Sewing does not have to be intimidating, I suggest starting with a super simple project to begin familiarising yourself with the skills. Sewing is not only great to practice fine motor skills, but it gets kids thinking about different kinds of materials in artmaking, and is a great avenue for recycling unused fabric and clothing. This name wall hanging project uses two hand sewing techniques and is suited to ages 7 and up.
You will need some good scissors, a needle (I suggest choosing one with a big eye and thicker for easier handling), some coloured thread, and two bits of fabric about A5 size, the main background piece will ideally have some rigidity, and perhaps a bit of an open weave (a heavy linen is what I found).
Cut the lighter piece into four strips lengthways, these will be your border. Fold each in half and sit on them for a few minutes, this is my alternative to ironing. Each gets wrapped around the edge of the main fabric panel and sewn on using a really simple stitch up and down. Get your child to stick to the middle of the border, in the process the border gets sewn on the front and back. On the shorter edges I had to trim the boarder fabric a bit. Make sure your child always has plenty of thread to work with on the needle. To join on a new piece of thread tie the old end with the new thread on the back of the work and just keep sewing.
Once your border is done, the child’s name can be drawn onto the front of the work with a light pencil. When you thread the needle try and get as many threads through as possible for this step, I used 6 strands of embroidery thread so it really stood out. Now do the same stitch following along the lines of the name, but when you go to thread the needle to the underside just catch one or two threads and then come straight back up, this will ensure a strong visible line.
Once you get the hang of this simple stitch you can make all sorts of fabric collages and begin some more detailed embroidery too.
Working with felt is another fun easy fabric for stitching with children – it is soft, doesn’t fray, and comes in so many cool colours – you can create very fun felt shapes, perfect for some quirky soft sculpture. These projects incorporated some stitching – with added detail using a fabric glue. Fun and fabulous!
Time to get stitching folks.
Catch y’all soon.