18" Doll Sewing Patterns • Free Tutorials • Sewing with Kids

Life sometimes gets in the way of blogging.

Life sometimes gets in the way of blogging.

Life can get busy, and it is the blog that stands in the back of the line. As so it was last week. In my opinion, this is how it should be. I’m a mom and wife first, blogger/artist second.

My daughter is graduating in a month–so much going on for her.  As she is getting ready to be an independent young woman, she still needs  her family’s reassurance and support. Her last Honors Symphony performance was last week and it was amazing.

My boys are in the throes of competitive sports. My older son is playing both soccer and is on the Varsity tennis team. He suffered a minor concussion last weekend, so we’ve been focused on his healing. That and the SAT test. My younger son had 3 soccer games this weekend and caught 6 fish after his last game. He seems to never run out of energy.

My youngest caught up on some of her sewing projects. As of Friday last week, she had 4 UFO’s (unfinished objects). I’m not sure if I should be proud of her, because that may be a sign that she has the mark of a true sewer. Or worried, because she is developing a bad sewing habit. This weekend we got down to business and she finished 2 of her 4 current projects. These 2 will be entered at fair along with her other 4-H sewing projects.

As a junior in 4-H, she challenged herself to make a fitted skirt (BurdaStyle downloadable pattern: Modell 121 Burda Style). The new skills for her were an invisible zipper, hook and eye closure, and darts. She also chose a fabric that would require matching up along the sides. She worked hard and the skirt looks great!

Burdastyle skirt 4-H sewing projectHere’s her invisible zipper, and the almost matched up fabric print. This was a great learning experience for her!

invisible zipper Burdastyle skirt 4-H sewing

The second project was a fun one, which she plans to give to a friend: a kitty pillow. This pillow is challenging with all its tricky curves and pivot points. She marked her stitching line and pivot points, then sewed slowly and carefully. Clipping was an important skill she worked on as well.

[This project is much trickier than at first glance. My first kitty was a mess and looks very creepy. My daughter doesn’t want it in the house-it’s that creepy. It’s partly due to the fabrics I used and partly due to the overconfidence in determining those pivot points as I sewed instead of marking them. the pivot points are key to making it look like a cat and not a mutant, battle creature with disturbing eyes.]

kitty pillow 4-H sewing project for fair
Dear Stella fabric

The new technique she learned was applique, using fusible web. She was very happy with her finished pillow! I love the smiles on kids’ faces when they’ve finished creating something on their own.

 kitty pillow finished 4-H sewing

When  her Grandma asked her about her sewing this weekend, I overheard her response: “Anyone can learn to sew. It just takes practice.” I’m so glad to hear her say this, because it is something I believe as well. The more you sew and practice those skills, the better your projects will look and the easier it becomes.

The more I teach children to sew, the more aware I become of how capable they really are. And they have such perseverance and industriousness to keep with it.

Teaching Tip:

When a young student is sewing tricky curves or tight curves, have her use a sewing gauge and fabric marker (not permanent) to draw stitching lines. Pivot points are another skill that takes practice and marking the pivot points with fabric markers gives students a better understanding of what they’re supposed to do when sewing.  These visual aids, to use while sewing,  are extremely helpful to younger students.

Marking the stitching line along curves helps them sew accurately all by themselves. The drawn stitching lines gives them a concrete way to understand what  a seam allowance is. Of course as they get more practice sewing tight curves, they’ll get better and won’t need that help as much. The key is to give them the tools with which to be successful independently. This autonomy gives them confidence to keep practicing. sewing class marking stitching line along curves

sewing class student marking her stitching lines and pivot points

I use this in my sewing classes as well as with my own kids.

When sewing curves, remind students to sew slowly. Like pivoting, they will need to stop and adjust the fabric ever so often. These are learned skills that take practice. It’s important to let the students do it for themselves. Mistakes  and wonky stitches are part of the learning process.

I’ve been sewing, too 🙂  and finished a tote bag for quilt market.

Avery Lane tote bagI’ve been playing around with trims, can you tell? I may make another one with less trims if I have time. Right now I have this in progress and I’m designing as I sew.Avery Lane Sewing Blog wipHappy Stitching!



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