Showing posts with label sewing with children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sewing with children. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

In the Art Room: Sew a Softie!

I was recently contacted by the author of Sew Together, Grow Together, Trixi Symonds. She's the founder of Sew a Softie (check out the #sewasoftie on Instagram for some fun inspiration!) and has a fun sewing opportunity coming up in the month of July. I'm definitely joining the fun...and I thought you might want to as well. 
Trixi lives in Sydney, Australia where she has been teaching hand sewing to children for over 20 years. She coordinates workshops and leads sessions at galleries, bookstores, schools, you name it. Her goal is to encourage adults to share the love of stitching with children by providing cute, creative and fun sewing tutorials. Are you sold yet? I love her already! 
Trixi came to me with her idea of making July Sew-a-Softie month and asked if I'd be interested in joining the fun. Of course I agreed...and thought y'all might want to as well. Here are the details from Trixi:

The aim of Sew a Softie is to show both adults and kids that hand sewing is fun, creative, fulfilling, and that absolutely everyone can do it. Throughout the month of July simple to sew softie tutorials will be posted daily online. You can find them on the Sew a Softie Facebook page, the Coloured Buttons blog and the Sew a Softie website. Also, check out colouredbuttons on Instagram

You could take part by posting a softie tutorial and join the blog hop or by sewing softies with a group of friends or students anytime in July and posting on Instagam with the tag #sewasoftie.

Thanks, Trixi! I know I'm excited to get started.
I mentioned that Trixi is a book author, you can find her book here!
To clarify, if you want to join the Sew a Softie fun, be sure to follow Trixi's Facebook page. There you can find daily softie sewing inspiration as well as share your own ideas and creations. If you share on Instagram, don't forget to use #sewasoftie. I know I'm looking forward to lots of new tips, tricks and sewing project ideas for my students. 
Doesn't this sound like fun? For more inspiration, be sure to check out Trixi's blog and Instagram. It's sure to get your wheels turning. These cute images are from there. 
I know my students absolutely love sewing and had a blast with our Stitched Monster project. I think this will be a fun way to gain new ideas and collaborate with hand sewing enthusiasts all over the world. I hope you'll join the fun!

 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

In the Art Room: String Art!

Tonight, on Facebook LIVE at 8pm CST, I thought we could talk about how to prepare for a sub. I'll share with you what I do to insure that I'll won't come back to a Hot Mess Express. I'd love to hear your tips. ALSO...I have BIG NEWS about our LIVE chats that I think you are going to love love love! So I'll see you real soon.

My lovely and sweet (ahem) spring-break-ready third graders are starting their string art project this week. We have prepared the boards by painting them (we are using cardboard pizza rounds purchased in bulk via Amazon) and adding texture. We also punctured holes in them to prep them stitching. Next week, we'll sketch out our designs and start stitching. Here's the video I created to introduce the kids to this process. Feel free to use and share in your art teacherin' world.
Even if you don't do this project with the kids, you might wanna watch it for the needle threading trick alone. Or you can just follow me here and catch a short clip.
There are many methods of string art but I'll be introducing my kids to ones that I call Spectrum and Radiating Design. I found the above, the one I call Radiating Design, to be a little more taxing simply because you have to get more yarn to make the lines go all the way around the board. 
This one I'm calling Spectrum. This one is fun because you can use a lot of different colors. It's up to the artist just how much stitching happens within the design. 
 My third graders were at the end of this project when I introduced this new one. So during the second half of one art class, when they were finished with their candy sculptures, I had them quickly color, paint and scrape a texture onto their boards. 
Today, the first half of class, we did this. I had a handful of kids that were absent the day so they worked on coloring and painting while the majority did this. Thankfully, we had this project to also work on. Have I ever told y'all that I have a habit of having the kids work in exactly 37 projects at once? I ain't proud. 
The kids are stoked! I can't wait to share with you what they create. 
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

In the Art Room: Stitched Monsters!

Going LIVE tonight, Wednesday at 8pm CST to talk about some art teacherin' issues! Hope you'll join me over here. See you real soon! 

As my fourth graders are wrapping up their Candy Heart Sculptures and drawing, I'm thinking ahead to a fun fibers unit for them. Last year, this group explored embroidery and did a really fabulous job. I know they will love expanding their knowledge and creating these fun stitched monsters!  
I wanted a stitching project that would introduce them to the following: pattern cutting, pinning, sewing, stuffing and embellishing. I also wanted a fun contemporary artist tie-in and I found the artist behind Cotton Monster, Jennifer Strunge, to be perfect. 
Aren't her monsters just the most amazing thing ever? I need one in my life, stat. 

