2017 Sewing School Camps

It's time for Sewing School camps held at Grace-St. Luke's Episcopal School Summerfest.  This great camp on the GSL campus in midtown Memphis is open to all students and offers a wide variety of fun camps. There's something for everyone at GSL Summerfest!

There's three fun Sewing School camps this summer!

Fashion Design School
June 12-16, 8am-12pm, rising 3rd-8th grade girls
Calling all fashion designers! This camp will be the launching point for a new Sewing School book all about making and designing your very own clothing and accessories!  We will be photographing a new book during the week of camp.

Sewing School Camp
June 26-30, 8am-12pm, rising 1st - 8th grade boys and girls
This is where it all started! Campers will have fun making a variety of projects from stuffies, embroidery, bags, and costumes.
Sewing School Jr.
July 10-14, 8am-12pm, rising kindergarten boys and girls
Who says you're too young to sew?!  Rising SKers will have fun learning the basics of sewing while making fun projects like stuffies, bags, costumes, and pillows.

Register at Grace-St. Luke's Episcopal School Summerfest.  Questions?  Please ask!

Animal Face Bags

These cute animal face bags are so much fun and easy to make. The kids whipped them out in Sewing Club in an hour.

Since our time was limited, we made our bags about 8-1/2 inches by 8 inches. I cut them on the fold, so the sewists only had to stitch up the sides.  I don't always cut out the fabric first, but I wanted them to focus on the animal face, not cutting out the bag fabric.

Lots of choices with this project.  If you want to sew on the face, do that first.  If you are using hot glue, then sew up the bag first, then add the face. The handles can be whatever length you want.  Crossbody bags are popular with this group.

No patterns for the animal faces, just some ideas to get the kids started.  Stick-up ears work best if made out of felt. Button eyes are fun! Fabric markers are perfect for quick details.

Stuffed Animal Vet Clinic

One of the bonuses of being able to sew is that you can repair stuff.  Sewing is super useful!  Hosting a Stuffed Animal Vet Clinic at your school or community allows young sewers to use their sewing skills to help others while repairing loved stuffies.  I believe it's a much needed community service project!  Little Stuffed Animal Vet Clinics should start popping up all over.  But I digress.....

This month, Sewing Club hosted a Stuffed Animal Vet Clinic for our school.  We collected more than 30 injured stuffies and restored them back to life. The kids were so proud and really took their time with the repairs.  Some repairs required good problem solving skills and even teamwork.

Thinking about hosting your own Vet Clinic?  Here are some tips:
*Get the word out!  Let people know what you're doing a few days in advance.  Kid-made signs and announcements are the best!

*Decorate a collection box.  We placed cardboard animal carriers around the school to collect the stuffies, but decorated cardboard boxes would work too. Limit collection to 1 or 2 days before the event.

*Use tags or tape to ID the stuffies. For ours, we made sure we had the owner's name and classroom teacher so that they could be returned.  Shipping tags from an office supply store work well.

*Gather vet supplies: You'll want to make sure you have plenty of brown, black, and white thread on hand along with a variety of colors. You might also need some stuffing and perhaps some felt to make prosthetics. (yes, you read that right!)

*If time allows, add an extra.  We had the vets right a quick note on the back of the tag and make a fabric bandage or bandanna for the stuffie.

*Return repaired stuffies to their owners right away!

Hope you're inspired to host your own Stuffed Animal Vet Clinic!  Sewing School has more tips for repairing injured animals.

Fairy Dust Teaching Winter Conference

I'm excited to be part of the Fairy Dust Teaching Winter Conference!  It's a wonderful on-line conference hosted by the lovely Sally Haughey. The best part about the conference, is that you can watch amazing teachers share their craft in your PJ's and at your own pace!  I'm honored to be among so many talented teachers and presenters.

I'll be sharing "Sew Me a Story." Here, you'll learn how to incorporate sewing into your literacy curriculum and get a TON of ideas for story and project combinations.  The presentation is pre-recorded, so you can watch it at your leisure.

I'll share a few winter-themed tutorials to get you going. This presentation is perfect for teachers and families who want to sew more with kids, but aren't sure exactly where to begin.

Sally and I met this fall at the NAEYC conference and immediately hit it off.  I'm so honored to be part of this amazing conference to work with one of my early child hood education heroes!

While the conference begins on February 3, early bird registration is going on now, so don't wait to sign up for the Fairy Dust Teaching Winter Conference!

Snowman for Every Story - a Tutorial

I designed this simple snowman face for a Sew Me a Story event at my school. It turned out so cute and everyone loved it.
The beauty of this project is that it can easily go with any snowman themed story and is open to interpretation-something I always love.

So, gather up your favorite snowman stories, some batting and a few other materials, and get ready to create!

Materials needed:
You can make this project with foam sheets, plastic needles and lacing strings like I did for toddlers, or use felt, craft thread chenille needles if sewing with older kids.
*medium-loft batting (this weight is still easy to sew through and allows the face to keep its shape for hanging)
*foam sheets or felt squares in a variety of colors
*hole punch if using foam
*sewing supplies: plastic needles and lacing string or chenille needles and craft thread
*8-inch plate or circle for pattern

Step 1: Trace the 8-inch plate or circle onto the batting and cut out. You need 1 circle for each snowman face.

Step 2: Cut out fun hats, mouths, noses, and eyes from the foam or felt. If using foam, punch at least 2 holes in each shape.

Step 3: Tie a knot onto the end of your string and begin to sew on the face shapes.

Step 4: You can keep using the same string to sew on the face, just move the string and needle around the back. When you are finished, knot off. Use the extra string to make a hanger on the top of the hat.

Now, all we need is snow....

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.