They met us at the door of the classroom, armed with only mischievous smiles and a slight, almost unnoticeable twinkle in their eyes. These five and six year olds looked at the two sewing machines, sized them up like a new student on the first day of school and then the questions came thick and fast, "where is the needle?", "what is THAT?", "what makes the wheel go round and round?", "can we sew a hat?" and MAD kids was off!
Finding a project that will keep the interest of this age group over a six week period was not as easy as it sounds but a suggestion from Julie Jefferson, a fellow sewer , stuck in my mind - ironing and then sewing carrier bags! Ironing carrier bags and up-cycling them by sewing them into their own individual art notebook seemed like a great first project . It would show the kids how a plastic bag can have another life simply by using it differently, help them to create a notebook to keep their creative ideas in and most importantly, use a sewing machine to make the notebook distinctly their own.
Working with Nicky Woods-Marshall and myself, the children were shown how a carrier bag is ironed (and we stressed not to do this at home so if you suddenly have your child asking for a handful of Tesco bags, be very nervous!) and once ironed, it becomes a flexible, waterproof sheet that you can sew on to. They took a strip of the newly made material and with help from the adults, used the sewing machines to sew patterns with some of the stitches found on the sewing machine.
Next week is all about the creative process-showing them how to use embellishment to make the cover of the book unique to their own fancy. They have had a good look at what a finished item looks like so we hope that they come back next week fired up and ready to use our bits of material, jars of buttons and bags of beads.
Until next week…