Happy birthday Sofia!
Yesterday it was dull and grey, what better thing to do than embroider? With Gracie beside me, she was using a hoop for the first time, we had a quiet afternoon of making.
Give a child a hoop! That's my new motto for sewing with children. Gracie has long been able to master a simple running stitch, but was willing to conquer new stitches simply because I gave her an embroidery hoop. She felt it was real embroidery because she used the same tools as mummy.
Gracie's heart. She used a backstitch.
Not bad for a six year old. The only thing I did for her was help her knot the thread.
Seven fail-safe tips for hand sewing with children:
1. Let them use real tools, especially the needles. Ever tried to sew with one of the safety needles that have a blunt end for children? I can't do it, don't know how they'd be able to. I even bring real needles into the classroom - shhhh, don't tell. Same with scissors, let them use proper fabric scissors. If they are embroidering on cloth, give them a hoop. (Incidentally, I've never had a poked finger in my four years in the classroom.)
2. Keep the thread or embroidery floss on the short side. Don't cut a piece more than about 12 inches or 30cm long (at the most.)
3. Wax the thread or embroidery floss. Run the thread along some beeswax to help keep it from tangling too easily (I do this for my own sewing too.)
4. Choose simple shapes. Keep to very simple shapes and simple stitches until the child feels confident.
5. Encourage the boys to have a go. Boys usually love to stitch and often are better at it than the girls. Every sewing project I've brought into the classroom boys managed easier than the girls.
6. Don't try a big project. Create small things then add to them if you want to. Children feel better about trying new things when they can finish it in a short amount of time - they love a quick pay off - so do I!
UPDATE: Forgot to add this very important item
7. It's a good idea to divide the child's floss (so it's not too thick) into three strands then tie the two loose ends together, knotting the end. This will eliminate the problem of their needle coming unthreaded over and over. I learned this one the hard way after my first classroom sewing venture.
And while Gracie was having fun with her hoop, I was enjoying mine. I made this little "Go fly a kite" gift bag for Gracie's friend Sofia.
I've been playing around with these little drawings for a while and decided to bring one to life on fabric. I appliqued some Liberty fabric for a dress then embroiderd the body and a heart on the kite made from a scrap of raw silk. Her shoes are simple felt.
When I put the bag together I added pom-poms simply because all little girls love pom-poms.
Inside the gift bag went two Rosie Flo colouring books. If you've never seen them, find them. They are made up of the drawings of gorgeous clothing and accessories to which you add heads, legs, and arms. The books are also made of nice quality paper so they aren't the price of your average colouring book, but worth it.