Inexperience and It’s Sew Easy TV

#35 – It’s Sew Easy TV 1505

In March 2018 I went to Cleveland to video-tape a 10 minute segment for It’s Sew Easy TV. Before I went I wrote about my preparations: Going to Ohio & England!

This was way out of my comfort zone; I was a professional stagehand, backstage, for many years. I think of myself as a support person, not the onstage, out-front person. I had never been video-taped but the producers of It’s Sew Easy TV assured me it was just like teaching. I’m comfortable teaching, so this should be different but fun. OK…

The rest of this post is about that experience, most of which was really difficult. Most of the problems were due to my inexperience and few miscommunications with the producers of It’s Sew Easy TV. Also, I want to emphasize how much I admire the people who do this really well- like Joanne Banko and Angela Wolf of It’s Sew Easy TV.

At home I prepared my 10 minute speech and my samples. I practiced at home in front of my cousin and my husband, until they could recite my lines. Then I packed my large suitcase filled with clothes and samples and flew off to gray, sleet flecked Cleveland.

The It’s Sew Easy TV offices and studio is in an industrial park: gloomy and unwelcoming. I opened the door to the offices and was greeted with big smiles by Sarah Gunn, Cheryl Sledoba and JoAnne Banko! Michelle Paganini was video-taping her segments. I spent a lovely afternoon getting to know these lovely sewists. Wicked Cool!

Problem #1: I am not a morning person. I was scheduled to video-tape first thing the next day. I had to be at the studio at 7:30 am for Make-Up. I got up extra early to drink lots coffee before heading for the studio. OK…

Problem #2: After make-up, I went into the studio to set up my samples. That’s when I was asked what was I going to sew during the demonstration? Why…. Nothing! I had all my samples pre-sewn as I didn’t think there would be time to get used to sewing on a new sewing machine before the video taping. Since Bernina is a big sponsor of It’s Sew Easy TV, everyone must sew something on the their machine during their segment. OK…

Problem #3: There was no tele-prompter and when I started to “recite” my script, I was told it too rote. Improvise more. OK…

Problem #4: When I teach I spend a lot of time looking at my students and gauging their reactions to see if they comprehend what I’m saying. When video-taping you are supposed to look at the camera: not the camera man who’s behind and slightly above the camera, the camera. And did you know cameras don’t show any sign of comprehension when you tech them something? OK…

Problem #5: It is really really hard to demonstrate a sewing technique with your hands, explain what you’re doing and look at the camera; don’t look at your hands or at the sample. When I teach I look down at the sample and my hands, look up at the students and make sure they are following along with me, look down at the sample- you get the idea. When you are video-taping a How-To segment, you must look at the camera, not at your hands. OK…

Problem #6: A very small amount of time was allotted for the video-taping of my segment. No stopping or redoing if I left something out or misspoke, both of which I did. Keep talking, even when you forget what you were supposed to say. When I started to cough during the taping I was told to keep going; I finally stopped when I was coughing so much I couldn’t speak. The tape was backed up to where I started to cough and we went on from there. I expected a second recording would be made and the two versions would be spliced together to get a good version. I didn’t know there would be no second recording until we were “through” the segment. OK…

Problem # 7: In an effort to streamline my presentation I simplified my presentation. In fact, I simplified it so much it’s completely incomprehensible! OOPS…

Solution to problems #1-6: If I am ever recorded again I will rehearse with a professional director recording until I am comfortable with the results on the tape, be recorded while teaching a class with students present. Combining both of these solutions would probably be the best: rehearse a ton and have students present.

To anyone who tried to follow my directions for Sashiko from It’s Sew Easy TV the directions in my book, Creating Couture Embellishment, are very clear and good. I will post the direction in my next blog post; this blog post is plenty long!

A second technique was recorded immediately after Sashiko: Flounces. I don’t know when It’s Sew Easy TV will be airing this segment. I haven’t seen it. I hope it’s better than the Sashiko segment.

Have you had an experience like this? Something you thought would be fabulous, but turned out to be awful?







4 thoughts on “Inexperience and It’s Sew Easy TV

  1. Elizabeth cohen says:

    Quite the opposite experience when I went to your presentation in Chicago last year — I thought it would be sort of interesting but it was actually downright fabulous! Perhaps when you were ambushed by constraints you had no reason to anticipate, you didn’t get the chance to be yourself. When you spoke at Haute Couture in Chicago without those constraints you were stellar — not only a wonderful teacher and a memorable presentation but lots of fun, too.

    • Ellen says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Elizabeth. I had a wonderful time at the Haute Couture Club of Chicago! I do think it’s a question of expectations (and rehearsal)and I had the wrong expectations when I went to Ohio. Live and Learn!

  2. Audrey says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with Its Sew Easy TV. My thoughts upon reading… what a difficult experience that would be the first time, …for presentations to local sewing groups, there is no machine and samples are everything ( having presented my fair share), and now I know why I have seen some segments with obvious bloopers and why they were not corrected. Jeez, in the digital age I would think it would be easy. The question I still have is are the presenters paid , or is it done gratis with the idea that they will reach a larger audience to which to sell their products, patterns, books, embroidery designs, etc.? I have a copy of your lovely book. I use it for inspiration when I am looking for ideas to enhance a basic garment. The next time you tape a segment, I am sure you will do a bang up job!

    • Ellen says:

      Thank you for kind words about Creating Couture Embellishment (CCE). Using CCE as an inspiration is exactly how I hoped it would be used and how I use it.
      I was not paid by It’s Sew Easy TV I asked to do a segment in hopes of spreading the word about my book. I know some of the presenters are sponsored by sewing machine or thread companies. I would guess that the regular presenters, like Angela Wolf and Joanne Banko, are paid for their segments, but that is a guess. I don’t know why It’s Sew Easy TV doesn’t take the time to correct the bloopers or allow a second recording. The balance between time and money involved in editing vs. accurate directions seems clear to me: accurate directions win every time, but that’s why it took me so long to write CCE.
      Thanks again for your comment! I love comments!

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