Work Hard, Play Harder: Sew Much Fun

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecc. 3:1) Join us as we explore a season of fun and family! Help us discover new ways to enjoy family time and build lasting memories.

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Summer_work-playNow I know sewing might not be fun for everyone. To be honest, at times, it isn’t much fun for me. (At least, not in those moments when I am wrestling with my machine or trying to stuff an oversized pillow and sew it shut.) Generally though, sewing is a lot of fun!

There’s nothing quite like taking a scrap of fabric, or an old item you plan to reuse, and turning it into something creative and unique. My girls have been practically begging me to dig out the sewing machine (I keep it tucked away, we don’t have room for a sewing area in our house. I wish!) and teach them the ropes. This week, that’s just what we did!

While I usually tend to jump into life’s activities full throttle, I am trying to understand that kids usually do not do well with this method; especially when it comes to new skills being learned. I thought we had better ease our way into machine sewing and did some online searching for the perfect project to start us off.

What I found was an amazing website, with a section specifically designed for teaching little people how to sew. Skip to My Lou was just what I was looking for. I downloaded her helpful practice pages and off we went!

Sewing Practice Sheets

Click on the picture to be directed to the Skip to My Lou website.

So far, the kids are really liking it. Even my little man was excited to get in on the fun. He was the first to test out the machine. (As he is the youngest, I thought it best to let him go first and not test his patience.) They all did a wonderful job on their projects.

The first sheet, dot-to-dot, we did with a simple stitch. Nothing fancy, just an opportunity for them to better learn the skill and how to work the machine. The second sheet, the maze, we chose to be a little more creative. For each line of the maze, the kids were allowed to test out various patterns that came on our sewing machine. All together, we have over 26 different stitches to work with.

We learned a lot today! We experimented with stitch length, width, and tension. They learned how to thread the machine and thread the bobbin. They learned how to start off a project, turn corners, and finish neatly.

As this was the kids’ first attempt at machine sewing, we thought doing these two sheets was enough for one day. After all, one machine and four kids takes a lot of time! In the future, I might need to invest in one more; just so the kids aren’t having to wait as long to get some work in. We’ll see…

For future projects, because there will be future projects, I think we will be using quite a few ideas found on Nana Company; as well as Skip to My Lou. Nana Company has a plethora of ideas, starting with THIS adorable snack mat.

A great day of fun. Plus, it knocked another ‘pin’ off my list of ‘to-dos’!

Time to Chime In: Do your children sew? Who taught them and how often do they put their skills to use?

Keepers #11 (2013-2014)

Every once in a while, it’s fun to tackle a large project, instead of working on smaller ones which offer instant gratification. This was our thought process for handling the planning of both March and April. Instead of four smaller skill sets, we chose to pick one large one which would span all four meetings. Our project of choice: teaching our girls how to sew by hand!

I should probably note… I have no training in this field. That meant one of two things. Either I was going to be really bad at teaching because I have little experience in this OR I was going to be a decent teacher because the girls were going to be learning from someone who is not going to assume prior history and is at just a slightly higher level than they. That said; our time together was incredible!

Instead of immediately starting in on a major project, I thought it was important to begin with the basics. Our girls should learn how to handle basic sewing notions before they try to complete a project. I also wanted to get the girls started with their own sewing kits. This was our starting point.

Last summer, I “pinned” THIS amazing website to aid us in our sewing endeavors. I thought our girls would really enjoy creating personal sewing kits, making it their own. These mason jar sewing kits were the perfect fit! They are simple to make and incredibly adorable.

After creating our kits, we spent a few moments filling them with various notions and explaining the purpose behind each item. We made sure to include a mini-lesson on various needle types and thread variations, as well.

What good is a kit, if you aren’t going to use it? Each young lady was given a medium-sized rectangle of felt, a ruler, and a marker. We encouraged each girl to draw a few lines on her felt and then our first sewing lesson began! We taught them how to thread their needle (both by hand and with a needle threader); how to tie off their thread; and one basic stitch, the running stitch.

It took several minutes for the girls to learn the running stitch, but before long everyone was doing just fine. We gave the girls a little time to complete several lines of practice and then taught them one final skill for the day; tying off their stitches.

Keepers #11 (1-7)

 

Keepers #11 (2-7) Keepers #11 (5-7) Keepers #11 (6-7) Keepers #11 (4-7) Keepers #11 (3-7) Keepers #11 (7-7)

After our meeting, one of my girlfriends alerted me to a new offer by Joann’s and Craftsy. For a limited time, you can sign up for free, online classes to help you become more proficient in sewing. Need a little help figuring out your sewing machine? Interested in learning how to piece together hand-made garments? Would you care to learn more about quilting? This offer just might be for you!

If you’re looking to get your littles involved in a few sewing endeavors, Skip to My Lou might be just what you’re looking for. There are tons of awesome ideas to help you and your child start their sewing adventure, with lots of projects to tickle your fancy. If you go nowhere else, definitely stop here and take a gander.

So far, our lessons are going very well! The girls are having a great time and they are excited to be learning a new skill set. I’m glad they are having fun because we aren’t done yet! There are several more stitches for us to learn in our next meeting, followed by a two-part project we’ll begin in April. We can hardly wait!

Who taught you how to sew and was it with machine or by hand? Have you taught this skill to your own children yet?