First, you have some decisions to make. What is the intended point of focus or emphasis for your group and how do you choose your focus? Will you want or need sponsorship? How many participants do you need for your group? How is your group going to be organized? Who will lead your group? Where will you meet? What are the costs you can expect? Where do you find people to join your group? How get started, and how do you keep the group going and growing? What is the intended point of focus or emphasis, and how do you choose it?
Ask yourself, what do you enjoy about sewing? Do you enjoy clothing construction, patterns, alterations, embellishment, wearable art, embroidery, applique’, lace work, heirloom sewing, quilting, paper piecing, wall hangings, home décor, crafting, doll making, or some other even more specific area of sewing? Or do enjoy everything about sewing? Your group will need to enjoy the same things if it is to be successful. Indeed, the question of what you enjoy may not be the right question at all.
A better question might be, what are you passionate about? Your group will be all about sharing your passion! Often it is easier to broaden the focus to include more people, than to restrict your group with overly narrow limits. For example, you might have interest in making decorative purses. Ask your self what associated projects might be included in a group of sewers with some interest in hand bags? Is it possible your group could include a more general focus on accessorizing with purses, hand bags, travel bags, business cases, decorative boxes, book covers, etc.?
Remember, your Sewing Show N’ Tell needs to have a large enough scope to keep new ideas streaming. If the focus is 137 too narrow, you might find your group fizzling because it runs out of creative ideas. What happens when there is no focus? Try to imagine your group has eight members. You come together monthly to share your accomplishments and ideas. One member shows six pot holders. Another shows a queen size memory quilt with intricate designed blocks. Another shows a lacy heirloom pillow case. Another shows a picture of a chair she upholstered.
Eight participants share eight totally different projects in totally different areas of interest. Is there a chance, that someone is going to get bored when looking and listening to all the endless details of a project in which they have no interest? When a group is designed to be all inclusive, it is often very difficult to keep the individual participants satisfied. There are some general areas of sewing interest that might have greater success than trying to be everything to everyone.
When selecting a general theme for your group, the traditional areas of interest include: Clothing Construction, Embellishment (Applique, Wearable Art, and sometimes embroidery), Embroidery, Quilting (General, Paper Piecing, specific quilt projects), Home Décor (Window Dressings, Table Coverings, Wall Hangings, etc.), Heirloom Sewing (Delicate Lace and Victorian Recreations), and Crafting. Any one of these would make a great theme for a group as long as the group members understand the focus and are passionate about it. Will you want or need sponsorship?
What is sponsorship and how does it work? A sponsor is an individual or group that endorses, promotes, and supports your group. The Sew And Quilt Stores sponsor several groups. The store provides a convenient and comfortable place to meet, a hostess, refreshments (may or may not), and a general framework for the group. The store promotes the group to all its 138 customers and encourages them to plug in. The store listens to the interests of its customers and even creates new groups to bring people of similar interests together. The store takes responsibility for contacting and supporting group members with email notices and phone calls.
Many churches, sewing guilds, quilt guilds, and fabric stores sponsor sewing groups as well. The sponsor may do a lot or very little to support the group. Sponsorship may include a posting on a bulletin board and a general recognition that the group exists. The sponsor may provide money, promotion, a place to meet, instructors, hostesses, etc.