Here's the video I created to introduce my kiddos to Jennifer and all things stitching! Feel free to use it in your art teacherin' world. I think it would be perfect for 3rd grade on up.
We will be using the following supplies:

* 9" X 12" sheet of Smart-Fab or felt
* Additional felt for arms, legs and details
* Tacky glue
* Sharp tapestry needles
* 4 pins per student
* Scissors
* Embroidery floss or crochet thread
* Paper needle threaders

I anticipate this project will take my students 3 one-hour art classes. When I share my video, I show it to the kids in short bursts. I then allow them to go work and set my timer for the amount of time I expect it will take them. When the timer goes off, finished or not, all kids report to the floor for the next video viewing. 
On Day 1, we'll learn about Jennifer Strunge, cut out arms, pin them in place and, hopefully, stitch one side. The following day, we should be able to wrap up the stitching, turn inside out and start working on the face. We will pulling out our Monsters of Creativity collages and looking at those for inspiration! 
Day 3 (and, let's be honesty, probably Day 4) will include gluing the parts of the face down, stuffing and stitching closed. 
I'm thinking of tasking my early finishers to think of themselves as toy creators and their monsters as their creation. As such, they'll need to think of their monster as a product. Who will it be sold to? How will it be packaged? What will be the price? Why should people buy it? I'll keep you posted on this adventure!
Have y'all done stitched monster projects with your students? Love to hear what you've done! And if you do this project, please be sure and let me know, I'd love to see your student's creations. 
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In the Art Room: Printed Winter Banners

Greetings, giveaway friends! I thought I'd share with y'all the Printed and Stitched Winter Banners my third grade just finished off. Since they aren't Christmas-y, I'm excited that I can hang 'em in the hallway and keep 'em up for a while. AND hope that they bring us the glorious gift of a snow day. Or five. Not that I'd love a couple of days to stay home in my pajamas and power-watch episodes of Pee-Wee's Playhouse (don't judge) when I could be teaching childrens all day (wink-wink, nudge-nudge). But what am I even talking about, I've got 2 weeks of that kind of sloth-esque behavior in my future. So, lemme get back to the post at hand: Stitched and Printed Winter Banners.
 Ohhhhh, but lemme guess. You only came here to see if you won yesterday's giveaway and to see what's up for grabs today. Well, if you must know, like, right meow, scroll yourself downeth and sneak a peak. Then pop back up here and keep on reading. Go on, I'm waiting... 
 Oh, yay, you came back! I'll get to how you can win today's goodies in just a sec. For now, lemme 'splain these banners.
Since we've been jibber jabbering about Mexico this year in art class, I shared with the kids a couple of prezies on papel picado. We also chatted about other cultures that partake in cut paper designs like Japan (with kirogami) and Germany, to name a few. 

Then we talked snowflakes. Now, I go about teaching snow flaking making all wrong according to Phyl. I gave the kids a 5" square of paper which they folded in half and then in half again thus creating a square. Then they rotated the square to a diamond and folded that in half until they had a triangle. Which they cut into bits for their snowflake-y design. 

Using Geli-Plates, fabric and white tempra paint, we covered the surface of the plate.
Our snowflake was placed atop. I told the kids that it was okay if the flake didn't lie flat. If they fuss with the flake too much, it will leave marks on the surface of the printing plate which could result in a not-so-clean print. 
 Place fabric on top (pattern side down if using patterned fabric) and a piece of recycled "massaging paper" on top of that. Rub the entire surface...
 Remove massaging paper and fabric. Proceed to oooooooh and aahhhhhhh over your awesome print!
 The designs were really lovely and the kids enjoyed seeing the negative of their design.
The fabric we used was 7" square quilters cotton fabric. I happen to get a lotta fabric donations which is super great.
 I dig how this one looks very Aztec-ian.
Printing two separate snowflake designs took us one art class. On the following, the kids created the hangers for the banner. They used three small pieces of Sculpey clay that they swirled together.
 Here's how we kept track of everyone's stick. 
About half way into the second hour long class, I called a meeting at the sewing machines. I explained to the kids that only half of them would have the chance to stitch one day and the rest the next. After a brief sewing demo, I called about 4 kids over to the "sewing table" at a time. When those 4 finished, they became assistants to those up next at the table. 
 Meanwhile, the rest of the kids were either working on their hangers or drawing penguins (to be shared in an upcoming post!). Having all kids on task made my life a lot easier when it came to sticking close to the sewing table. 

And there you have it! And now, the winner...
Congrats, Natalie! (Lawd, my nails! Can you tell I was attempting to hold the paper in such a way to hide that thumb?!) I'll get your Tammis Keefe fabric out to you tomorrow!
Lemme share with you what's in store today. I have two miniature easels with canvases (like, cute!), a super adorable vintage book (the illustrations are amazing! I've already made copies of them so I'll have a set once this is outta my hands) and a VINTAGE Milton and Bradley (before they combined with Crayola) unused watercolor set! Yay!

Here's how you can enter to win (just a lil more work for you today):

1. Please follow me on Twitter! You can find me here.

2. I'm curious...why do you come to this blog? For the lessons, the DIY's or crazy outfits? I often feel this blog might be a pinch all over the place. So, I wonder, are there certain topics you enjoy reading about more than others? I truly appreciate your input.

3. Don't forget to leave your email addy so I can contact you. 

Until tomorrow, friends!



