Fun Sewing Lessons for Little Girls

My first machine!

My first machine was a Singer Treadle

I have two sisters who showed absolutely no interest in sewing when we were kids.  On the other hand, I was very intrigued with my grandma’s ability to make things by sewing. I spent a lot of time at her house in Georgia during summer vacation. I would stand by her side, aching to sit at the machine and make it hum for me.  My mother also did a lot of sewing when I was growing up. She didn’t let me stand at her side and watch too long, however. Probably because I drove her crazy with questions.  I would watch her from the door of the sewing room in our basement.  When she got up from the machine, i would run and sit at it, pretending to sew.  (I couldn’t have been more than 7 years old.)

I learned to use a sewing needle and thread at an early age (5) because my Grandma had patience to teach me during summer vacation, and I’m sure I would have bugged her to death had she not let me try. I got the hang of it pretty quick from what I recall. I made so many doll clothes that summer, I could hardly fit them in my suitcase when it came time to go home.  A few years went by and my interest in sewing never waned, so my daddy surprised me with my very own sewing machine. It was a gift from an old friend of his who had an antique Singer machine, operated by a foot treadle. That winter, my mom finally bought me my very own sewing kit, equipped with a pair of shears (fabric scissors) and tailors chalk and a pack of needles and some thread and marking paper.  I was so excited to use all of it right away.  Mom and I went to the store to buy a pattern for me to try. I was well on my way to my very first machine sewing experience. I’m sure that I was literally jumping up-and-down.

With this experience fresh in mind, I launch into a new teaching venture for my Summer Art Camp classes.  I have presented 6 different lesson plans for a variety of textile lessons for little girls to have fun with sewing this summer during the Blue Ridge Mountains Art Association’s BRMAA Summer Youth Art Camp

Last week, June 23-26, 2015, was the first week of Summer Art Camp and my Sewing with Felt class was a big hit with five students ranging in ages 6-10.  We made rice filled, pocket size, hand warmers by sewing together felt pieces and filling them with grain.  Simple hand sewing techniques were taught. They learned three basic stitches: straight stitch, back stitch and whip stitch. We had fun making them into penguin and kitty cat shapes.(Penguin project) (Pocket Kitty Image) We also made a handy little pouch in the shape of an owl adding a ribbon strap for carrying (Owl Pouch image from Pinterest, Joanns.com).  Glitter glue was used to decorate the owl pouch when the students finished sewing it up. All girls love glitter! The younger students had to have some help when it came to threading the needle and knotting the thread, but the three older students caught on quickly.  All of them completed their projects gleefully and displayed them for photographing as you can see below.  Two students continued to practice their straight stitches by creating pouch bags using ribbon and felt to carry all of their creations home after Show-and-Tell on Friday.  It was a very fun group to teach.

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Stay tuned for more as the classes fill up and continue through the month of July, 2015.

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Crafting Green at Camp Green Craft

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Crafting Green at Camp Green Craft

Hunting….Gathering….Exploring

(The green craft of weaving a rug on a hula hoop loom.)

The hunt is on….

    Hunting materials for the camp led me down a path of exploration. Routinely, I visit our local thrift stores in Ellijay, Georgia, but for this camp project, I ventured into the unknown.

    My first trip took me to the north, a town in North Carolina called Murphy. There is a thrift shop there packed full of clothing, linens and other household items to explore. I took advantage of the sale on winter clothes and scooped up all the long sleeve t-shirts I could hold. Blues, reds, whites and browns were among the few colors found.

    Next, my venture led me to the town just north of Ellijay in north Georgia, Blue Ridge. I found a thrift store I didn’t know existed: Habitat for Humanity thrift. It did not have clothing, but I found linens and jewelry that will help in my crafting of purses and key rings. Off to the next shop.

   Back in Ellijay, Georgia, I visited the local thrifts and consignments (our town has more than you can count on one hand) scouring the racks for t-shirts in XXLg. I hunted every week of March and found a few each week until I filled a plastic bin with nearly every color there was.

Let the gathering begin…

   Gathering tools for the camp was necessary, but not near as exciting as the hunt for materials. After confirming the number of students who would participate this time, I decided to hold the camp at my home outside on the carport. I have plenty of tables and lots of room and the weather was nice, so it was good plan.

   Camp day arrived and the carport was set. Four tables were in place as work surfaces and the conrete carport was covered with throw rugs so the kids could get down and get comfortable if they wanted to work on a lower surface. Campers arrived with bags of T-shirts, so my stash was only used for filler.

   The best pair of shears were brought by one of the parents who cuts left handed. They were a spring type shear designed to reduce stress on the hand while cutting, a practical ergonomic design. I provided extra pairs of fabric shears for the craft because I anticipated that the scissors brought by kids would most likely not work for cutting the t-shirts to create the jersey loops for weaving. Parents jumped in to assist with this step, and was I ever glad. It turned out to be a challenge for all.

   Exploring the art of weaving through a Hula Hoop loom turned out to be a fun way to craft with kids. Everyone brought a hula hoop of some sort. There were lighted ones, weighted ones, basic Dollar Store ones and lovely large glittery ones. Although the large hoops were a bit cumbersome to work with on the tabletops, the resulting projects were AWESOME!

Expression through art is a beautiful thing to watch.

Camp Green Craft showed me how this is true.

   Every student approached their weaving project from their very own perspective. Each experience was their very own and each rug was so unique. One very shy and usually reserved student gave a wonderful commentary on her rug when it was finished. She enthusiastically described each area of her weaving process with such emotion that I was enthralled by it. She ended by saying: “I love this! I really love doing this! I want to do this again real soon!” I believe every student there thoroughly enjoyed the HUNTING, the GATHERING, and the EXPLORING experienced during this camp, and I cannot wait to do it again, too.

Thank you to all who joined us for the Camp Green Craft on April 20th, 2014.

A SPECIAL SHOUT OUT TO MY PHOTOGRAPHER: THANKS ABBYJO! GREAT JOB!

If you would like to hire Camp Green Craft to come to you for a Craft Party, complete the contact form to get started. Cost is minimal.

My Thrift Store links:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Faith-Hope-and-Charity-Recycle-Store/114637649105

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Community-Thrift-Store/158930490807245

https://www.facebook.com/reach.thrift?fref=ts

Check out our Etsy team blog at http://northgeorgiamade.com/

Becca’s Green Craft Studio is selling crafts / vintage on Etsy….https://www.etsy.com/shop/GreenCraftStudio

Sign up for the Camp Green Craft coming soon near you…http://www.blueridgearts.net/Pages/YouthClasses.aspx

Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association (BRMAA) in Blue Ridge, Georgia 706-632-2144

Summer Youth Art Camp Schedule for classes taught by Becca of Becca’s Green Craft Studio

June 24-27, 10am-12pm Rugs & More (ages 10+)…Crochet Rugs using Jersey Loop yarn made by up-cycling t-shirts.

June 24-27, 1pm-3pm Fabric Flowers Round 1 (ages 9+)…Use discarded t-shirts to create fabric flowers and turn them into accessories for the girls.

July 1-4, 10am-12pm Weaving in the Round (ages 7+)…Weave a coaster, placemat and rug using up-cycled t-shirts and a round loom—embroidery hoops and hula hoops.

July 1-4, 1pm-3pm Fabric Flowers Round 2 (9+)…Learn to sew with a needle and thread and build fabric flower accessories as you go. Melted fabric flowers as time permits.