Friday, April 5, 2013

Sewing for Kids: Doll Pillow Tutorial

This was a guest post I did a few weeks ago on The Sewing Rabbit (the former "Me Sew Crazy" blog), as part of the K.I.D.S. series.
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I want to thank Jessica for inviting me to participate in this wonderful series. The word "KIDS" really struck a chord with me. There is nothing sweeter than being able to involve our kids in the things we do. Most of the time, it requires extra patience, but to me, that's what being a mother is all about. So I decided that not only would I let my 7 year old daughter design something, but I would also teach her how to create it all on her own. 

When I told her about this project, and invited her to participate with me, she began jumping up and down. She was so excited to "be on my blog," and was so ready to learn. I asked her what she wanted to make, and more than anything, she wanted bedding for her American doll. For this project, we settled on a pillow. (A quilt will soon be in the works)! We began our design process with a trip to the fabric store first. She fell in love with 2 polka dot fabrics and a button. When we got home, I asked her to draw a picture of a pillow, incorporating the 2 fabrics. She did great! I later suggested we add some lace, and she says that "It turned out better than she imagined it."

Inspiration picture:

 Final project:
  


Teaching my daughter how to sew a straight line was honestly a shining moment for me. I cannot even describe the joy she felt after accomplishing this task! You can see the joy from her younger brother and sister too. This was priceless. It also helped me realize that 7 years old is the perfect age to begin sewing lessons! I was a middle school sewing teacher for one year, so I have a lot of ideas and techniques in my head on how and what to teach. I am so glad I've awakened my inner-teacher, and I cannot wait to teach my kids even more.
When I say that she sewed this pillow, I really mean it! The only steps that I did without her were cutting the fabric and sewing on the button. She did nearly everything else on her own, or with some help. 

We all know that when sewing, mistakes happen. There was never a better time for a mother to show love and patience to a daughter than when explaining that its okay when sewing mistakes happen. While rather pesky to undo, they can be fixed. I almost skipped over this important teaching moment with my daughter, but thankfully I recognized its value before it was too late.

 Although a small pillow is a simple project, we made a tutorial anyway. Perhaps you have a little one who is ready to learn to sew? With all my heart, I encourage you to take the time and help them learn.

Supplies:
-fabric (we used scraps)
-interfacing
-lace
-button
-needle and thread
-batting
-iron

Directions:
*We used 1/4" seams.

1. Cut pieces of fabric to desired pillow size. We made this pillow for an 18" doll, and I just eyeball the fabric size as I cut it out. The measurements turned out to be:
teal pillow top: 8.5 x 5.75 inches
pink strips: 8.5x1.5 inches
lace: 8.5 inches

2. You'll have a front piece and a back piece. For the front, sandwich the lace between the layers of fabric, with the raw edges lining up at the edge. Pin. Repeat with layers for the back. Sew down all the edges.

 3. Press seams outward.
(You can see the lace isn't perfectly even, but that is the beauty of sewing a first project)!

4. Topstitch next to the lace to give it a clean look. Then add a bit of interfacing to the back of the front pillow piece, and hand sew the button. Don't add a shank, because you want it to be flush with the fabric.

5. Trim the threads and square off the edges. (My daughter loved this part)!

6. With right sides together, pin the 2 pieces together. Leave an opening about 4 inches big.

 7. Clip your corners. Then through the opening, turn right side out. Press flat.

 8. Handsew a running stitch to close it up! My daughter loved helping me pull the needle.

Done! Give her extra praise and take some fun pictures. She will probably cherish this pillow forever, and so will I!

3 comments:

  1. That's awesome! Tell her she did a great job. I can't remember my first sewing project but I'm pretty sure it didn't look that good ;)

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  2. really amazing! I'd love to be a fly on the wall some time when you are teaching your young ones to sew-- I'm sure I could learn so much from you, even just how to explain things simply!

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  3. That is adorable...the whole process! I'm looking forward to your doll quilt tutorial. I have a granddaughter turning 3 in May and it has been my plan to make her a quilt for her doll! Thank you for sharing :)

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♥Rach H