It finally happened .. Monday was my very first time teaching a doll making class. As far as I know there aren't any other doll classes in the area so I opted to teach a beginner doll by Julie McCullough of Magic Threads called Poptop. Originally I had a second student enrolled but she had to cancel last week so it was only the one student and me. The interstate was briefly closed due to ice and snow otherwise my friend would have attended as well.
My student, Gloria, did a bang up job on sewing a doll for the first time. She wanted to make one for her granddaughter. We spent about six hours and at the end she had a doll that was almost finished. She'll stuff the second arm and leg at home and finish up the hand sewing parts. But the skirt is very close to done. I like how she cut the sashing with the chevron print going the other direction. It adds a little subtle detail. She said that she's going to make more dolls for her other granddaughters. Isn't that sweet?! That's what doll making is all about ... the joy and sharing of dolly smiles.
These Poptop dolls are my two sample dolls plus the red demo doll that I used to demonstrate how to sew and stuff the doll during the class. I really like this pattern because the dolls have that little touch of whimsy to them. Can't you see them sitting in the bookshelves of a girl's room?
It was a lot of fun teaching the class and I'm very glad that I tried it. But I don't think that I'll do a second one. The sewing machine shop just wasn't able to sign up people even though they said that there was a lot of interest. If you don't require students to sign up and pay at least a deposit prior to class, it's too easy for them to not show up the day of the class. So for all of the pre-work that I did: sewing two sample dolls, writing and printing out supply list class fliers for the shop, pre-sewing the demo doll parts, making kits for the students (pre cut skin tone fabrics, beads, etc), ordering patterns for the students from online shops, and writing out a check list of how to teach the doll ... for all of that work I earned a whopping $35. Supposedly the student who cancelled wants to come in and buy the pattern that I ordered for her. So until then, I'm also out an additional $10 for her copy of the pattern. (I was afraid that students would show up without a pattern if I left it up to them to order one.) Maybe next time I can find out if the designer offers the pattern wholesale and then leave it up to the store to order them in.
Yes, it was a learning experience for me. But I'm not willing to spend that much of my time for so little money. Unless the sewing machine shop changes their class policy to include a minimum number of paying students for classes, then I'll have to kindly step away. It also didn't help that the sewing machine shop's website listed the class incorrectly. They mentioned it properly in their newsletter but that wouldn't help if you were to check out the website. We had to re-schedule the class because a day before the first class date no one had signed up yet.
I'd rather have a doll making day with my friend at one of our houses than do this again. However, if I had more students and made a bit more money then it would probably be worth it.
So for those of you who have taught classes, what are your policies for signing up students? What's the minimum number of students to make it work for you? And do you teach patterns from other designers, or are you only teaching items or projects that you've come up with? Do you offer kits? Any suggestions for making this a more successful outcome the next time?