I have children who beg to sew. I even have boys who beg to sew. I have a hard time figuring out what to give them to sew. I need help. I need ideas. (I need someone to watch Beatrix while I help them all sew.)
I want to always let my kids try whatever it is that they want to try, but I need direction. I need instructions. Thankfully, a couple of local friends recently pointed me to a lovely book that has helped me:
There are lots of nice ideas in this book, and I tried to find the easiest, most five year old friendly project to get Larkspur sewing. Sewing with wool felt is great for children, and the patterns for felt cupcakes and eclairs seemed like a good project that would yield cute results with some good play value. (Here are a few places where I have purchased wool felt: Magic Cabin, Weir Dolls, Heather Bailey, and also-I buy neutral colors of wool blend felt by the yard at JoAnn.)
I copied and cut out the pattern pieces, and then cut out enough felt pieces for four of each felt “treat.” I suppose I could have let the kids help with all the cutting, but I didn’t, because that would have taken forever. They were only interested in the sewing part anyway.
I sewed along with Larkspur, Gabriel, and Keats, so that they could follow my example. The boys are pretty good at making nice even stitches already, and Larkspur made pretty amazing progress just moving from one step of her little cupcake to the next. Each of my kids was able to sew these by themselves with only a bit of guidance and of course needle threading from me.
Now, because I don’t have someone to watch Beatrix while I teach the older children to sew, I can’t claim that this was a calming afternoon activity for me. It is certainly harder to teach not one, but three children a skill, by example while a two year old watches. Of course if Bea just watched, actually all would be fine. In reality she took turns throwing pattern pieces and pins plucked from the pincusion with a gleeful little smile (she wasn’t interested in the lacing cards I had out for her.) There were definitely some tense “what the heck am I thinking?” moments. But, there were most definitely a few moments during which Beatrix took a break from throwing pins to sit and look at a book and my other three sewed quietly for a minute or so without needing their needles re threaded. I basked in those moments.
And really, it is so worth it to take the time to help your children create something that they can feel proud of, even if the “perfect” (two year old free) opportunity never presents itself.
Everyone was so excited to move to the final step, adding a “cherry” to the top of the cupcake.
Before we knew it, we had a collection of adorable felt treats.
These may not look like anything that my kids will ever actually eat, but that’s what makes these so fun!
The following day, Keats and Gabe sewed some felted eclairs from pieces of felt I had cut out previously, with almost no help from me at all.
Today Larkspur reminded me that she still needs to make one herself, so that is on the agenda.
The morning after our sewing fun, I came downstairs to this sweet scene. I am not sure how my kids were relating their drawings to their little cupcakes, but something about them had inspired a little art session.
(these crayons are still going strong!)
I am quite positive that these little handmade treats are getting far more attention than they would have had I simply made them myself and presented them to my kids. They are proud of their creations (and so am I!)