One of the first stitches to learn as a new sewer (whether you have big hands or small hands!) is a running stitch. In sewing class this week, we practiced sewing this stitch by making rainbow hoops just in time for St. Patrick’s Day next week. This is a great first project that creates such a fun little wall hanging (or blanket as some of my girls decided).
First up, gather all your materials:
- dmc cotton pearl floss in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple (see below for why cotton pearl is a better option for new sewers)
- 3 yellow buttons
- black felt for the pot of gold pattern
- a 6 inch wooden embroidery hoop
- white felt cut a few inches larger than the hoop (see notes below)
- a size 22 chenille needle (see notes below)
And here’s how to make your own rainbow hoop!
1. Take your white felt and put it in your wooden embroidery hoop. How do you do that? First put the hoop part without the screw on the table, then put your white circle on top of that and last take the hoop part with the screw and push it down on top of your felt and the other circle. You made a hoop sandwich!
2. Use the image of this black pot and cut out your pot of gold using black felt. Your pot should measure roughly 2 inches wide by 1 1/2 inches tall.
3. Either glue or sew down your block pot on the left or right side of your hoop.
4. Now it’s time to sew down your gold – er. buttons.
Lay your buttons one at a time where you want them to be on your pot of gold. Thread your needle with some yellow thread and remember when you sew a button you always come up from the bottom, through the hole to the top. Pull it till you hit your knot and go back down through the other button hole. Repeat this about 3 times and pick up your second button. Make sure you come up from the bottom!
5. After you have your pot of gold, now it’s time to sew the rainbow. Did you know there’s a trick to remembering the order of the rainbow? It’s called ROYGBIV – red, orange, yellow, green, indigo (or blue) and violet (or purple). So thread your needle with the red thread and let’s sew a running stitch!
Start over by your pot of gold and bring you needle up from the bottom. Pull it till you hit your knot. Then, move your needle about as long as your fingernail and push it back down into the fabric and you’ve made your first running stitch! Keep going as you make a curve all the way around your hoop. You are making a C that is standing sideways!
Keep sewing all the colors of the rainbow – starting at the pot of gold and sewing around the curve.
6. To finish your hoop for hanging – you can either leave the extra felt around the edge like a ruffle or you can use some craft glue (or a hot glue gun with a parent’s help) to glue that extra felt to the inside of the back. Use some left over thread for hanging and find a happy spot to hang your rainbow!
Here’s a few tips for new little sewing hands:
Why cotton pearl floss? Cotton pearl is a great first option because it doesn’t split into strands like typical embroidery floss. It comes in a great variety of colors and it’s thick enough to make a good line when doing first embroidery projects that isn’t too thick or thin.
Why felt? Felt is a great first sewing fabric for lots of reasons. It’s great because the edges don’t fray, it comes in lots of great colors and patterns and needles glide through it smoothly – but not so smoothly that your knot comes through the top.
Why chenille #22 needles? These are a great first needle because they have a larger eye for the thread to come through. But they are sharp!
I forgot to mention needle threaders: probably one of the best purchases I ever made for my little sewists, was a needle threader. There are lots of options out there, but the best I’ve found is either the Loran Needle threader (which you can find at JoAnn’s Craft Store) or a metal one similar (which Hobby Lobby sells). Stay clear of the little plastic ones with a little wire loop. Those fall apart faster than a biscuit crumbles.