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! 

Sew a Softie Pop Up

In honor of Sew a Softie Month, we took our Pineapple Softie project on the road and hosted a little sewing pop up at our school's camp.  Every day, they have an hour lunch break to eat, socialize, and play.  The campers were so excited when Frank and I showed up with a big bag full of sewing supplies!  They immediately gathered around the table and began to make the most creative Pineapple Softies ever!

Why pineapples?  This year, the camp's theme is pineapples, which represents summer, but also is a welcoming symbol.  Pineapples are everywhere at camp.  Well, I love a good theme, so I went all out with it!

The set-up with simple.  I precut the yellow felt into chunks a little larger than the pineapple pattern and cut the green felt to size.  I made about 10 pineapple patterns for tracing.  I also pre-threaded about 20 needles and gathered up a basket of scissors and chalk.  Nearby, I put a stuffing station and had a hot glue gun for adding googly eyes. We also had Sharpies for decorating.  After laying it all out on the table, the kids got to work!

While many campers have sewn with me before, we had several first-timers. Never fear, Frank, Sew a Softie Kid Ambassador, was on hand to help out and offer advice (as well as lots of jokes).  

Once again, the kids' creativity was amazing!  I love all the silly Pineapple Softie personalities they came up with!

Happy Sew a Softie Month!  Try taking your sewing project on the road and sharing the love of sewing with kids.

Pineapple Softie

Yay!  Today is Sewing School's day to share a tutorial for Sew a Softie Month.  We decided to make a pineapple softie.  This little guy is cute, fun, and fast to stitch up!  While we're sharing it here, we'll also be making them with kids from our school's camp this afternoon.

As an official Sew a Softie Kid Ambassador, Frank wanted to make a video tutorial.  (Full disclosure - this was my first video to make, so it's kinda rough. BUT, we had fun making it, so look for more video tutorials in the future.)

Pineapple Stuffie pattern - print the picture on a full sheet to get the right size, or create your own.

Happy Sew a Softie Month!  If you make a pineapple softie or any other Sew a Softie projects, please share and tag #sewasoftie.

Sew a Softie in July!

Yay!  Sew a Softie Month is happening again during the month of July. This awesome idea started by Coloured Buttons is a world-wide effort to share the love of sewing with kids everywhere and get them sewing!  There are even Kid Ambassadors!  

This year, Sewing School will be one of several blogs and makers stitching with kids and sharing tutorials for projects.  Here is the list of participants.  I can't wait to see what everyone makes!

I'll be back on July 10 with a fun tutorial with my son Frank, one of the official Kid Ambassadors. Until then, you can follow along by liking Coloured Buttons on FaceBook

Happy Sew a Sofie month!

Pineapple Pouch

We started Sewing School Camp off with a fun Pineapple Pouch perfect for summer.  These 30 kids ages 5-11 had a great time sewing up theirs and we thought you might like to make one too.

The inspiration for the project came from the Draw It Up Bag in Sewing School.  It's a simple drawstring bag perfect for young sewers.  As with any Sewing School project, there are loads of variations you can make, so use this tutorial as a guide and have fun making it yours!

Trace a standard piece of paper (8-1/2 x 11 inches) on yellow fabric 2 times.  Cut out the fabric pieces and put the together so that the good sides are facing out.

Now, measure down on 1 side 1 inch. This is where you will start sewing so you can make a casing for the drawstring.

Start sewing at the 1 inch mark.  Sew around 3 sides of the pouch.  You can use a running or a whip stitch.

Fold down the top 1 inch where you began sewing to make a casing, a little pocket where the drawstring goes.

Wrap a 4 inch wide strip of green felt around the top of the pouch.  Match up the bottom of the felt to the bottom of the fold. Pin it onto the fold and sew around the bottom with a running stitch. Be careful not to sew through both sides of the pouch.  Tip:  At camp, first-time sewers sewed around the casing first and then hot glued the green felt onto the casing.

Measure a piece of yarn or ribbon 3 times the width of the pouch. Using a safety pin, thread the string through the casing.  Tip: At camp, my daughter Phoebe discovered that plastic needles worked perfectly for this small bag!

You're almost done! Turn the bag inside out.  Cut out pineapple top leaves, careful not to cut the yellow fabric.

Turn the bag right-side out and fill with summer essentials!