She wants to sew.
My Rachel shows a great inclination toward creative homemaking, and she has been begging to sew for a while now. I put it off because I remembered how difficult it was for the boys to sew the little bird ornaments 1 year ago and the boys were considerably older than Rachel’s 5 years.
However, my little redhead is sweetly charming in her requests, and I knew I had to find a way to make this work. Apparently, the right materials make all the difference.
At Hancock Fabrics, I discovered:
– Oversized needles – These were called soft sculpture doll needles, much easier for little hands to grasp.
– Felt – stiffer than regular cloth and easier for little hands to hold.
– Embroidery Floss – We used 2 strands. It seemed to tangle less and be easier to deal with than regular sewing thread.
We cut out simple heart shapes. I had learned from the previous year how difficult it was for the boys to stitch an even seam allowance, so I made dots on the felt with pen, marking where the needle should go.
After tying the knot and demonstrating a simple whipstitch, Rachel was able to do most of it on her own. I was careful to show her how to pull the needle through, grasping the end with the thread in it, to keep from pulling too far and separating needle from thread.
Prairie did well too, though she required more effort. I found it easier to sit her on my lap, holding the felt for her and letting her work the needle, concentrating on the carefull pulling through of the needle. She got really good at placing the needle on my pre-drawn dots and pulling the needle through without separating needle from thread. She will graduate to more independence quickly. **
We left a gap at the top of the hearts, stuffed them and stuck in fabric scraps for a hanger.
Sidney was working with Sid last Friday, but Lincoln was here. He seemed to enjoy our sewing project as well.
This was a great, cheap art project that teaches the kids real skills. I think we will be doing a lot more sewing with felt, refining their stitches and teaching them new stitches and progressing to more complicated designs. I love the idea that they can produce useful gifts, tree ornaments or even little brooches.
***I figured out later that I had forced my poor left-handed Prairie to sew right-handed. Bad mother that I am, I am constantly forgetting about the left-handedness of my fourth child. I kind of felt bad about it for 2 seconds, but then felt sure that there was research somewhere showing the brilliance of people learning to do things with their non-dominant hand. I feel so sure of this that I didn’t even bother to google this information. It is enough that I “think” it, and therefore alleviated my guilt. This child will be brilliant.