Friday, March 5, 2010

Giddy Up Friday: Sewing for Beginners

OK - So I won't tell you where I was - and who I was talking to...but someone I know has an older child that wants to learn to sew. Since my younger girls are already into this (and sitting on my lap with me to sew)...I thought I would share how I got them started.

Granted many stores now offer mini sewing machines for children 8 and up. But they are not worth it in my opinion. The options and capabilties are few and far between. It also does nothing to "teach" them the art of sewing...which must start by hand! This is also happening with knitting machines and such. If a child is given a blanket they will stay warm for a day, but if you teach a child to sew a blanket, they will stay warm for a lifetime!

We are not going to make a blanket, but will start small instead. Once you have all the materials, this would make a great kit for birthday party favors or gifts for birthday or holidays. There is prep work and you will need a few supplies as follows:
  • 1 Eyelet Plier Kit (not a Grommet Punch)
  • Pieces of Felt (you can buy by the yard or buy many colors in the 81/2" x 11" size)
  • Yarn
  • Plastic Needle
  • Poly-Fil stuffing (it's not all created equal - mid price range is sufficient) (low is ok for this - but know that it will bunch - even if it says it won't! and it's not so soft!) you can also use Bamboo or other fillers
  • Good Scissors too. 
All of these items can be purchased from any craft store (AC Moore, Joann Fabrics, Michaels, Hancocks and even some in the big W store - the one I don't love to promote). If you go to any of the craft stores I have listed, be sure to sign up in advance on their websites for coupons via email. You can save 40, 50 or even 60% off on a single item! Crazy worth it!!!

OK - So here we go.

Step 1: Place 2 of your felt peices together and cut out your desired shape (circle, heart, square - anything simple). You can also cut out block letters and make the whole alphabet - one a day - it would take less than a month!

Step 2: Once you have your shape cut out, grab your eyelet pliers and all along the edge, punch holes approximately 1/4" apart from each other. If they are too close, the felt will tear easily. If it is too far apart, the stuffing can come out. Continue to punch holes until you've gone around the whole shape.

Step 3: Cut one long strand of yarn (from your childs finger tips to the middle of their neck). Thread your needle. Do not place a knot in the needle but rather - let the thread go half way down the longest length.

Step 4: Decide which stitch pattern you think your child can do. Often times, children want to loop around front to back which is called a "Whip Stitch". Another easy stitch is the "Straight Stitch". For an older child ready to learn a new stitch, try the "Blanket Stitch".
To watch video's of how these stitches are done or to learn others - a simple google or you tube search will bring up plenty to watch. (please be cautious when viewing unknown videos on these sites with children present - as some may be mislabeled and inappropriate). Annie's Attic is also a great resource for various Stitch, Crochet, Knitting and Quilting lessons.
Step 5: When you start the stitching, don't put a knot in the end of the thread and leave a good 2-3 inches for tying the knot later. Continue the desired stitch around the shape and leave a 11/2" opening for the stuffing.

Step 6: Stuff the shape to be as fluffy as you'd like. Be careful not to over stuff with love, or it will rip the felt.

Step 7: When you are done stuffing, finish stitching the rest of the way. Tie a good knot with the ends, trim the yarn to about 2" and hide the threads down in with the stuffing. You can do this by poking the needle all the way though to the other side, pulling the left over thread into the center of the stuffie.

Repeat Steps 1 - 7 as many times as you'd like. When you child has mastered that or if your child is older, you can try felt shapes without punching the holes, and using a large doll needle that is rather dull (with adult supervision) and embroidery floss. After that, they can hand sew a small doll blanket using pieces of fabric with a much smaller needle and regular all purpose thread, and then someday will be able to sew on their own buttons, patches and make their own costumes!

My 5 year old daughter made the red heart you see in the top picture! (Thanks little elephant!) Have a great day everyone. If you enjoyed this post, please do leave a comment and let me know. kg


sweet european dreams said... [Reply]

oh my goodness, the BLANKET STITCH! I love the look of the blanket stitch but haven't tried it yet...these are great photos - I'll have to move this stitch up my to-do list.

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