Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Dreaded “S” Word: Myths and Misconceptions about Hand Sewing with Kids

For many people today hand sewing has ceased to be something familiar and friendly. Having no first hand contact with this once pervasive skill, and having never experienced its creative potential, many parents tend to view hand sewing with their kids through a mist of myths and misconceptions.

Three Common Myths about Hand Sewing with Kids

1) Sewing needles are too small and too sharp for children to use.

Young children’s hands are very agile. Once shown how to thread a needle and how to make a running stitch they are fine and will act responsibly under supervision. I sew with children as young as 3 years old and they love it.

2) Trying to sew with young kids will be stressful

Relax and be well prepared. You can pre-thread needles. I always do this for my workshops as some kids find threading difficult and I don’t want them to be turned off the fun of hand sewing. If you enjoy the process your kids will enjoy it too.

3) If kids try to sew, it will just look a mess

Young kids begin to sew with large, wonky stitches but with a little practice their stitches improve rapidly. Let them sew their own stitches, they will be proud of what they've accomplished. Often young children’s work becomes messy simply because they forget to look at what they're doing. A gentle reminder to look at their work while sewing can bring about a miraculous improvement. 

Exploding the Myths: A Sewing Crafternoon

A few weeks back, I ran a hand sewing “crafternoon” at Dymock’s city store in Sydney. We had parents and children sewing cushions together…it was problem free and fun for all:


Here’s 6 year old Josh sewing:


Josh stuffing his cushion. If you look closely at the photo you can see his first stitches in the blue square and how they improve:


Josh's mum, Mariane, cutting the fringes for him:


A proud Josh with his finished creation…apart from cutting the fringes and gluing on pom-poms with a low temp glue gun, all the hand sewing and decorative work were Josh's: 



…all done in just over an hour.

Many thanks to Mariane for the two photos above of Josh sewing and stuffing his cushion…and also for her great blog post on the crafternoon.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Peanut-Shaped Softie: a simple idea with loads of potential

Fatmumslim has just featured my Triplets tutorial as a guest post on her blog. Like the Triplets, Baby in a Pouch creates a softie using a very simple peanut-shaped form. She's about 7cm long and made from calico.


What you need:

calico
wool
embroidery floss
needle
pins
stuffing

What to do:

Take two 10cm x 5cm pieces of calico and place them one on top of the other. Draw your peanut baby shape onto the calico. Sew around the shape leaving a turning gap. Trim 1/4 cm from your sewing line and turn right side out. Stuff and sew your turning gap closed.


To make baby's hair, cut eight 5cm lengths of wool. Gather the lengths into a bundle and sew the bundle at its mid point onto the baby's head.

The original tutorial which focuses on how to make the pouch can be found HERE


Be careful if using a felt tip pen to draw on the face as some felt tips can bleed into your fabric. 

Have fun sewing, Trixi


Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Triplets make their big debut page 33 of the 'Good Weekend'…thanks Sydney Morning Herald


Preview my book HERE…and you can buy it HERE…also available at Dymocks, Kinokuniya, Ariel and other booksellers. Any questions please ask!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

One pouch, two different ways

 If you want to change your jacks pouch from this tutorial into a little felt pouch to hold all those coloured rubber bands that your kids are making into bracelets then all you need to do is…

1. Take two 6" squares of felt.
2. Stitch around the square (no need to turn your pouch right side out).
3. Fold 3 corners to make an envelope shape, iron flat.
4. Overstitch the edges together where the triangles meet.
5. Fold the envelope in half and stick on your velcro dots.


All folded and packed away for another day



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Little Pouch for Jacks

About two months ago Cintia from My Poppet asked me to do to a guest post…so I designed this little pouch to put "jacks" in…this is a simple old school game that entertained me greatly when I was younger. Of course you don't have to put jacks in it…it works just as well holding marbles, treasures or rubber bands waiting to made into a bracelet. You can find the tutorial HERE. Hope you enjoy making it with or for your kids…and many thanks to Cintia for asking me to guest post…it was lots of fun.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Little Piece of Your Heart or a Simple Hand Sewing Gift for the Kids to make Mum

Fridge magnets seem to be an almost universal addition to every fridge…and why not…they're useful...are often a small reminder of a recent vacation…and they can also be a simple Mother's Day gift for kids to make:


WHAT YOU NEED

Felt
Needle
Embroidery thread
Pins
Cardboard
Polyester fiberfill
Strong magnet
Hot glue gun

WHAT TO DO

1. Draw your speech bubble shape onto thin cardboard and cut out.
2. Place the shape onto the felt, trace around and cut out 2 speech bubbles.
3. Cut out a heart shape and the shape of the letter "U" from pieces of coloured felt. Sew or glue them into place on one felt bubble shape.
4. Pin the 2 bubble shapes together and sew around them leaving a 3" opening for stuffing.
6. Stuff with polyester fiberfill and sew opening closed.
7. Glue the magnet to the back of your speech bubble.

TIPS

Make sure you use a strong magnet or your speech bubble won't stick firmly to the fridge.

If you don't want the magnet to be seen, you can glue it onto the inside of the back piece of felt before you pin and sew your speech bubble together.

Now all your kids need to do is write their Mother's Day note:


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Little monsters sewing little monsters

Last week was unusual…and lots of fun. The Saturday Telegraph's Lift-out section "best weekend" was running a feature on my book that focused on a simple kids' sewing project for their page. They needed photos of kids sewing the project so I asked 3 of my students to come after school for the shoot…they had felt monsters to sew while the Telegraph's photographer Bob took photos of them…the girls got so engrossed in their work that they kept forgetting it was a shoot and would respond to Bob's instructions with "I just need Trixi to check my sewing first"…Bob just smiled and waited:


Here's how it looked in the paper:


And if you want to make your own little felt monster:

WHAT YOU NEED:     
Two squares of coloured felt
Scraps of felt for facial features
Needle and thread
Pins
Stuffing

WHAT TO DO:
1. Place the two squares of felt one on top of the other
2. Draw the shape of your monster onto the top piece of felt
3. Holding both pieces of felt together cut around the shape
4. Sew or glue the features of your monster’s face onto the top piece of felt
5. Pin the two pieces of felt together
6. Sew around the shape leaving an 8cm opening for stuffing
7. Push small amounts of stuffing into the monster until he or she feels right
8. Sew the opening closed