Every time I sit down to sew, my daughter wanders into the room and asks ever so sweetly, "Mommy? Whatcha doin'?" Being the novice that I am, I require complete and utter silence when my foot is on the pedal. I can pin, cut, press and measure while she jabbers away but once I'm sitting in front of my machine I cannot be disturbed. I get tense. I hunch my shoulders. I think my eye starts twitching. Inevitably, the seam is crooked and I have to fetch Ruby the Seam Ripper while I lecture K about how Mommy needs her to go find something to do. Sometimes she protests, insists she can watch "very quietly" from a designated spot on the floor but usually, she puts her thumb in her mouth, balls up her filthy pink blanket called Lovey, and slowly, sadly, shuffles out of the room. I turn back to my machine but am feeling like such a crappy mother for sending my inquisitive child out of the room that my seams continue to stray and I usually end up calling it a day not long after I start.
Sewing has quickly become an "after the kids are asleep" activity. I hate that. And I hate that I dismiss her when K just wants to help. She wants to be like me. What's wrong with that? I've tried keeping her busy with sorting scraps or holding a measuring tape but I think she suspects that the tasks are just that....busy work. She often declares that she has completed her job and is now ready to sew. I want to sew like you Mommy, she says. But I shake my head and try to think of some other thing to engage her with. Her four year old fingers are NOT ready for a sewing machine and I am not nearly competent enough to teach her even if they were.
On a recent trip to the fabric store (that she loves as much as I do) I came across a little learn-to-sew craft kit. It contained two projects; a heart pillow and a bear pillow. The kit consisted of felt pieces that were pre-punched with guide holes, a blunt plastic needle, yarn, stuffing and all the glittery, sparkly embellishments you would need to jazz up the creations once they had been pieced together. After seeing the actual contents of the kit, the $6 I paid seemed a bit steep but the confidence she gained by finishing completely negated the price.
She started with the heart. I showed her how to thread her needle and we practiced knot tying. We'll be needing lots more practice on that one. I started her with a running stitch that by her own hand, morphed into a wobbly whipstitch. Slowly but surely she managed to get the felt pieces sewn together and stuffed.
And then of course she had to add a little glamour....
And in about half an hour, my baby girl had finished her very first sewing project. All by her sweet self!
I've turned my little girl into sewing monster. She wants more. We still have the bear to complete but now she's asking if she can make herself a new shirt and is raiding the linen closet for pillowcases to make new dresses! Whoa little one. One stitch at time. I don't think I'll buy anymore kits but I may try to make something similar on my own. Felt and yarn are easy enough to come by. My biggest obstacle would be the holes....what would you use to punch tiny round holes? I also found a cute tutorial for printable sewing cards here but I'm not sure how long they would keep her occupied. She wants to create something, not just practice stitching. That is certainly one trait we share....impatience!