Yesterday afternoon I met with my six sewing kids, who are part of the 4-H program on base. They range in age from 9-11 years old, and have a varying amount of experience. Thus far we have tried out some hand stitches and learned about the sewing machine. Last week we started our first construction project, a nine-patch pillow, and yesterday we almost finished the sewing part.
With only an hour, it is important to be VERY efficient, so I go out ahead of time and prep the machines. When everyone arrives we do the 4-H pledge…I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world. Maybe there are a few 4-H alums out there?
I had pre-cut 4 1/2 squares for the pillows out of left over patriotic fabric from last summer’s Quilt of Valor project with a different group of military youth, so it was only a matter of selecting and laying out before we could begin to sew. We have four working machines, so once we talked about driving, and speed they were ready to go. To help them with their steering, I used masking tape on every machine. They could then line things up, and do each seam. Free two weeks everyone is close to completing their pillow. Next week we will begin pajama pants.
I like using the nine-patch as a first sewing project, because you can sew very short seams and don’t have to back stitch until you are more comfortable. Even very young sewists seem to be able to keep things fairly well aligned for the 4 1/2 inch seams in the first step. When we move to the horizontal strips, they are used managing their speed, and can concentrate on their steering.
What projects have you utilized to help someone learn to sew? I’d love to gather more ideas, as I think this will not be the first group!