Spring Break camps, Hambleton is once again offering half- and full-day summer camps for boys and girls ages eight and older. Each camp has a different theme and is tailored to different age groups. In the beach-themed camp participants make beach-related items like a tote bag, a swimsuit cover-up, and a sunglasses case. In the sleepover-themed camp, kids learn how to make things like pajama shorts, a sleep mask, a toiletry pouch, and a stuffie.

The Extreme Bedroom Makeover camp is a popular choice, says Hambleton. Participants in this program spend some time planning their rooms and picking a colour scheme then pick from a variety of projects such as creating fabric baskets, throw pillows, wall organizers, or a stuffed toy. This summer, Hambleton is also offering two fashion camps, one for younger kids and one for teens.

The older kids will discuss their fashion inspirations then create mood boards and sketches before picking their choice of fabrics and tackling some commercial patterns to make their own clothes.

The patterns are fairly basic, but it doesn’t take long for anyone, including kids, to get good at sewing, says Hambleton.

“The patterns have changed, they are simpler now,” she explains.

It depends on the complexity of the garment, but some kids she has worked with who have never used a sewing machine before have learned how to make a T-shirt after just a couple of sessions.

Hambleton says she has seen a resurgence in sewing popularity and credits reality TV shows like Project Runway and home renovation and makeover shows, as well as online DIY and craft sites and information.

“Kids are thinking about this now, thinking about the possibilities, thinking about the things they can make and do, says Hambleton. “For them I think it’s an extension of art.”

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