Sewing School Holiday Shopping List

Give the gift of sewing this holiday season! Putting together a personalized sewing kit to go along with the Sewing School books makes for an extra special gift. You know that any young sewer will want to get started on a project right away!

While you can get pre-made sewing kits at most sewing stores, they don't always include kid-friendly tools. We've learned through the years that the right tools make for independent sewists.

You can print our Sewing School Holiday Shopping List to use at your favorite sewing or craft store, or do some one-stop shopping on our Amazon Idea List. (affiliate link)

While you don't need to purchase all the materials on the list, you will want to get the basics of needles, thread, threader, scissors, and felt or fabric. Those items will allow any new sewer to start stitching right away!

Happy Holiday Shopping!

Sewing School for Christmas!

Tis the season for sewing!  Beat the rush this holiday season and do your shopping early.

Looking for a perfect gift for the crafty kid in your life? We have you covered!

The Sewing School Box Set is 25% off now through November 28 when you use the code STOREY18 on

Want to create a personalized sewing kit to go along with the books?  Want our pics for a kid-friendly sewing machine? Check out our customized idea page on for one-click shopping! (FYI, this is an affiliate link.)

Sugar Skull Softie

Hi! I'm excited to be posting this creative Sugar Skull Softie as part of Sew a Softie for Halloween! Organized by Trixi at Coloured Buttons, Sew a Softie is a world-wide effort to get kids sewing and being creative. If you want to connect with the community, join the FaceBook group!
I love the rich cultural traditions behind Mexico's DiĆ” de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. Colorful Sugar Skulls are made to celebrate the lives of those lost. While the Day of the Dead is not officially celebrated until November 1 and 2, it's never to early to start decorating.
I love this project because it allows for creativity in decorating the skull while still providing clear directions and a shape. Each one will be unique, but is easy to set up for a group.
I found the perfect Sugar Skull template here on Teachers Pay Teachers, but a quick Google search for Sugar Skulls will give you dozens of ideas. You can always draw your own too! 
Cut a piece of muslin a little larger than your template. Lay the fabric over the template and trace using markers or crayons. You may want to tape the fabric to the table so it doesn't slide around.
Have fun decorating your sugar skull!
Now, pin the muslin to felt. Cut around the sugar skull leaving a small edge around the skull. Younger sewers may need help with this step.
Sew all around the skull leaving an opening for stuffing. You can use a whipstitch or a running stitch. Once you have stuffed the skull, sew up the opening and you have a Sugar Skull Softie!
I hope you will check out some of the other Sew a Softie for Halloween projects. There is a complete tutorial list on Sum of Their Stories.  Be sure to tag your Halloween sewing projects with kids #sewasoftie.

It's the Great Pumpkin Workshop

I'm super excited to be teaching another workshop at The Art Project in Memphis. This time, it's for kids! We'll be designing our own jack-o-lantern softies then stitching them out of felt. I can't wait to see all the pumpkins!

The workshop is October 17 from 4-5:30pm, kids 7 and up. Click here to register and find out more details.

This project reminded me of my son Frank's first sewing project. I helped him stitch up his very own pumpkin pillow. Cleaning his room up the other day, I uncovered it. He's now 10. Such sweet memories!

Kid Art Embroidery Workshop

I'm super excited for the Kid Art Embroidery workshop for adults at The Art Project  in Memphis, TN. 

When my kids were small, I was enchanted by their artwork. The creativity, wobbly lines, and fearlessness. They also developed their own unique style. Phoebe was busy drawing long-legged princesses and hearts while Frank focused on complex vehicles that involved a lot of wheels and straps for holding things together.

This angel was embroidered for a good friend. 
Her child was in my kindergarten class.

As a crafty mom, I wanted to capture their artwork beyond putting it on the fridge. I also wanted to connect with their world somehow. So, I began to embroider favorite drawings. As I stitched along their lines, I felt closer to them and knew that I was creating a keepsake. Throughout the years, I have also embroidered drawings for friends and family. They are such sweet gifts.

Phoebe's artwork
My embroidery

Embroidery is one of those crafts that is so perfect. It's timeless, portable, and full of possibilities.

At The Art Project later this month, I look forward to passing on this fun project to others who are eager to learn a new skill or just want to hang out and sew with me!  We'll be transferring an original drawing onto muslin so that it fits inside a 7-inch hoop. The hoop will also become a clever hanger for the finished work. I'll go over a variety of stitches so that the best stitch can be chosen to capture the details on those sweet drawings.

