Tag Archives: sewing

Inspired Sewing Projects and Project-Based Learning

Our seven year old daughter has been very interested in learning to sew.  She has watched me sew over the years and would often ask for her own cloth, needle, and thread and I would set her and her older brother up with their own piece for stitching. Recently, she has wanted to work on more complex projects.

She wanted to make a pillow which I could have easily taught her but I sensed she wanted something she could self-direct. I remember enjoying looking through my mother’s sewing books as a kid and teaching myself different stitches.  I liked the idea of her being able to have more freedom in choosing her projects.

Phia pin cushion

For her last birthday I found a really sweet sewing book for kids called Sewing School. I specifically chose a book geared towards kids so the projects would be inspirational and accessible. I pretty much gifted her this book and said, “Go at it kid!” I had her make up a list and we gathered the supplies she would need from the local cloth store.

Her first project was the little apple pin cushion. I know my stitches as a beginning sewer were not near as even.  She worked really hard cutting out all the pieces and did such a wonderful job with her stitches. It turned out beautifully.

Winter 2013

Winter 2013

After gaining some confidence and skills from the pin cushion she moved on to the little huggable project above. I really enjoy her choice of buttons.

Of course, all this activity with sewing was enough to inspire our 9 year old son to make a wallet from the book. He, and his sister collaborated on the design and embellishments. If I can find it I will get pictures up. It is amazing how quickly things disappear in this house! Anywho, he did a really great job on the stitches and picked out an awesome button for the clasp.

It has been a lot of fun watching them learn through doing it on their own. Sometimes I have a tendency to “teach” by taking over and doing, rather than, showing then stepping back and supporting.  When it comes to skills that are more complex to explain or acquire, (because they just need to be practiced more than anything) if the child expresses a lot of frustration I fight the urge to rescue rather than hold back and let them work at it.

I have gotten much better over the years and have expanded the ways in which I approach providing support. A couple of years ago I read Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners by Lori Pickert. I also visit her website here for resources and support. Ideally, we would have a much bigger studio or workshop for the kids but for now, the craft closet, kitchen table, and garage work bench (and outside during warmer months) will have to suffice.

Usually, our 3 and 5 year old kiddos keep me plenty busy. Otherwise, busying myself within earshot with all the things I need or want to get done while they are working on their projects is enough to keep from rescuing or meddling by giving unsolicited suggestions.

Now, she is moving on to a pillow case and larger throw pillows for her bed. She has let me know she would like a sewing machine for her 8th birthday this year (among a list of other items-hehe). Hmmm.

I went hunting for some reasonably priced machines on the smaller side and was referred to the Janome SewMini but Brother has some pretty reasonable options as well. I will be doing some more research before I plunk down any money. It may make more sense to just gift her my current machine and get myself an upgrade!

Her birthday is in June! Suggestions are welcome!




Craft/Office Closet Update

Progress was made for the new year.

Progress was made for the new year.

We were able to finish some aspects of our craft/office closet project before the new year.  Seams were caulked and walls were touched up with paint.  I organized shelves based on how often items are used.  After organizing supplies, it became quickly apparent that the third row of shelves is needed.  We will be adding them later this winter.

In a small home vertical storage is very important!  A keen eye towards aesthetics in small spaces is equally important.  I am continuously looking for ways to better utilize our space while making and keeping it more visually appealing.  Paint color and lighting can make or break a space.

The Craft/Office closet is almost finished.

The Craft/Office closet is almost finished.

We painted the hall but decided to keep the current paint color of Sherwin-Williams Halcyon Green in the closet.  Lighting makes a big difference as you can see in the pictures above and below. The hallway color is actually just a shade lighter than the office color.  The lighting in the office makes it appear to be a much different color than what we have in our bedroom.  I will be experimenting with different light bulbs to see what effect I like best.

Hall 112014

The hallway is painted in SW Quietude.

We went ahead and added the computer and monitor so that the office portion could be used.  Many of the craft and art supplies are still being sorted and organized.  The only items left to be added are the office chair, desk lamp, inspiration board, and peg board for organizing tools.

Most of these items will be added this coming weekend.  The third row of shelves can be added at anytime.  We will be installing beadboard on the ceiling over a future weekend.  The computer desk will be painted when I have 2-4 hours to devote to it.  There are so many other projects that take precedence right now that some of these tasks are just not high on my list!

The main goal for this closet was to create a space that would operate as our “central command” (office) and a sewing/crafting room.  I have also been able to store a number of seasonal items since we decided to have the very top shelf wrap around the whole room. This has created more efficient space in our downstairs closets for items we use more often.

The closet is fully functional for office and craft use.  Sure, there are odds and ends left to sort and add but it is definitely ready for use.  I am typing this post from my new office space!

I am hoping to finish this space by late February April.

Stalled Progress!

Stalled Progress!