 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

In the Art Room: Sewing and Embroidery

No matter what your passion is in life, I bet the seed was planted when you were young. One summer, when I was probably 10i-sh, my grandmother taught me how to embroider. And I've loved creating stuff with fabric and thread since. 
This year, I decided to open up my art room to the folks I work with for a Sewing Group. Some of my 4th grade students caught wind of this and wanted to know if they could join. I kinda put the idea on the back burner as I had no freakin' idea how I'd use sewing machines with the youngins...and I kinda thought the kids would forget about it. But, as you know if you work with children, they never forget anything. When one of them started pricing sewing machines at the local thrift store and another petitioned her friends to enquire about a class, I started to toy with the idea of making it happen. When I accidentally said, "I'll think about it," the kids cheered and asked, "Yay, can we start TODAY?!" 
There is a wonderful enrichment program at my school called Gentry's Educational Foundation founded by Evelyn Hickerson, a teacher. I approached her about teaching a sewing class and she agreed to purchase some sewing machines. Because she's seriously that awesome. This woman is so dedicated to the education of all students that she'll stop at nothing to make it happen. We are so fortunate to have her enriching all of our lives. 
In my after school sewing class, I had almost 20 students (3rd and 4th grade) and two adult helpers. I was a little nervous having that many children sewing on machines at once...and I also felt like the kids should have some basic sewing and embroidery skills first. So I decided to start by having the kids create an embroidered sampler using this book as my guide.
I picked up this book years ago when I wanted to teach sewing in my art classes. I've since had to let go of that notion (30 minutes just seemed impossible to teach sewing to the under 10 set) but was thrilled to give it a go with this group. My after school classes were a lovely 60 minutes in length and that felt like absolute heaven. No rush, plenty of time to explain, chat and sew. 

Interested in giving this a go? Here's what we used:
  • Gingham fabric
  • Patterned fabric
  • Embroidery floss, 24" in length, split into three strands
  • Bees wax. This isn't necessary but it does come in handy. We ran our embroidery floss over the wax to prevent it from tangling.
  • Large eyed, sharp needles
  • Embroidery hoops
  • Graph paper
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Stuffing

  1. Our first of business was writing out our names. We first did this on graph paper using the guide found in the book. This was then rewritten onto the kids' chosen piece of gingham in pencil.
  2. Next we learned how to split our embroidery floss. I had the kids work with a partner to prevent the floss from tangling. This was then threaded into the needle, doubled over and knotted.
  3. After that, we hooped our fabric. 
  4. We didn't embroider our name first. We chatted about what a sampler was and how this would showcase a sample of embroidery stitches we learned. Our first stitches to learn were the running stitches seen under the name.
  5. Once those were complete, we moved onto cross-stitching our name. Some students sewed buttons onto their sampler while others learned how to create a satin stitched heart.

All that took a couple of sewing classes to complete. Once they were finished, the kids chose a piece of fabric for the back of their pillow. Thankfully I'd just been donated a huge stash of fabric (which included some coveted Scooby Doo fabric). The kids laid their samplers on the fabric, cut it to the same size and pinned it right sides together on the top and sides. We left the bottom open for adding the stuffing.
Now I wasn't at all comfortable with the idea of the kids sewing for the first time without adult supervision. This is where my two super adult sewers came into the picture. They called each child one at a time to a machine and gave them a private sewing lesson. Perhaps in the future I'll be more comfortable leaving the kids less supervised...but until then, I'm all about the one-on-one.

So what were the others doing in the meantime? Well, they set their pillows aside and began creating mini-stuffed animals! In My First Sewing Book, the author gives a ton of animal patterns for the kids to chose from. I simply enlarged them and laid them out for the kids to pick from. Of course, I gave them the option of creating their own stuffies too (see last photo, ya'll. Too cute). With that sampler under their sewing belt, this proved to be the perfect project for them to work independently on while they waited for their turn at the machine.
For a Stuffie, you'd need the following:
  • Two pieces of felt per student
  • Embroidery floss
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Patterns (or paper for creating their own)
  • Stuffing




  1. After picking their pattern, the kids pinned the pattern and two pieces together. This was then cut out.
  2. After removing the pins, the kids were told they had to use a satin stitch to create a face. Buttons were available for eyes. 
  3. Once that was complete, the two felt pieces were pinned together and stitched almost all the way around with a whip stitch.
  4. Stuffing was added and the stuffie was stitched closed. Most kids were able to create more than one.
When their turn was up at the sewing machine, they stitched those three pinned sides. Stuffing was added to the pillow and they had the option of hand-stitching the pillow closed or using the machine again. I was surprised that not all of the kids picked the machines. I think some of them really enjoyed the control of stitching by hand.
Since completing these stuffies, the kids have started bringing in things they've sewn at home. They've independently created purses, pin cushions and stuffies for their buddies and siblings. Which makes me so super happy.


And excited. I've already started my yearly process of begging for longer art classes next year so I can do this with all my students, not just an after school class. I know how much I loved creating like this when I was a kid...and I want all of my students to have this very same experience.

Do ya'll sew in your art room? Would you mind sharing with me the projects you do? I'd love to have more ideas and share them with my sewing group! Thanks, ya'll!
Read more »