Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sew Fun

Want to know whats great about teaching your kids needlework?
  1.  Its fun and entertaining.
  2.  Little ones can make artwork that any family member would love to have.
  3.  Needlework is good practice for hand-eye coordination which is great for little ones learning to write.

Materials (Other than the buttons, these materials will all be located in the needle art/cross stitching section of your local fabric store)

Stitchable fabric - These fabrics are pre-cut in small sizes for needle art.  Make sure you choose a fabric that is larger enough to fill your hoop.  I chose a bread cover material because the holes were a little larger which would make it a little easier to stitch through.
Embroidery Hoop - There are lots of sizes and colors.  I got cheap plastic ones (ranging from $2 to $5).
Embroidery Floss - Any color
Yarn Needle - These are metal (or plastic) needles that have NO point.  Just make sure you don't get one with a big head as it won't fit through your buttons.
Bunch of Buttons - Rather than use buttons from my stash, I bought a bag of assorted shapes so that my son would enjoy them a little more, plus the shape buttons had bigger holes than normal buttons.

Time to Sew

Take the fabric, and put it into the embroidery hoop.  Now, thread the needle with a piece of embroidery floss.  I kept the floss pieces to about 2 foot so that my son could easily work with it.  Instead of leaving a piece of thread hanging from the eye (as you would normally do when handsewing), I tied a knot so that it didn't slip out of the eye.  On the other end of the floss, tie a large knot.....  And thats it for set-up.

I showed my son once how to run the needle up through the bottom of the fabric and pull it all the way through.  We added a button, and pushed the needle back through the other hole, through the back of the fabric, and pulled it tight again.  After showing him one time, he went for it!  Each button was threaded through one time, then when the needle was to the back of the fabric, he just moved it to the next spot and started over.  The only time he needed my help was when he reached the end of the floss.  I just tied a knot, re-threaded, and set him loose again.

And of coarse, we couldn't do this project without a version for my two-year-old.  So for her, I put a piece of fabric in a hoop and gave her some glue (make sure it dries clear because it will probably go everywhere), buttons, and a paint brush.  She loved being able to "sew" on buttons just like her big brubby.

Now obviously you can take the fabric out of the hoops and frame it to hang on the wall, or you could sew a back on it, stuff it, and make it into a blanket.  But, my kids wanted theirs hung on the wall hoop and all!

Theres nothing like having new handcrafted artwork to hang on my walls.