{Teaching Kids to Sew- Part 1}

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One of the questions I get frequently when I talk about sewing lessons, is how to teach children to sew. Though my kids don’t remember a time when I wasn’t strapped to a sewing machine all day long, I’ve really only been sewing for around five years – sort of.

The reality is that long before I re-discovered sewing my great-grandmother and great- grandfather placed my first needle and thread in my hands at just five years old. I have fond memories of sitting by the gas furnace in my Granny’s tiny living room and hand sewing on scraps of un-bleached domestic while their sewing machines hummed in the kitchen.

For years, hand sewing was the extent of my skills until I taught myself to sew on a machine. But there is still something extremely cathartic about pulling a needle and thread through a piece of fabric by hand. So when my kids began asking me to teach them I was thrilled! My six-year-old has been sewing by hand for a while, but I was eager to find a way to introduce this skill to my four-year-old.

I ran across these awesome printables and instantly tucked them away into my Pinterest files. They are so cute, and my kids absolutely loved them! I used the cowboy prints for my four year old as they were a little simpler.

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Click here to print your own 

If you’re not sure your little one is ready for a real needle, you can always begin with a plastic crochet needle.

I used a small pin to pre-poke the holes so that his needle would glide through easier. And I opted for embroidery floss instead of thread because it doesn’t tangle as easily.

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He picked it up fast! I even caught him sewing off and on through the day!

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Since my six-year-old has been sewing for a while, I opted for printables that were a little more advanced. I love how these let them practice their stitch length.

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Click here to print your own.

I used the same technique of pre-poking the holes to make it a little easier.

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She loves seeing her progress, and it’s a great quiet time activity, not to mention the hand-eye coordination it’s teaching!

Now that they have mastered the basics of hand sewing, they insisted I buy them their own sewing machine- and I just couldn’t resist.

Next week I’ll share more about teaching kids on a sewing machine and share a few beginner projects for you to try at home!

#SewBabySew!

{15 Minute Outdoor Pillows!}

Pillow Make-over

It’s finally warming up here in Northern Virginia and I’m starting to get the itch to be on my deck and light up the grill. We spent all last weekend scrubbing and cleaning and pulling out the patio furniture, and I have to say I have been outside working nearly everyday since enjoying the green(er) grass and the fresh air.

A few months back I purchased these new navy blue cushions from Target for our table and chairs and I absolutely love them. However, once I put them on I realized just how faded and dirty my throw pillows really were. I didn’t want to spend $15-$30 a piece on new pillows so I grabbed some outdoor fabric and whipped these covers up in an hour total.

I adore the way they turned out, and they were super simple to make! Check out the tutorial below and be sure to post your pictures to facebook or instagram if you give it a try! SONY DSC

What you’ll need:

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1-2 yards of fabric depending on pillow size (I used two different patterns)

Outdoor pillow forms or old outdoor pillows

Scissors

Pins/Clips

Zippers (the length of your pillows)

Sewing Machine

Begin by measuring your pillows and adding an inch to your fabric. Then cut two panels for each pillow.

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For example, my pillows measured 16×16 so I measured and cut my fabric panels to be 17×17. This allows for a 1/2 inch seam allowance on each side.

Press off your fabric gently if necessary. Remember outdoor fabric is generally not meant to be ironed so use a press cloth if need be.

Lay your first panel right side up. Lay your zipper face down (zipper teeth facing the right side of your fabric) at the top edge and pin or clip into place.

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With your zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew a straight line down the zipper, about a 1/4 inch from the edge. Be careful not to sew too close to the teeth or else your zipper won’t open.

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Once you’ve sewn down the side or your zipper, open your panel back to that the right side of your fabric is facing up. Gently press down the seam where you sewed in the zipper.

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With your panel still open, align the second panel right side down on top of your zipper edge. Pin in place and sew a straight line down the size of your zipper just like you did for the first panel.

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Open both panels back and iron down your seams.

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Open your zipper partially and align your panels on top of each other, right sides together. Pin in place. {Make sure your zipper is partially open or else you wont be able to turn your pillow right side out!}

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Beginning at the top, sew around three sides of your pillow case. Go slow over your zipper and it’s ok to sew over your zipper teeth!

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Once you’ve sewn around three sides, clip the corners and trim any excess seam allowance.

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Turn right side out and press.

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Voila!

The easiest pillow case you’ll ever make! And as a bonus, they can easily be taken off and washed when they get dirty.

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