A celebration of teaching children to sew

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that one of the things I have done over the last few years is teach a wonderfully enthusiastic group of children. The group started in July 2012 and I have typically run 6-7 classes per year. The goal was to teach the children some basic sewing skills as well as sharing the sheer joy and passion that I have for stitching things by hand. It has been an absolute privilege to work with such a lovely group of children, to witness their joyful creativity, and to see their sewing skills improve so much.

We had our last class together on Sunday, so today’s post is dedicated to a celebration of these kids and the wonderful work they have done over the last three years.

2012 – Sewing for the School Fair

In the first year, we squeezed sewing classes into one and a half hours after school. It was lots of fun but the pressure was always on to finish projects in such a short time. Nevertheless, the children did an amazing job and attacked every new class with boundless enthusiasm. Our goal became making items for a stall at the school fair. We had so much fun making cute little owls (each one had its own personality), felt elephant brooches, Christmas decorations and colourful bookmarks stitched on Aida cloth.

All ready to sell the fruits of our labours in November 2012.

All ready to sell the fruits of our labours in November 2012.

2013 – New venue and Sunday afternoons

In 2013, we moved to a local hall on Sunday afternoons. This proved to be a huge success. Sunday afternoon gave us time to finish projects without feeling so rushed and we had plenty of room to spread out. There was also a lovely seat in a large bay window where the children liked to sit whilst stitching. Extra time and the children’s developing skills allowed us to explore some more challenging projects. My personal favourites were embroidery hoop pictures and creating clothes for wood and wire dolls.

This embroidery hoop picture project also taught the children to sew on buttons securely :)

This embroidery hoop picture project also taught the children to sew on buttons securely.

Creating clothes for wood and wire dolls.

Creating clothes for wood and wire dolls. Can you spot Rapunzel?

2014 – The journey continues

This year has seen the children’s skills improve significantly. In fact, one week I came away feeling like I hadn’t done a very good job of teaching them…. until I realised that they simply didn’t need so much input from me any more! Their skills were improving so much that I could provide materials and directions and off they went. I think that has been the most rewarding part of the whole journey for me. I could always rely on these children to freely express their creativity, but this year it was coupled with the freedom to make choices about what stitches they wanted to use for a particular task. We have made cushions inspired by Namibian embroidery, coasters embroidered with wool on plastic canvas, tiny felt finger puppets and pretty Christmas cards embroidered with metallic thread. With every new project the children have impressed me with their skill and inspired me with their creativity.

Some of the projects completed in 2014. Just love the turtle!

Some of the projects completed in 2014. Just love the turtle!

A Big Thankyou

I love saying thankyou and it is even better if I can find or make a small gift as a token of my appreciation. Earlier this year I bought some gorgeous fabric with pictures associated with famous cities around the world. I had planned to use it for a project with the children, but in the end we hadn’t needed it. So, I used it to make a mug rug for each child and added some tiny Christmas decorations and a special pair of tiny, sharp scissors.

A thankyou gift from me to the children.

A thankyou gift from me to the children.

It was so much fun handing these out on Sunday afternoon and having each child get excited about which city they had on their rug. And it was just a small way to say thankyou for the pleasure I have had in sharing my passion for sewing with such a lovely group of children.

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3 Responses to A celebration of teaching children to sew

  1. Carina November 19, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    They’ve loved their sewing classes. And the most amazing part for me…seeing my rather energetic, painfully scattered little bit so very focused and determined! Not much engages him so fully. It was a gift to our family to be able to say “but he can concentrate at sewing…if he can’t in this situation, he’s clearly just not that engaged by it!” So thank you. Not that you won’t be seeing more of them through the years….

    • Ann-Marie November 19, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

      Thankyou Carina! That determination was brilliant – in fact both boys in the class were always very focussed on the finish line :)

  2. Carina November 19, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    Little boy that is….though little bit describes him too!

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