For more information and to sign-up for the workshop, visit The Art Project website.   If you don't live in Memphis, but want to learn more about Kid Art Embroidery, check out my post from many moons ago.

On Being a "Sewing Boss"

I was excited to be part of Hipstitch Academy's Sewing Bosses video series. It's so awesome to be part of this wonderful community of sewing teachers. I immediately it off with Megan Avery and we ended up having a fun and informative chat. In fact, we talked for so long, my interview became a 2-part series.

In the interview, I ramble about the Sewing School books, my teaching philosophy, and how I got started teaching kids to sew. We also talked about how I incorporate sewing into my 2nd grade classroom.

Interview Part 1

Interview Part 2

Hop on over to the Hipstitch Academy blog to watch, and while you're there, check out some of the other cool "sewing bosses" that are featured.

From Fabric to Project

I love a good craft challenge and have been using them in camp to not only create fun activities, but to foster creativity. It's always funny how everyone gets quiet and really starts to concentrate on their own projects. Then, about 1/2 way through, they start to wander around the room and check out each other's work. At the end, we share ideas and announce a winner or two.

In Advanced Sewing School camp we gave campers a fat quarter and access to a variety of print making supplies like paint, watercolors, stamps, and markers. Their first assignment was to create an original fabric print. To begin, we looked at a ton of different fabrics and talked about repeats, print directions, and color combinations. Many sketched their ideas first before moving to paint and fabric, but some designers just jumped right into it.

After the paint dried, it was time to create an original project using the fabric. Campers could use other fabrics to make their project, but their fabric had to be the main fabric. Everyone made something different and it was very hard to choose a winner!

Remembering Mr. Rogers

The new documentary Won't You be My Neighbor was a wonderful reminder as both a teacher and parent of how to respond to, talk with, and show respect to children. I was part of the generation that grew up watching Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. He was a big part of my early childhood. My favorite was The Land of Makebelieve and hoping that Lady Evelyn would appear. She was a little bit wicked, and I liked that!

Sadly, my own children were not avid fans of the show. We tried a few times to get them to watch, but it didn't stick. We did have the opportunity to visit the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh when they had a big Mr. Rogers exhibit back in 2009.

The original pieces of the set brought back so many memories and it was fun to share them with my kids. They are so little in these photos - those overalls!

Looking at these pictures now, I see the wonder in their faces and know that they understand the power of Mr. Rogers.

Watching the documentary, I was reminded that it's important for every child to feel safe, loved, and acknowledged. So many times when working with children, I can begin to get impatient and am quick to judge and dismiss their feelings and ideas. Now, I'm not saying that children should be indulged and allowed to do whatever they want, but I do think that offering them the opportunity to share their ideas and stories helps children to feel heard. It's the kid version of venting.

So, as I start to think about a new school year (gasp!), I hope to hold on to the ideas and understanding of Mr. Rogers throughout the year (or at least for the first month!). Wouldn't it be nice if my classroom was as friendly as Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood? Maybe I need to break out my cardigans. I already have the Keds!

Sew a Softie Story

Once upon a time there was a group of young sewers who wanted to sew a softie, but not just any softie, a Magical Unicorn softie!

They had heard about the adventures of Uni the Unicorn and fiercely believed that unicorns (and little girls) were very real indeed.

They gathered their supplies and began to draw their unicorns' faces. Each face was different. Some unicorns were smiling, some were sleepy, and a few were sad.

Next, it was time to cut, cut, cut out all the parts that make a unicorn a unicorn like a horn and mane. Some had yellow horns, and few were pink!

Finally, the pieces were pinned and sewn together. Sewing through all the layers of felt and fabric was a little tricky, but these little girl sewers did not give up! Not one sewer poked themselves or said it was too hard.

And you know what's next, right? It's stuffing time! This is the best part where a softie becomes a softie!  Don't forget to sew up your hole so you can go on Magical Unicorn adventures!

And they all lived happily ever after!  (Even the little girl who decided to make a dog instead of a unicorn.)  Happy Sew a Softie Month!

Sew a Softie 2018

If you sew with kids, then you probably know about Sew a Softie organized by the lovely Trixi of Coloured Buttons. It's a month long tutorial extravaganza of softie tutorials with kids in mind. 

My contribution was this Magical Unicorn Softie.  The best part is that you can design the face, mane, and horn!  It's fun - you should make one.

Want to see all the Sew a Sofie awesomeness?!  You can find the link up to all the posts here.

Happy Sew a Softie Month!