Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sewing with Kids: Week 1 - Hand-Sewing

This is the second post in my Sewing with Kids Series.  You can find my first post here on what is needed to get started.

No matter what kind of sewing you do at some point you are going to need to thread a needle, hand- stitch and make sure the stitching doesn't come undone.  Whether you are sewing on a button or repairing a hole in clothing these are essential to any type of sewing project.  Even though the kids are itching to get right to the machine I make them learn to hand-sew first.  It may sound boring at first but to spice it up I like to have them rummage through all the bright colors of embroidery floss and create a simple embroidery project.  This time I chose to have them cross-stitch a letter (an initial) and then have them add to it whatever else they want in the time that the class allowed.  During our next class we are going to turn it into a pin cushion to add it to their sewing kits.
The photo below is the sample I created.

What is taught during this week:
How to cross-stitch and simple embroidery.

How To Sew a Simple Cross-Stitch Letter

Supplies Needed:
White square of fabric - I precut 1 for each child that would fit in their embroidery hoops.  (These will later be cut down into 3 1/2" squares to sew into the pincushion.)
Frixion Pen or other disappearing tracing pen.
Embroidery Floss
Embroidery needle
Letter pattern
Small Embroidery Hoop (Not absolutely necessary but it makes it a lot easier.)

1.  They will choose a letter and using their Frixion pens will place the letter pattern (you can find a pattern here) underneath the fabric and trace putting x's where the squares are.  I brought a light pad which made it super easy to see but you can also just hold it up to a window.

At this point they are just concentrating on their letter.  They can decide later, depending on how much time is available what else they would like to add.

2.  Next they will learn to thread a needle and make a knot in the end.  I have a printed full-color handout I give kids so when they get home and have forgotten they can refer to it.  I also have the same tutorial here.

3.  I use just basic embroidery floss and have them separate the strands so they are using only 2 strands.  It's a little easier to get through the needle for the first time. The length is about their arms length.

4.  Next they just start stitching each x starting at one end of their letter and working their way around.
     A few challenges they will find:
        - Little knots happen in the floss.  It's important not to pull on these (which makes them tighter) but to use their needle to pick them apart.
        - They may also loop the thread around the hoop (meaning they went into the fabric the same way twice).  They will need to unthread the needle and back the thread out.
        - The biggest challenge I find is keeping the needle on the embroidery floss.  There are ways to "tie" the thread on needle but most kids after it falls off 5 times will start to get the hang of it.

5.  I also teach them how to knot the thread on the backside when they are done.  Here is a tutorial for that too.

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