Dreamer Fabric Blog Party

I am over the moon to be included in Carrie Bloomston's new Dreamer Fabric Blog Party! Her new collection is so beautiful and is instantly inspiring.

Dreamer speaks to kids with its playfulness and warm colors. When the package of fabric arrived, my daughter Phoebe immediately began to play with it and quickly made a beautiful fabric journal for a close friend.

The color palette reminded us of the amazing sunsets we saw during our summer vacation to Dauphin Island. Playing on a quilt I designed for the upcoming Sewing School Quilts and tested out in Sewing Camp this summer, Phoebe and I worked together to showcase the beautiful colors of the sun setting on the sea.

The top is finished as a simple flip and turn quilt, which is perfect for beginning quilters.  The rectangular patchwork allows young quilters to play with color and design. There is no right or wrong.

Hand-quilted with long running stitches, the colors of the sunset really pop and the give the quilt amazing texture.

Find out more about DREAMER, enter the giveaway, and find inspiration with the blog party at Carrie's site. 

Make your own Sunset Quilt

Materials Needed: A variety of fabrics from the Dreamer collection (This would be a perfect project for a fat quarter bundle), 1 yard backing fabric, batting, hand sewing needle and threads in various colors of the sunset

Cut the fabric: All blocks are 7 inches wide and have 7 different lengths.  Make a chart like the one below to help keep track of what fabrics you have cut. You will create 5 columns of 4 blocks each.

14 inches long
11 inches long
9 inches long
7 inches long
5 inches long
dark sky

purples and pinks

oranges and yellows

light blue

Make the Quilt Top: Lay out the blocks. This part takes some time, but have fun with the color combinations and possibilities. We played around with the design for some time and ended up with a big yellow sun in the middle.

Sew the blocks in each column together. Then, sew the columns together. The bottom of the quilt may not be even. That's OK, just even it up.

Follow these directions for a simple flip and turn quilt. You can also finish it with a traditional binding.

Hand-quilt with large running stitches across the columns mimicking the colors of the sunset.

Find a perfect spot for watching the sunset and dream!

Sew a Softie Day: Pocket Rockstar

Hello hello!  We are thrilled to be a part of Sew a Softie Day!

Today, we are taking sewing to the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. We'll be making Pocket Rockstars as part of their Community Day.  If you're in Memphis, please come by and sew with us!

Inspired by the awesome current exhibitions by Hassan Hajjaj:  My Rock Stars and the new Rotunda Project, we came up with the idea of a Pocket Rockstar.

It's a little superstar of your very own!

How to make your own Pocket Rockstar:

*muslin about the size of a sheet of paper
*cool fabric scraps about the size of a sheet of paper
*sewing materials (thread, needle, scissors, sewing machine, ruler)
*crayons or fabric markers

Note - We like to work in numbers, so this tutorial makes several dolls depending on the length of your fabric.  You can also make one doll at a time by cutting the fabric into 4-inch wide lengths.

1.  Cut muslin into 3-1/2 inch wide strips.

2.  Cut front fabric into 6 inch wide strips.  (Kids can just eyeball this part if they want)

3.  Using a zig zag stitch, machine sew the strips together, matching the edges.  If you don't have a sewing machine, you can handsew them together; however, you should only make one doll at a time.

4. Cut the sewn strips into dolls about 4 inches apart.

5. Decorate the doll face with crayons or fabric markers.  What will your rockstar look like?!

6.  Trace the doll onto your backing fabric and cut it out.

7.  Put the sides together with the good sides facing out.  Sew all around the rockstar leaving a hole for stuffing.  We left the bottom open.

8.  Stuff the rockstar and sew the hole closed.

Time to Rock-n-Roll!

Make some more and form a band!

Sew a Softie Day is Coming!

I am so proud to be part of an amazing group of bloggers, sewists, and crafty folks who are joining Trixi Symonds of Coloured Buttons for Sew a Softie Day!

What is Sew a Softie Day you ask?  Well, it's a day to celebrate sewing with children of all ages across the globe.  For new sewists, Stuffies are the perfect way to start.  My number one project to sew with kids is the Stuffie - a self-drawn picture you cut out, sew up, stuff, and hug.

Sewing School will join in the fun on July 8.  We are teaming up with the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art to create a whimsical stuffie inspired by the museum's exhibitions.

And here’s the official list of awesome simple to sew softie tutorials:
July 1
July 2
Maggy Woodley
July 3
July 4
July 5
July 6
Sandi Sawa Hazlewood
July 7
July 8
Stephanie Woodson
July 9
July 10
July 11
July 12
July 13
July 14
July 15
July 16
Angie Wilson

Toddler Takeover!

I'm super excited to be part of the Toddler Takeover at the Woodruff Art Center in Atlanta, GA this weekend (June 4-5)!  As part of their Eric Carle exhibit and the premiere of the play Pancakes Pancakes, the theme is all things Eric Carle.
 I'll be leading Sew Me a Story workshops based on three different Eric Carle books.  The festival is just right for kids ages 1-5 and is sure to be fun!
I can't wait to sew with a new batch of little sewers!  If you have any peeps in the Atlanta area, please pass the word.  I'll be stitching on Saturday and Sunday.

