When a child starts to sew it is not long before they get tired of sewing up and down or making little squares of fabric with hemmed edges. What is needed is a REAL project that will look great, give a sense of achievement and be useful to him or her.
There are some terrific ideas for projects just within your own household. For instance, is someone in the household looking for a way to store something eg a place to keep magazines tidy, are the table mats looking old or faded, does Dad need a new apron for barbecuing and so on. The options are countless and it depends only on the child's interests and willingness.
Assuming your child has a sewing machine of their own or one they can use, here is an interesting project for them to get started. Other projects are suggested at the end of this article – care has been taken to suggest only projects that are non-expensive in terms of materials needed or can use recycled items such as old cardigan or other pieces of clothing or household items.
Project – Patchwork Bag
- The patchwork bag project involves creating a padded, patchwork bag with a wide shoulder strap and a closure using a chunky zip or toggle buttons. Its purpose is for general storage of soft items such as fabric, wool, winter socks etc. Because of the strap it can be stored by hanging it up on a study hook. The ideal size is around 20 inches by 20 inches, but size is variable according to needs.
- In short, the bag is made by creating a patchwork panel of 20 inches by 40 inches using scrap pieces of fabric into 4.5 inch squares – once the square is used, the finished square will be 4 inches each side as the 0.5 inch will be used for 0.25 inch seams all round. One of the best ways to create the correct size patch is to make a template by carefully measuring a 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches on to sturdy cardboard. This is then cut out and placed on the fabric for cutting. It is probably best to draw around the template using a tailors chalk pencil. The cutting out is then very simple and the chalk marks will easily rub out. You will need a total of 50 patches in a variety of fabric designs.
- For this bag you will need to stitch 10 patches into a line. Your design can be totally random or you could lay out the patches on a table or the floor to create a more pleasant design. Repeat the previous step so you end up with 5 lines of patches. At this point, you are strongly advised to press your lines with a steam iron pressing the joining seams open. The long edges should be turned in 0.25 inches and press down with the iron – this makes it easier to sew them together.
- Pin the lines together, long side to long side and sew them in place. Again, press the patch panel with the iron pressing the long seams open apart from those at the external edges. The backing panel should be 20.5 inches wide and 46 inches long – this allows for the 0.25 seam down the sides of the bag and an overlap at the top of the bag so it is easier to make a closure for the bag. The wadding should be the same size as the patchwork panel. Here comes the tricky part!
- Sandwich the layer so that the backing is on the bottom, the wadding in the middle and the patch panel on top. The right side of the fabric should show for both the panel and the backing – be on the outside. Be very careful about placing this correctly as there should be an overlap at each of the short ends of the backing fabric. Pin through all layers around the edges of the panel and through the seams of the patchwork lines; best to do the long seams first. Machine stitch down the length of each seam making sure you do bunch the other layers up. You will be fine so long as you are careful with the pinning and take a slow, steady pace with your machine. When you finish the long seams, do the same with the short seams.
- OK, so now you have one item that consist of a backing fabric, a patchwork panel and some wadding in between. Turning the full panel so the patchwork is inside, fold over so that the top edges meet and pin down the sides to make up the body of the bag. Sew these in place, making sure you have included all layers. If you have the facility, either overlock or zigzag the seams to make them stronger and neater.
- Turn the bag out the right way. The backing fabric needs to be folded around the bag so that the edges are in line with the patch panel. Giving a 0.25 inch seam allowance, pin the edges down through all the layers and then sew in place. Nearly there!
- Create a strap by cutting out a strip of fabric about 3 feet long and 6 inches wide plus a strip of iron-on interfacing 3 feet by 3 inches long. Iron the interfacing on to one edge of the fabric (wrong side) and then fold it in two lengthways; press, pin and stitch. Turn the strap the right way round and press it again. Turn the short ends in on themselves about half an inch and pin. The ends of the strap needs to be sewn on to the bag but it has to be very strong. Pin carefully at the seams of the bag and sew a square around the edge of the strap (through all layers) and then a diagonal each way – X. This is that each strap end is attached securely.
- Finally, you need a closure for the bag. A chunky open end zip is a good choice if you have the experience but 3 or 4 buttons will do as well. Choose toggle or chunky buttons with a long shank and sew thin strips of fabric to loop and attach to the top of the bag as button holes.
Your bag is now ready to use and you can progress on to the next interesting project – good luck!
More Projects To Consider
Laundry bags, Kimono style dressing gown, Aprons, Wall hangings, Advent calendars, Dog beds and more.
Source by Jan GC Barker