This post is a bit delayed and I apologize…confession: I don’t typically blog ahead. I rarely schedule posts. Sometimes I do, but for the most part the ideas swirl in my head, I take lots of pictures, and the notes grow on paper all the time…BUT when it all comes down I sit at the keyboard the night before and let the post take shape. Even during one of these series! And this was one of those weeks yielding consequences for my independent blogging spirit. Last weekend, my husband Dan sprained his ankle badly and has some complications from the sprain which require some long term TLC. Life caught up with me this week and I had to let the blogging go for a night…or so.
So, how about an adventure in sewing? Can sewing be adventurous?
Absolutely! I have a lot to share on this topic and considered cutting the post down, but I’ll keep it all here and blog in more detail about some of these ideas down the road.
Since sewing is skill based, this is an Adventure Theme that will require some help from you (or a designated someone!). You’ll find all the elements of a great Sewing Adventure Box here including ideas for boys. If you’d like to read more about teaching sewing, here’s my post on Teaching Sewing in Your Homeschool. You’ll find more tips on how to facilitate projects while keeping your sanity!
Once your child has been taught a skill and they practice it, you’ll be able to let them be more independent. With younger children, you might need to be watchful. Choose supplies that are better designed for small hands.
Sewing Supplies for Young Children:
- plastic canvas- comes in sheets, but you can cut it down in size for bookmarks, etc
- lacing cards
- yarn needles
- large buttons– to sew to the plastic canvas
Great Books with which to Start a Sewing Adventure:
- Sewing School
- Sewing Essentials by Singer
- Sewing School II– machine sewing projects
- Making Fleece Crafts– fleece is easy to work with
If you have a more skilled seamstress and you are looking for book ideas, my daughter’s blog Miss Bliss has two great book lists. Click over to Sewing Library 1 and Sewing Library 2. The great thing about a large sewing library is a creative girl is never out of ideas and inspiration…and the directions to carry it out.
Sewing with Boys:
Yes! You can sew with boys. It helps to have someone in the house who loves to sew whether it’s a sibling, parent, or another family member. At our house the boys get inspired by what R12 is working on and will ask to join in. Also, sewing is so much a part of our family and homeschooling culture at this point that the boys will often ask if she can make something for them or if she can help them to make it. Purchasing something they want is not their “go to”…they will see if it can be made.
The trick is to provide projects boys would be jazzed about such as:
- Angry Birds– boys are easy fans of the game…and the birds.
- Pioneer gear– like satchels, bullet pouches, caps, and clothing
- Nerf War gear– like bandoliers, tactical vests, and dart pouches
- “Cos” Play– costumes, capes, etc for their favorite heroes and characters
There are many blogs and websites which have patterns and ideas for costumes and other boy projects. A simple search will have a large yield of ideas. And of course who can forget Pinterest? I pin a lot of sewing ideas. Feel free to follow my sewing boards!
Where do I get Ideas for Projects?
- Sewing Blogs
- Craftsy– an online video class website offering many beginner and some free classes
A Note on Sewing Machines:
If you don’t already have a sewing machine at home and you’d like to get one for your adventure, the best deals in quality and cost are usually used machines. We looked for a used machine at a sewing shop which sells and services machines. Both of our machines are Bernette machines which are made by Bernina. We adore our sewing machines!
Another tip: resist the urge to purchase a child sized machine. They aren’t all that cheap and cause a world of frustration. Sewing machines aren’t toys…don’t buy a toy sewing machine!
Whatever you decide to do, make sure the machine has a tune up…especially if you’ve inherited an unserviced machine. Make sure it’s running true before you begin.
Sergers– we were given this lovely serger as a sweet gift from a friend. If you have access to one, they are relatively easy to use, finish seams fast, and are a dream to use. Sergers cut and finish a seam at the same time. Any store bought garment has serged seams. Just take a look at the inside of your cuff…the hem has all those threads. That is the work of a serger!
Materials to Have on Hand for a Sewing Adventure:
- needle & thread
- scissors for fabric (I like the feather weights by Gingher)
- tape measure
- quilting ruler- or a stiff ruler
- pins & a pin cushion (or pin cushion pattern to make one)
- doodads- like rick rack, lace, and other bling to enjoy with your projects
- sewing machine- if you plan to do machine sewing
- space set up for working with these materials easily
Summer Time Sewing Camp:
Some of you may know that we host a sewing camp at our home once a month or whenever our schedules allow. This is a group I organized two summers ago by starting with a week long sewing camp. The girls would come over and we’d spend half the day together working on projects. Sewing camp is girls and their moms! So, we can help, practice with our own projects, or merely be there for inspiration and facilitating.
If you want to kick off your summer sewing adventure with a group of girls in a week long half day format, you’ll need a few pieces of advice.
- pick short term projects especially if the group is full of beginners
- make sure everyone is working on the same project or choice of projects (which are ideally similar). When the girls aren’t working on the same thing, it’s too easy for kids to get side-tracked. Finishing the project is key for momentum!
- choose projects that will introduce new skills– this is key for our group because it makes it possible for the girls to gain confidence and grow in their skills
- get input from the group but don’t make all the decision based on what they want- leave room for the mentor’s final say
I’m always on the look out for projects that will be fun and satisfy the requisite challenge I want the girls to meet. This year we’ve been working mostly on this bag we found which is a sewing caddy. It gave us the chance to sew a bulky item with a stiff interfacing. Now we’re not afraid to tackle other similar projects. Who doesn’t love a new bag?
Sewing with your children on their own is a fantastic adventure and once they gain more skills and confidence they will try out new things without your help! Sewing with others is a bonus and another time I’ll blog about the benefits.
A sewing adventure is a great way to introduce your children to sewing without a lot of investment. A simple sewing basket and access to ideas and directions is all you really need.
Stay tuned for more Adventure Box Themes starting Monday. I’ll be sharing ideas for Literary Adventures and Insect & Critter Adventures just to name a few. Join us!
Be sure to check out the other bloggers who are sharing a series this week through iHN’s Spring 2013 Hopscotch.