Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Embroidery with Children

I've loved the sewing of the ugly dolls / softies and now embroidery in the classes.  With the cold Melbourne weather its seemed a really appropriate thing to do.  Again, I've been so impressed at how quickly some of the children picked up the techniques.  I'm writing this post before some have been finished (hence some unfinished pictures below).  Those children have either taken them home to finish on the holidays or they will finish them in free time at the end of class.

All my students gave this a go - ages 7-11years.

I'm very thankful of Cassie Stephens who is a huge inspiration to me and whose blog and videos are so helpful.  I actually showed Cassie's simple embroidery for kids video to the children - they loved her American accent and funny sayings.

This 7 year old really enjoyed trying out different stitches..
We also used Elizabeth Pawle as inspiration.  I follow her on Instagram and just love her colourful pieces.  

What you need:
  • Hessian (burlap to those in the US) - I purchased a whole roll of it and cut it into squares yet you can buy pre-cut squares in different colours.
  • Embroidery needles or plastic wool ones
  • Embroidery thread or yarn
  • Embroidery hoops (optional)

How to:
  • We watched Cassie's video first
  • If children wanted to do a picture they drew that in chalk first
  • Then they started the embroidery
  • Some children could just practice stitches and use Elizabeth as inspiration.  This worked particularly well with some of the younger children.
 Some of the results:

Happy stitching!


Monday, 6 June 2016

Ugly Dolls and Softies

This was one of my favourite lessons for a while - I just can't get over the cuteness of these felt dolls.  I'm also really impressed at how well my students took up sewing.  I had grade 1's sewing a variety of stitches and sewing on buttons - awesome!

This project is great for children aged 6-12 years.  For the younger children I gave them the option of using fabric glue to add the features and we even used it around the edges if they were finding the sewing difficult (or going v slow).

Here is a little about ugly dolls if you have never heard of them (I believe they are big in the US yet I don't think they have made it to Australia). The Ugly doll is a brand based upon a line of plush toys which began as a long distance letter between the creators David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim. The Uglydoll line was first launched in January 2001 and is distinguished by its definition of the word "ugly." In the "uglyverse," ugly means unique and special, that we should be celebrating that which makes us different, never hiding the twists or turns which make us who we are, inside and out.  Don't you just love that message!

Even though Ugly dolls are far cuter than ugly, I also gave the children the option of doing a softie if they wanted (love a bit of free choice)...

Here's what you need:
  • felt sheets
  • sewing scissors
  • needles (big headed ones, yet we did use metal ones with points as otherwise you can't get it through the felt)
  • pins
  • templates or paper to make their own (I cut out some of the templates from the "It's Always Autumn blog", they are for monster dolls rather than ugly dolls yet they worked really well)
  • buttons
  • embroidery thread
  • Fabric glue 
How to:
  •  Children select a template or create their own
  • pin to two pieces of felt (front and back, don't need to be the same colour)
  • Cut out
  • Remove pins
  • I gave a demo at this stage on how to thread a needle, how to sew on a button and how to do running stitch and blanket stitch.
  • Add eyes etc to the front piece (some of children had two sided dolls so added to both sides) by either sewing or gluing the pieces on.
  • Sew or glue edges (note if glue is used it is advised to wait till its dry before stuffing)
  • Add stuffing
  • Sew or glue final part
The Results:

Too cute!!