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!



Unicorn Softie



Hooray! It's my turn to share a fun project as part of Sew a Softie month hosted by Trixi at Coloured Buttons.

If you have a little girl in your life, chances are you are aware of unicorn obsession.  Rainbow unicorns are even better! While there are several unicorn projects out there, I set out to design one that was easy for young sewers to create independently. These little square-faced unicorns fit the bill perfectly! Also, if unicorns aren't your thing, this project can be transformed into any animal your heart desires.

So, let's get to it.  The materials are simple - you'll need some muslin or light colored fabric, a felt square, lots of felt scraps, stuffing, markers, and sewing materials.

We made our pillows 8x8 inches, but you can make the project any size you want.

Fabric markers are easy to find, but any kind of marker will work. You can also color the face with crayons.

Use scraps to design your unicorn.

This might be tricky for young sewers, but it also teaches a new skill.

Remember to stitch through all the felt pieces so that the mane and horn stays in place.




I made these direction photos to print and use when sewing unicorn softies with my campers.  Get a copy here.

Happy Sew a Softie Month!

Quilting in the News

Excited to wake up this morning and find a wonderful article about Sewing School Quilts on the cover of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. In a day and age where life can be stressful, it's nice to know that art and quilting can sometimes be above the fold!  Read the article!


Sewing School Quilts


It's here!  Sewing School Quilts has finally arrived and is even better than I expected.  I once heard that writing a book is a little like giving birth, and I totally agree. We worked on this book for months, then patiently waited for it to arrive, and now it's being set out into the word.  


The book is filled with 15 fun projects from big to small. It covers 5 different quilting methods using step-up projects to teach quilting techniques and then ends with a cozy-sized quilt. As with all Sewing School books, there is room to "Make It Your Own" and play around with ideas. 


I think our biggest goal with this book was to make quilting accessible to kids. The book is written for boys and girls ages 8 and up. We developed tricks for sewing blocks together and skipped some traditional elements such as a 1/4 seam allowance and lots of basting to allow kids to make a quilt both independently and successfully. After making a few quilts and projects from the book, kids should begin to refine their skills so they can move on to more advanced quilting projects. 

I hope you love it as much as we do!

You can get your very own copy on Amazon, Powell's, or your favorite bookstore!

Summer Sewing Camps 2018

Are you ready for the summer?!  We are gearing up for Sewing School summer camps at Grace-St. Luke's Episcopal School in Memphis, TN.  Summerfest has wonderful camp options for boys and girls from preschool - 8th grade.

This year, I'll be teaching four different camps for a variety of ages.


Sewing School Camp for rising 1st - 4th graders, June 18-22, 8am-12pm

This is the classic Sewing School camp where it all began! Campers will learn new sewing skills while creating fun, original projects. No needle experience necessary!


Advanced Sewing School Camp for rising 4th - 8th graders, June 18-22, 1pm-5pm

Older campers will learn new sewing skills and have the chance to work on a project of their choice such as a quilt or clothing. No needle experience necessary!


Sewing School Jr. for rising SK students, July 9-13, 8am-12pm

You're never too young to learn to sew! Campers will have fun learning the basics of sewing with creative projects including super hero capes, stuffies, pillows, and more!


Urban Scout Camp for rising 2nd - 5th grade, July 9-13, 1pm-5pm

This camp is just plain old fashioned fun!  Think classic camp crafts in an urban setting. We'll be doing some woodworking, weaving, jam making, and creating our own musical instruments. The week will end with a camp-in complete with s'mores!

Click here to register and find out more about camps at GSL.

Sew a Softie: Santa Face Pillow Tutorial

I'm super excited to be part of the Sew a Softie for the Festive Season tutorials this year!  There are so many favorite bloggers and crafters on the list, so you know it's going be a fun and festive holiday season of making. Surely there will be something for every young sewer on your list.  My project is this super cute Santa Face Pillow.


The Santa Face Pillow has been a favorite of mine for a few years. I had so much fun designing it and making it with kids. The hat comes on and off and the beard is made with batting! The best part is that you can design the face to look just  how you want. While this is the first time I've published the tutorial, dozens of these guys have been stitched up by kids, so you know that the project is kid-tested and approved!


When you download the tutorial from Google Docs, you'll get step-by-step directions written in simple language for kids to follow, along with a materials list. Remember, your Santa face doesn't have to look just like mine. Have fun and make it your own! 

Click to download Santa Face Tutorial

5 Halloween Projects Kids Love

Halloween is just the best for sewing and kid-crafting! I think it brings out the DIY spirit in all of us.  Here are some of my favorite kid-made Halloween projects.  These projects are simple and fun and perfect for parties and getting into the spooky spirit!

Happy Halloween!