Nellie"s Needles

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Kids Sewing II

Just a quick posting today. This is for those interested in how I set up and mentor my grandson's sewing on the machine.

Winston spent a week here at the cottage. Much time was spent in the studio. Although, if he had his way it would've been even more. He had decided to make a quilt ... a pretty big quilt.
The first step was to choose 20 fabrics from the drawer full of novelty prints. I cut his choices into 6" squares. That was enough "sewing" for one day.

Most of the next day was spent arranging and rearranging those squares on the design board. I recall at this point he decided 5 more were needed. He had fun looking through the reducing glass and the wrong end of my studio binoculars. He actually determined where changes and additions were necessary by "seeing them from a distance".

I got busy with my own project and neglected to take photos every day. The sewing machine was set up on a low end table. Winston was able to sit at the machine in a childs sized chair. We went through the basics of sewing machine operation. I taped a stack of post-it sheets next to the edge of the sewing foot to help quide the fabric. After he had sewn the length of 2 strips together that had been trimmed from one of my projects, he had full control and began piecing his blocks.

I was adament about determining where 2 pieces were to get the seam while they were still on the design board. I instruct the 2 blocks be viewed as pages in a book, then for him to close the book and and take both pieces off the board together with his fingers only on the edges that get pinned where a books spine would be. Winston took the pair of blocks to a flat surface and placed 3 pins. He took care to match the edges and all of his seams were PERFECT. There was a bit of a challenge sewing rows of blocks together. He got the principle of opposing seams and just about all the blocks matched.

He got a kick out of using a sliver of soap to draw quilting lines across the diagonal of the blocks. We tried the chalk wheel, but the lines didn't stay on the fabric long enough.

On his breaks from sewing, he poured over the instruction book for that Pfaff 360. At some point he got the hang of threading up the machine and using the built-in needle threader. He gets to finish the quilting in his mother's studio on her old sport Bernina machine. Says he'll wait to sew the binding on with me.


Lisa said...

Winston looks like he's having a grand old time! I can't wait to see the finished product.

Fiona said...

Oh, I am going to show this to my son, he looks about the same age as Winston (9?). He likes looking at all the quilts on the blogs anyway - I never thought of asking him if he wanted to make one!

Nellie Bass Durand said...

It seems such a short time ago that I spent a summer teaching you to sew on the machine. Wish I had known some of the techniques then that I'm using with the little ones now.

Winston and his cousins, Jackson and Jennings, are 7. They started last summmer with me literally surrounding them. I'm glad they can sew on their own now. The rule is, an adult must also be in the studio when they do.