Rainbow Fish

 One of my favorite children's books is Rainbow Fish.  Such a sweet story of giving and friendship.  A perfect message for little sewers.  This week during Sew Me a Story, we stitched up our own little rainbow fish.
 The project is quite simple and uses preschool friendly materials such as plastic canvas, thin craft foam (purchased from Dollar Tree), 1 silver foam sheet, tapestry needles (size 18), and craft thread.  Besides the foam, I purchased all the materials at my local craft store.
 The kids loved cutting out the fish scales!  They went to town cutting up the foam sheets.
Cut out a basic fish shape from the plastic canvas.  Starting at the tail end, begin to sew on the fish scales.  Each rainbow fish got 1 shiny scale, just like the book.
 After weeks of using plastic needles, the kids felt so grown up sewing with "real" needles.  Tapestry needles, size 18 are just right for small hands and easily sew through the thin craft foam.  The silver foam was much thicker, so I punched holes in the shiny scales.
Once finished, a googly eye was hot glued in place and a chenille strip began a perfect hanger.  I know the kids will enjoy hanging their rainbow fish on a doorknob or in their rooms.

Each one was unique, just like the little maker.

Sewn Sunflowers

 Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers! They bring such joy and a promise of summer.

For our preschool "Sew Me a Story" series, we decided to stitch up sunflowers that will last all season long.   We read the wonderful Camille and the Sunflowers  to gain inspiration and get us started.  While we love this book about Vincent vanGogh, there are so many wonderful sunflower books out there like To Be Like the Sun and The Tiny Seed.

 The first step is sew the middle. Cut 2 pieces of burlap using a CD as the template.  You can certainly make the flowers larger if you like.  
Sew all around leaving a hole for stuffing.  Scrunched up tissue paper makes great stuffing for these little sunflowers.  After stuffing the circle, stitch up the hole.
Now it's time to add petals!  We used craft foam for the petals since we sewed with plastic needles, but older kids could use felt.
 Each flower needs about 5 petals.  The kids loved choosing their petals.
Every sunflower needs sunflower seeds!  We let the kids cut out seeds from black felt and use glue stick to attach them to their flower.
 For the stem, we hot glued a bamboo skewer into the flower.  This way, they can easily be stuck into a pot.
 When kids finished, they had fun using oil pastels to create sunflower masterpieces.  With preschoolers, it's always important to have an "I'm finished" activity to keep them engaged.
Love this little field of sunflowers!

Little Aprons

 We started off our new preschool "Sew Me a Story" series by making these cute aprons with pockets.
Our inspiration was Eric Carle's My Apron.  I found this gem in the public library and was immediately inspired to sew an apron.  After reading the book, we discussed ways that they might use an apron.  Cooking?  Gardening?   Building?
I prepped the burlap aprons for these 3-5 year olds by machine sewing on about 18 inches of ribbon on each side.  I also cut out pockets in various sizes and colors of burlap.  They loved choosing the perfect pocket to sew onto their apron!
 Using plastic needles and lacing strings, the kids carefully stitched on the pockets.
 I was surprised by how many kids just took off sewing!
 After stitching on their pockets, the kids drew paper objects to put into their apron.  There were lots of flowers and tools and even this dinosaur!
We enlisted several fourth graders to help us.  They were so sweet and it was great to see many of the kids we sewed with at this age, now teach sewing!
Everyone was so proud of their aprons and were excited to wear them home!

Sewing School 2 in French!

Bonjour!  Welcome to L'école de couture aka Sewing School 2.  We are pleased to announce a French version of the book published by Eyrolles.  How fun to think of little French sewers learning with Sewing School!

My daughter was thrilled to see her thought bubble in French!  "I didn't know I could think in French!"

The book stays true to the original including the binding and full-sized patterns.  Of course, all of the measurements are in metric units.

I was thinking about how English speaking children who want to learn French would benefit from L'école de couture.  The simple text and step-by-step directions are perfect for practicing a new language while crafting!

To find out more, visit the L'ecole de couture site.  Click on the "extraits" tab for page samples.  It's also fun to follow Eyrolles on FaceBook and Instagram.  C'est trés bon!

Sewing at the Garden

 This week, I had the opportunity to sew with the kids at the Carpenter Art Garden here in Memphis.  What a wonderful organization that really connects kids to art, nature, gardening, and culture.  I decided to make a felt version of the Just Right Pouch from Sewing School.
 I precut the fabric and threaded a bunch of needles so that the kids could sit down and begin to sew!  If you are interested in taking a sewing project to a group like this, my advice it to be VERY prepared.  Have everything ready to go so that you can spend time helping the kids sew, not getting materials ready.  Also, a simple, yet practical project like the pouch appeals to everyone.  
The scene at the Art Garden.  There were 6 craft tables going on, bikes being repaired, snacks passed out, and tutoring going on while I was there.  My two children (ages 8 & 11) helped out and I also recruited a teenage volunteer to help with the sewing.
The kids were excited to sew!  We had many first-time sewers join in, but many were experienced and so happy to make something.
 Many kids talked about learning to sew from their grandmothers and mothers.   
This young man sat by me all afternoon making pouch after pouch.  His mother taught him how to sew, and he was busy making pouches for the entire family!  I hope to visit the Carpenter Art Garden again and keep them sewing.