Friday, March 15, 2013

The Adventures of "E" -- Teaching Kids to Sew Part II

Oh my goodness... this has been in my 'draft' folder for almost a year!  Well, have a read and you can chide me for being a bad blogger. 

March 2012:

I had the opportunity to take some time off work while the grands had spring break.  E, my oldest grand wanted another sewing session.  I have blogged before about how she's learning to use the sewing machine.  We were guest bloggers on the American Sewing Guild blog, found here.

This time she wanted to learn how to use the embroidery machine. OOOOOO-kay... well, she's pretty good at threading the Viking so I thought we'd give it a shot.

She picked out a few spools of variegated embroidery thread to use.  We found stabilizer and some white-on-white cotton fabric.  I showed her how to hoop everything. 

She picked a one color design, since the thread color would change automatically.  Little sister thought watching the multicolored butterfly appear was very cool.  When the design was done E removed it from the machine and clipped threads.  Then she went on to pick another design and another thread color.  Much discussion ensued about what would look the coolest. 
Her first ever thread next!!

E did four more designs, including her initial in gold in a scroll-type font.  We talked about how to use these squares in a project.  She decided to make a place mat.  For a pattern she pulled a placemat from the linen closet.  

She is good a choosing complementing colors.

From the fat quarter bin she chose a lovely piece of blue plaid that coordinated with most of the embroidery thread she had used.  She used a scissors to rough cut a large rectangle for the center, and I finished up with the rotary cutter.  (I think rotary cutters are just a bit dangerous for a beginner, especially with a little sister running around!)  I also trimmed out the embroideries.

E took some time to arrange her embroidered squares in a pleasing layout, and assembled her place mat top.  Next we went to the ironing board.  Oh-oh!!  Even though we were being very careful, accidents sometimes happen, and she touched the hot iron with the back of her finger.  (2013 update:  she has since learned to use the iron without ironing her fingers...)

We took a break for some ice in a baggie for the burn, and had a beverage.  After the sting wore off, she decided that it was time to read a book for a while.  Mom came home and we stopped for dinner.

Next day we returned to the project.  E had chosen a white fabric with multicolored dots for a backing.  She pinned it up, and we discussed how to sew almost all the way around, leaving a whole for turning the project.  She remembered having done this way back when she made her little dog blanket last year, so she happily worked her way around the edges, pulling out the pins as she sewed, stopping to pivot at the corners. 

She turned it right side out without assistance.  Once it was turned, I pressed it.  Not wanting another burn, E declined another trip to the ironing board!  I showed her how to use the edge stitch foot to close the gap in the seam.  Voila!  This is one very lovely place mat!  And one happy grand, with a success in the sewing room.

Things to remember:
  • It's fun to choose your own 'ingredients'.
  • Build on previous knowledge.
  • Don't be afraid to try something new.
  • Accidents happen.  Be careful but be prepared.
  • It's OK to take a break.
  • Make it FUN!!
  • Be proud of the finished product. 
Happy sewing!


  1. Hi Susan, Congratulations, you are my blog hop winner! email me your snail mail and I will get your Fabric treat mailed right away! cheers, Claire W.
    PS- I enjoyed visiting your blog, sewing with kids is always fun (and challenging) lots of fun stuff!

  2. Thanks for your comment on my blog -- you can see how I solved my sashing conundrum in my post this week.


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