Showing posts with label easy sewing projects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label easy sewing projects. Show all posts

Thursday, September 11, 2014

In the Art Room: A String-Stitched Dot for Dot Day!

So all my students, kinder-town through 4th-grade-land, are participating in International Dot Day. I know several of you art teacherin' peeps are doing the same, amiright? I have absolutely loved dreaming up projects that I hope (fingers and toes crossed) have been artistic, creative, unique and inspiring (our feature Word(s) of the Week for these first four weeks of school). I'll give you a sneak peak of all our projects at the end of the week with complete lessons to come. In the meantime, lemme introduce you to my favorite dot lesson to date, the String-Stitched Dot!
Dude. After seeing this 4th grader's stitched design I've decided I wanna create a stitched color wheel! Doesn't this one totally remind you of that? I love his pattern.
I gave the kids three design options to choose from with the freedom to play with those ideas, change 'em and make them their own. I love how this artist used symmetry and color to create a sunset-esque  stitch. 
One of the ideas the kids could stitch was one we called "rotating squares". This was not an easy design to stitch but once you got the hang of it, it went by in a flash. None of the kids wanted to stop stitching so many of them thought of ways to enhance that design idea. I liked how Tony found a way to stitch a circle around this squares. 
For this lesson, we used the following:
* 10" X 10" cardboard (I did a lil dumpster diving for those)
* Paint and brushes (because the cardboard looked like, well, cardboard. We had to jazz it up.)
*  Florescent yarn (because this here art teacher is currently on an '80's kick, can ya tell?)
* Tapestry needles (what big eyes you have! The better to thread you with, my dear.)
* Stitching template (so we all end up with the same 16 evenly spaced lines)
* Masking tape

On our very first day of art, after covering all this biznatch, the kids painted their pieces of cardboard, "thickly and quickly". Meaning, since they had the option of using texture combs, they needed to make sure the paint was thick and wet as the comb can only rake the surface and create super cool textures when it is. Then I gave the kids of using florescent paint to add some splatters as, let's be honest, splatter painting is super rad. AND makes the first day of art just about the best thing everrrrr.
On our second day of art, after our Word of the Week/Artist Inspiration routine, we had to prep our board for stitching. For that, I gave the kids these old coffee container lids with 16 evenly spaced notches drawn with silver Sharpie. The kids were to make sure the circle was placed 2" from the top/bottom and sides (well, hello thar, math connection!) before tracing it and drawing tick marks for the notches. 
Once done with that, the kids were given such dangerous art supplies as push pins and needles. 
With the push pins, the kids put the initial holes in their boards where the notches were drawn. Because they'd be stitching with thick tapestry needles, I then had them go back and push the needles through the board to make the notches even bigger. From there, the kids had to start plotting their design...
For this, they got a worksheet. Yay, worksheets! They had to complete the directions of each design ("even if I don't want the other designs?!" YES. DO. IT. RIGHT. MEOW.) They were also given the option to come up with their own ideas, or mix and match the ones I suggested, on the right. 
To best explain this process, I created a lil video clip. There are several steps so I hope I'm making some sort of sense. I showed the kids the steps to stitching ALL three of these designs that way they could feel free to pick and choose/mix and match once they were on their own. 
And now! For a Totally Inappropriate Short Story!
Gather 'round friends, this one's a gem:

So, on that very first day of stitching, when I'm walking the kids through the steps, I thought it might be less confusing for them if I referred each of the 16 holes in their stitching board as a letter. This way they could remember stuff like, "I stitch from A to B, from A to C, back to A then to D", for 'zample. However, whilst in the midst of teaching, I may or may not have mistakenly said this several times (unbeknownst to my innocent babies!): 

"You first start at the A-hole. Then you go to the B-hole. Return to the A-hole. REMEMBER! If you are doing a radiating design, you always return to the A-hole."

And I think it was the phrase always return to the A-hole that actually stopped me mid-breath and caused a rash of red to creep over my face. My mind started racing: did I just say the words A-hole to my kids, not once but several times, and neither me nor the kids noticed?! If I don't call it A-hole, what  DO I call it? The "A-Spot"? What happens when we get to the letter G?! OMGeee, what am I gonna do?!

And it was then that we began to refer to the notches as numbers. And all was A-hole-free in art land. WHEW.
I gotta say, the kids loved this project. Especially my boys. Which I don't find that surprising as they are always the ones that love any weaving projects we do. It's that working-with-my-hands/math-mind that makes them adore these types of things. Is that sexist? Maybe. Is it true? Yes.
A coupla kids found ways to incorporate their initial in the design. This one kills me ask it looks like the symbol for Anarchy...and this sweet child is the furthest thing from a punky-Anarchist. 
I love how this artist played with our school colors to create her design.
And there you have it! A String-Stitched Dot for Dot Day! Do you think this is a project that you'd give a go in your art room? I do believe your kids would dig it.
For our display, I decided to connect the boards together with a coupla paperclips. I love how they look as a group...ready for Dot Day!

