Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sewing 101

Several summers ago a very self-assured boy in my summer art class took some felt squares that were not being used and bounded over to me to ask for a needle and thread. I asked him what he needed the needle and thread for and he said he was going to make a pillow. I happened to have thread and a sewing needle on hand so I gave them to him.  He started a sewing craze that summer and it hasn't let up since. Every summer my students spend several days if not weeks sewing. Students enjoy making pillows but have branched out to other things as well. I teach the children how to thread needles and use different types of stitches like the running stitch or the loop stitch. Pillows require little instruction. Animals like this lamb are a little more complicated. I suggest that the lamb be drawn out first on a piece of paper then used as a pattern. I also suggest that the fabric be doubled so the student only has to cut once and there are two pieces of everything (lamb body and legs) that match perfectly. Cutting fabric can be hard for some children and may require adult help. Threading needles is an art and I try to encourage students to thread their own needles. Making a knot at the end of a threaded needle is also something students need to know how to do. I also teach students to stop sewing before they run out of thread because you need to have enough thread to make a knot before cutting it away from the fabric.

Many  of my students have never sewn before and I am thrilled to teach them basic sewing skills. I think sewing is an invaluable life skill. I hope my students remember me when they sew on a loose button or repair a torn piece of clothing as adults.