Sew a Softie: Santa Face Pillow Tutorial

I'm super excited to be part of the Sew a Softie for the Festive Season tutorials this year!  There are so many favorite bloggers and crafters on the list, so you know it's going be a fun and festive holiday season of making. Surely there will be something for every young sewer on your list.  My project is this super cute Santa Face Pillow.

The Santa Face Pillow has been a favorite of mine for a few years. I had so much fun designing it and making it with kids. The hat comes on and off and the beard is made with batting! The best part is that you can design the face to look just  how you want. While this is the first time I've published the tutorial, dozens of these guys have been stitched up by kids, so you know that the project is kid-tested and approved!

When you download the tutorial from Google Docs, you'll get step-by-step directions written in simple language for kids to follow, along with a materials list. Remember, your Santa face doesn't have to look just like mine. Have fun and make it your own! 

Click to download Santa Face Tutorial

5 Halloween Projects Kids Love

Halloween is just the best for sewing and kid-crafting! I think it brings out the DIY spirit in all of us.  Here are some of my favorite kid-made Halloween projects.  These projects are simple and fun and perfect for parties and getting into the spooky spirit!

Happy Halloween! 

Sew a Softie Pop Up

In honor of Sew a Softie Month, we took our Pineapple Softie project on the road and hosted a little sewing pop up at our school's camp.  Every day, they have an hour lunch break to eat, socialize, and play.  The campers were so excited when Frank and I showed up with a big bag full of sewing supplies!  They immediately gathered around the table and began to make the most creative Pineapple Softies ever!

Why pineapples?  This year, the camp's theme is pineapples, which represents summer, but also is a welcoming symbol.  Pineapples are everywhere at camp.  Well, I love a good theme, so I went all out with it!

The set-up with simple.  I precut the yellow felt into chunks a little larger than the pineapple pattern and cut the green felt to size.  I made about 10 pineapple patterns for tracing.  I also pre-threaded about 20 needles and gathered up a basket of scissors and chalk.  Nearby, I put a stuffing station and had a hot glue gun for adding googly eyes. We also had Sharpies for decorating.  After laying it all out on the table, the kids got to work!

While many campers have sewn with me before, we had several first-timers. Never fear, Frank, Sew a Softie Kid Ambassador, was on hand to help out and offer advice (as well as lots of jokes).  

Once again, the kids' creativity was amazing!  I love all the silly Pineapple Softie personalities they came up with!

Happy Sew a Softie Month!  Try taking your sewing project on the road and sharing the love of sewing with kids.

Pineapple Softie

Yay!  Today is Sewing School's day to share a tutorial for Sew a Softie Month.  We decided to make a pineapple softie.  This little guy is cute, fun, and fast to stitch up!  While we're sharing it here, we'll also be making them with kids from our school's camp this afternoon.

As an official Sew a Softie Kid Ambassador, Frank wanted to make a video tutorial.  (Full disclosure - this was my first video to make, so it's kinda rough. BUT, we had fun making it, so look for more video tutorials in the future.)

Pineapple Stuffie pattern - print the picture on a full sheet to get the right size, or create your own.

Happy Sew a Softie Month!  If you make a pineapple softie or any other Sew a Softie projects, please share and tag #sewasoftie.

Sew a Softie in July!

Yay!  Sew a Softie Month is happening again during the month of July. This awesome idea started by Coloured Buttons is a world-wide effort to share the love of sewing with kids everywhere and get them sewing!  There are even Kid Ambassadors!  

This year, Sewing School will be one of several blogs and makers stitching with kids and sharing tutorials for projects.  Here is the list of participants.  I can't wait to see what everyone makes!

I'll be back on July 10 with a fun tutorial with my son Frank, one of the official Kid Ambassadors. Until then, you can follow along by liking Coloured Buttons on FaceBook

Happy Sew a Sofie month!

Pineapple Pouch

We started Sewing School Camp off with a fun Pineapple Pouch perfect for summer.  These 30 kids ages 5-11 had a great time sewing up theirs and we thought you might like to make one too.

The inspiration for the project came from the Draw It Up Bag in Sewing School.  It's a simple drawstring bag perfect for young sewers.  As with any Sewing School project, there are loads of variations you can make, so use this tutorial as a guide and have fun making it yours!

Trace a standard piece of paper (8-1/2 x 11 inches) on yellow fabric 2 times.  Cut out the fabric pieces and put the together so that the good sides are facing out.

Now, measure down on 1 side 1 inch. This is where you will start sewing so you can make a casing for the drawstring.

Start sewing at the 1 inch mark.  Sew around 3 sides of the pouch.  You can use a running or a whip stitch.

Fold down the top 1 inch where you began sewing to make a casing, a little pocket where the drawstring goes.

Wrap a 4 inch wide strip of green felt around the top of the pouch.  Match up the bottom of the felt to the bottom of the fold. Pin it onto the fold and sew around the bottom with a running stitch. Be careful not to sew through both sides of the pouch.  Tip:  At camp, first-time sewers sewed around the casing first and then hot glued the green felt onto the casing.

Measure a piece of yarn or ribbon 3 times the width of the pouch. Using a safety pin, thread the string through the casing.  Tip: At camp, my daughter Phoebe discovered that plastic needles worked perfectly for this small bag!

You're almost done! Turn the bag inside out.  Cut out pineapple top leaves, careful not to cut the yellow fabric.

Turn the bag right-side out and fill with summer essentials!

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!