And what are you up to for Dot Day? I'd love to know what your kids are creating so puh-lease share, y'all! 
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DIY: Apron Sew-Along, Putting It All Together

As I type up this here blog post, I've got my feets up, my hair down and my Brand New Reversible Apron with Ginormous Pockets on. Yay, it's finished! As I was finishing up my apron this past weekend, I was suspiciously surprised by how smoothly everything was going. I mean, my seam ripper was actually collecting dust! I remember looking at it, flipping my hair and thinking, "Humph! I don't need that old thing anymore, I'm BEYOND mistakes," which, of course, was like The Kiss of Sewing Death. As you'll find out in the following clips, it didn't take me but a hot minute to make a big-fat-hairy omg, my apron is practically hanging down to my ankles mistake. But don't you worry, I'll fill you in on the oops-deets so the same won't happen to you.

Now, if you've not started on your apron yet, lemme direct you here. In this post, I'll introduce you to pattern and pocket making. 

In this here post, I'll share with ya how to do the following:
*  Make your neck strap (which, for some reason, in the vid clip I refer to it as a "necktie". Der.)
*  Make your tie ends
*  Assemble the neck strap and ties ends to the apron
*  Finish off the apron and call it a day!

I'd also like to invite you to share your completed aprons on this here blog!
I mean, you've already been sharing 'em on the Apron Sew-Along Facebook page (which totes makes my day when I see 'em) so why not show 'em off here? I'd love to put 'em all together in one big ole apron-tastic blog post. I know several of you made children's aprons and/or went a totally different apron-sewing route. I think it'd be a blast to see 'em all! To make that happen, I do hafta set a deadline. If you haven't started yet, no worries! You still have plenty of time. Just to give you a deadline, please email me ( or share on the Apron Sew-Along page a snapshot of you in your apron by Sunday, September 7th. I'd love a brief description on your fabric choices and where you plan to wear your apron. 

But before we can do that, we gotta finish this thing! So, without further ado, let's get to work!
Neck strap and tie ends. Because I like to have a bow in the front of my apron, I decided to make my tie ends 4" X 30". You could adjust that length, of course. You might wanna cut out a couple different lengths with your wrapping paper, pin them to your apron and see how that length suits you before cutting into your fabric.
If you plan to tie your apron in the back, you could use the same pattern piece for your neck strap and tie ends, thus cutting three pieces of fabric from one pattern.
To stitch, pin those right sides together. As I mentioned, I like the ends of my pins to face my sewing needle. I don't wanna chance running over a ball with my sewing machine. No one likes squished balls. 
For the neck strap, simply stitch the long edge, flip inside out and iron. I have a tool for flipping fabric but you could just as easily use a safety pin or maybe a pencil. Youtube can help you out with tips and tricks on that.
For the tie ends, you'll not only sew the long end but also one short end. To do that, stitch the length of the long end, stop about 1/2" away from the end, lift the presser foot, rotate the fabric, lower the presser foot and stitch the short end. If that run-on sentence has left you confused, see the gif below. 
Make more sense?
To put the apron together, you'll need to pin your neck strap and tie ends on the right side of the apron (it doesn't matter which side). Now, my mistake was pinning everything in and stitching before I tried it on and checked the fit. Go ahead and pin your neck strap on and try the apron on so you can see if adjustments need to be made. Once you've got the fit where you want it, pin the neck strap 5/8" (or whatever your seam allowance is...mine is always 5/8") from the left and right ends (as seen below). For the tie ends, pin them 5/8" from the curve of the apron. 
You'll want to pin the tie ends to the apron body just to keep them out of the way as you stitch. Now, lay the other half of your apron on top of this with right sides together. Pin the top, curved side and sides. Stitch everything except the bottom.
Here I've got my right sides together and I'm ready to stitch everything except the bottom edge.

"I lay mah hands on ya apron and you'll be healed!" (said in my sad attempt to impersonate an evangelist. And that apron needed some healin' as you'll find out in that thar clip.

Here I'll talk making adjustments to my mistake and finishing the thing off.
Because my apron straps were too long, I went about fixing it by seam ripping out just the top of the apron, pulling those straps up, repinning and stitching again.
I snipped off the excess before flipping it right side out.
I finished off the bottom of the apron the same way I did the bottom of the pocket from the last apron post. I simply tucked the bottom inside, ironed and stitched. 
And, there you have it! There are definitely some things I might do differently on my next apron. I think I'd like the length longer and the pockets less tight. But I'm happy with the outcome and the kids have loved the print. I've been wearing it all week and feel kinda naked without it on when I'm in the art room!

Looking forward to see in your creations, kids!

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