Learning to Sew: celebrating with sewing

The other night I had the joy of celebrating one little girl’s birthday with a little sewing.

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Eleven sweet girls gathered around tables with hoops, needles and a mix of felt flowers and buttons and created these cute little flower hoops. sewing party 2015

It’s always so much fun to watch someone pick up a needle and thread for the first time and then see their joy when they master the rhythm of up and down.

sewing party 2015

I love the creativity and how different everyone’s hoops turned out. Some of the girls went crazy with the flowers, some were slow and meticulous and some went for simplicity. It was great!

Interested in throwing a party like this? I offer these sets individually in the shop and I’m contemplating offering party sets in 2016. But you can put your own set together too. Here’s my suggestions:

Putting together a flower hoop party set:
brown kraft paper (to wrap the tables with)
six inch wooden embroidery hoops
size 22 chenille needles
size 5 cotton pearl embroidery floss (you can find these with all the typical embroidery floss – usually hanging on the wall)
felt flower cut outs in a mix of colors
felt initials (about 3″ in size)
Ribbon for hanging
a mix of flower buttons and regular round buttons
and white felt circles (about an inch larger than your hoops)

Before the party, set all your white felt circles in the hoops and thread all your needles.
I highly recommend having a needle threader (this one is the bomb) handy for those times with needles to come unthreaded)
Lay out your flowers and initials on the table.
Sew on your initials first using a running stitch and then sew on the flowers and buttons. Remind your little party goers to always start from the bottom and bring your needle up and down.
Tie a ribbon through the screw hole and enjoy.

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summer camp # 1 WIP

My first ever summer sewing camp is coming up in less than a week and I think I’m finally almost ready! I’ve spent the last month planning and replanning and creating examples of all the fun things we are going to be creating during this week. The theme is Monsters, Mustaches and Masks (think a mix of spies and just plain old disguises).

Here’s a few sneak peeks at a few of the projects I’ve been working on for next week!

Mr. Mustache Man

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A giant mustache pillow

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Mustache Hoops

And so many more! I can’t wait to share all the awesome creations these girls create!

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sewing for little hands {a little bag}

Sewing rainbows. 101 class spring 2015

In my sewing 101 class, we have a standard repertoire of first time sewing projects. They all go together as their first sewing kit. All of these projects come from the great book Sewing School by Amie Plumbly. We start out sewing buttons on by making little needle books. Then we move onto sewing a running stitch and stuffing a little pin cushion.

The last project has always been a little bag to hold all that in. For the first few times I taught this class I followed the directions in the book and honestly, it was too much for most of my newest sewers. Trying to sew all the way up the bag and also sew a casing was just frustrating for most of them and then when it was time to thread the ribbon through the casing they pretty much handed the bags to me.

Sewing rainbows. 101 class spring 2015

This time around I decided to shorten this project a little and take out the sewing of the casing. I pre-sewed a 1 inch casing on pieces of fabric and that left only the sewing up the sides of the bags for them. It was a quick way for them to see a finished, usable project and the basics of how a bag is sewn together. We also opted to sew with the right sides together so that they could turn it right side out and not see their stitching. Threading the ribbon through the casing was still a tricky concept to grasp, but the frustration level was much lower!

 

Tips for sewing for little hands
A running stitch is one of most versatile stitches to teach a new friend wanting to learn how to sew.
The biggest hurdle is remembering to go up and down – bottom to top to bottom. It’s the basic rhythm of sewing.
One thing to remind them of is that they stitches don’t need to be tiny, nor do they need to be giant. The bigger they are the more likely they are to have some things missing from their bags, but they don’t have to be super tiny either. Just about the length of your thumb nail is perfect.

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learning to sew: tic tac toe roll up

Roll up cover

My second level of sewing classes started this week and in this series we are doing a machine AND a hand project in each class. I’ve been searching for a good machine practice project for a while and see paper mazes all the time on pinterest, but I just wasn’t sure I wanted my students sewing through paper on the machines. The original plan was for me to trace a “maze” onto some fabric, but after doing a little more research online I ran across this great project on the Sewing School website (home of the great Sewing School series of books). I took the idea of a tic tac toe bag and altered it some to meet my objectives. It turned out to be a great project and is an easy one for you to recreate at home.

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

You need some muslin for the front (or any other solid light colored fabric) and some craft felt for the back.

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

Cut the muslin and the felt into 6×8 rectangles.

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

Using a ball point pen and a ruler, draw your lines to make your squares.

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

Set up your machine on the lines and using a straight stitch, sew from end to end.

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

Use a zig zag stitch to sew the muslin to the felt. Make sure to leave the top open for your pocket!

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

Cut an 18″ length of ribbon, fold it in half and sew the folded end to the inside of the felt.Count out 4 buttons each of 2 different colors and throw them inside the pocket.

Tic tac toe roll up. For practicing machine sewing

Roll it up from the bottom and wrap the ribbon around and tie it up.
Throw it in your backpack and have a quiet little game to play with a friend where ever you go!

After the girls were done sewing their little pouches they each received a “sewing machine driver’s license” that I found online. These were such a hit and we had a lot of fun celebrating!

Random Other Things…

If you grew up in church youth group in the 90’s you know all about the music of Rich Mullins. There is a movie out about his life and a coordinating album that is filled with covers from some great artists. In addition to Rich Mullins, you might also remember Sixpence None the Richer. Leigh Nash has an amazingly haunting voice and I never knew that she did her own album of hymns. It’s beautiful. So set up your sewing machine, have a listen and take a trip down youth group memory lane 🙂

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