sewing with lots of kids

Once a year, our little school invites parents to come in and do a short workshop with the children. Next week I’ll be doing my third and last hand sewing workshop. I am always so surprised at what kids can accomplish in twenty minutes. You might think the girls are all over it and the boys are simply polite (or less so) but you’d be wrong. Interest in sewing is pretty evenly split down the middle and I don’t see gender playing any part in it. It’s pretty exciting to see them turned on by something they haven’t done before and it’s a bit daunting for me to come up with something they like. Also, for many of these kids, hand sewing is something new so I like to give them a strong foundation in the basics so they can pick it up on their own if they like.

Sewing School (website and book) is a great resource for sewing with large numbers of kids. They have such great project ideas and show you how to break them down into steps. I highly recommend this book to anyone teaching sewing to kids. It really helps define expectations and allows you to tailor your projects to the abilities of the group, making it way less frustrating for you and the kids. I’ve also learned through trial and error that a ratio of 4-5 kids per adult seems to work well. It’s good to have lots of volunteers!

I would love to have a burlap sewing table like this one so we could create a large piece but the logistics are just out of reach for us. So this year I thought we could make these little treasure pouches.

It seems kids are always filling their pockets with bits of nature and small toys so I thought this might help with the collecting and management of all those bits. It also helps that I have hundreds of three inch squares left over from last year’s project so the prep is easy peasy! Here’s what you need in case you want to try this too.

Materials:

two felt squares (any size)

embroidery floss

embroidery needle (chenille, size 22 work great)

button

chalk

This is a project suitable for 5-9 year olds since that’s the age range I’m dealing with.

To start, sew the button on one square, centering it about a quarter of an inch from the top. Then place the other square on top and using a piece of chalk, draw a line where you feel the button. Fold the piece you drew on in half with the chalk mark on the outside and the sides together so that you can snip along the line to make your button hole. Then line the pieces back up again with the button on the inside and sew them together, leaving the top edge open. You can use a whip stitch as shown or try a running stitch or blanket stitch to change it up. If you want to make a little larger pouch you could also sew on a piece of ribbon for a shoulder strap.

Now what to put inside?

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