Machine Sewing with a Preschooler

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The other day my 3-year-old asked if we could “look on the computer for an art activity” which I suppose says a lot about what computer time looks like in my house!

So I opened up one of my favorite blogs, The Artful Parent, and saw that our friend Jean was sharing simple pyramid-shaped beanbags. N was intrigued and immediately said that she wanted to make some beanbags too. In my mind, child-directed projects are often the most successful, so I took the opportunity to pull out the sewing machine and began to teach my daughter how to sew.

I invited N to choose the fabric from my stash, and then she cozied up with some remnants and my gigantic scissors while I cut the pattern.

To begin our sewing lesson, I propped the foot pedal up on a couple of thick art books (see, they ARE good for something!) and explained how it worked.

She helped me fill the bobbin with red thread and got the hang of the pressure surprisingly quick. Good practice! She stepped aside to watch me sew a few beanbags together, and then wanted her own turn to sew her remnants together.

I helped her sew three sides together, flip it inside out with a pencil, and she was BEAMING when she discovered that she had sewn a “pencil cover!” Of course!

And these are my completed bean bags. They were a snap to make and have brought so much joy to my one year old. But more on that tomorrow!

If your child isn’t yet ready for machine sewing, check out how I started my daughter off with hand sewing. 

This post shared with It’s Playtime

 

 

Fabric Stamping and Painting

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Despite our vast apron collection, one of my daughter’s favorite dresses was splattered with blue paint stains. I tried to casually brush it off (no pun intended), but she was keenly aware of those stains and wouldn’t wear it. So we came up with a plan to cover the little blue dots with fabric paint, and it worked! I lined the dress with a piece of foam core (cardboard would also work), and we were ready to go.

To make the paint, I added Textile Medium to acrylic paint — the textile medium thins the paint so that’s it adheres nicely to the fabric. N mixed it up and applied it to a large foam stamp, and then pressed it on the dress. Not on the blue paint stain exactly, but there’s time for that.

The fabric medium is awesome because it can be added to any acrylic paint and makes painting on fabric much more economical than buying individual bottles or tubes of fabric paint.

The large scale of these foam stamps worked well with the goopy paint.

At some point, N decided that sidestepping the stamps and going straight for painting on fabric was the way to go. Hello, Project Runway moment! Do you think Michael Kors would say it looks like unicorn crashed into a Kindergarten cotton candy factory? I was actually surprised that she left a fair amount of the dress unpainted. And, she painted over those blue stains…not that it really mattered at this point!

My daughter was so proud of her mad fabric painting skills that she requested MORE CLOTHES. But not hers…MINE. I should have seen this coming. I found a pair of yoga pants that needed some embellishment.

After it dried and took a spin in the washing machine, the new dress was good to wear. I was taken by how proud she was of it when she wore it to school later that week. If you want to empower your children, “making” their own clothes could be a good way to go. Or, with Halloween right around the corner, maybe painting on clothes could be incorporated into your costume-making plans.

Have you ever painted clothes with your kids? What did you do?