The following post is by contributor Robin Zipporah of The Not-Ever-Still Life.
Feeling a need to challenge myself in a new way, I began sewing a few months ago. I’ve had a dream for years to make a quilt for our bed so I signed up for a sewing class, began reading quilting blogs, and finally turned on the sewing machine I received four years ago and figured out how to make it run.
Our learning curve
It’s been so much fun, so humbling, and utterly fascinating to my kids. They’re my biggest cheerleaders, and with their witness to my attempts at this new-to-me medium, three really interesting things have happened:
They believe in me so I believe in me. They’re too little to care that my straight stitch isn’t really all that straight or that I lopped the points off my pieced triangles. They ooh and ahh over every little project I complete with genuine admiration.
Sewing has become an opportunity to model the lessons I patiently encourage them with every day: Take your time. Read the instructions. Work carefully. Do your best.
My eldest is in kindergarten, and recently her school had a spirit week. Friday was Tie Day, and at first she didn’t want to participate because “ties are for boys.” But then she got a glimmer in her eye and asked me to make her a tie out of girly fabric. She didn’t ask me if I could make a tie; she just asked me to make it.
It would be so easy to say, “Honey, I don’t know how to make a tie.” But really, how hard can it be? It took me far too many hours, but with some glittery unicorn fabric and a few internet tutorials, I sewed up a tie.
The best feeling in the world was when I showed it to her and she said, “wow, you’re good.” She didn’t notice that the tip wasn’t quite symmetrical. She participated in Tie Day with pride.
They want to learn how to sew, too. It wasn’t long before my girls began clamoring for their own projects. We ordered some doll pattern fabric from Spoonflower and they’re learning the basics of needle and thread. Their stitches aren’t perfect, but neither are mine, I keep telling them. We’re learning together.
Ready to try?
Whether you like the idea of sewing or just the look of it, I have three project ideas for you to try with your kids:
Embroider a photograph
If you don’t already know about Spoonflower, you might not realize that you can print your own fabric through them as well as order pre-made designs. So why not have your favorite photos printed on fabric? I think that a simple fabric photo stretched around a frame like canvas and embellished at the edges with a few embroidered designs would make a lovely Father’s Day gift for your kids to give their daddy, don’t you?
Wrap it up
Not ready for needles? Check out this fun project using yarn and pipe cleaners to make wrapped letters. For older kids, I think this would be elegant on a smaller scale with perle cotton and heavy-gauge wire.
Nice and sweet
Maybe you’re not into sewing at all (and until the start of this year, that would have been me). I still have something for you: cross-stitch cookies. Thread a needle…lick a mixing spoon…they’re both stepping stones to your child’s growth, right? The important thing is that you’re trying something new together.
Do you and your kids have anything you are sewing? Or are you planning to dive in and learn how? We would love to hear what projects you’ve got in your sewing basket.