The Handwork Curriculum at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Lisa Roggow. Her loving care of the children is evident in these letters to parents of each grade.
Greetings Grade 8 Parents:
I wanted to let you know a little bit about our plans for Eighth Grade Handwork. In our array of handwork tools, the sewing machine is the most complex. We work with it during eighth grade as the students learn about the industrial revolution; a practical demonstration of the incredible changes technology can bring. It is always interesting to observe the children as they take their first turn on the machine. Some of them go so cautiously that the machine barely runs, while others have lead foots and have difficulty stopping and staying on an even line. They are steering with their hands, accelerating with one foot and learning to keep their fabric within the boundaries. Add to this picture the fact that they must learn to anticipate when to stop and how to reverse and you will see why I often refer to sewing machine work as an early driver’s ed experience.
Our first project this year will be the last one you see- we will make a lined bag that will be used to keep our projects in for the remainder of the term. This bag is a WSA tradition, and for good reason. It has a fairly simple construction, allowing students who are new to the sewing machine to learn how to sew straight lines, to keep an even 5/8” seam allowance, and to pivot. In order to make the lining, they have to cut and sew an exact replica of their first piece so that the two fit together. Sewing is completed by stitching two seams – one close and the other very close to the top edge, creating a casing for a drawstring. Once this project is complete your child should be able to repair all those shorts and hoodies that have lost their drawstrings!
With the completion of the bag the children should have a basic familiarity with the machine and sewing seams, and begin to be able to visualize garment construction. This will prepare us for our next project, pajama pants. Skills sets introduced here include reading and following written instructions from a pattern, sewing accurate curves, and measuring to fit.
Once the pj bottoms are completed, the children will be allowed to select a final handwork project. Choices include pieced pillow cases with French seams, decorative pillows, and skirts. Depending on the student’s experience and expertise, they may select a more complex project not on this list.
The eighth grade has handwork every Friday afternoon. It has been my delight to have worked with many of your children since we leaned to knit together in first grade. It is my hope that we both enjoy our time together this year, and that we bring strong focus and good intent as we create our last handwork pieces together.
Ms. Bulmer and I are very grateful for the opportunity to work with your children, and look forward to a wonderful eighth grade experience. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns about the handwork curriculum.