Homeschooler Sews

Five year old Laurel declares that she LOVES sewing! Since we began last week, she can hardly wait for reading and math to be finished so she can sew. Initially, I insisted that the entire day’s academic work be completed before we brought out the  machine.

But she was so antsy that we were not accomplishing as much as we had before she was introduced to her new best friend, her favorite little Brother.    So now, after the first two subjects of the day,  she gets to sew and then the remaining academic assignments are tackled without complaint.

Her first project is a set of polar fleece puppets for a show her mother is arranging.   I have embroidered the faces and hands and Laurel is doing the construction of three pigs and a  farmer who make up the cast.   The audience will be a small group of homeschoolers. The story, Pigs in a Rig from Laurel’s first grade reader, is entertaining and brief enough for the 4-6 year old audience.

The value estimate runs something like this:

  • time to edit designs and embroider 4 two-sided puppets (by Nana)—4 hours
  • time spent sewing 4 puppets (by Laurel)—40 minutes
  • time spent constructing props and puppet theater as well as  supervising show rehearsal (by Laurel’s mother) –3-4 hours
  • time for puppet show, start to finish–4 minutes
  • cost of live, off-Broadway theatrical experience and budding enthusiasm for sewing–PRICELESS

The puppets are from Embroidery Library, one of my favorite sites.     A Puppets Design Pack, Child Size has 8 designs,  all with hands or paws or hooves, including  a girl, girl in red scarf who can pass for Little Red Riding Hood, boy, cat, dog, pig, wolf, and a wolf in grandma clothes. To match the characters in the story, I used BuzzEdit to add a bow tie, a hair bow and a pair of glasses to the pigs.  For the farmer, not yet stitched,  I added a hat and appliquéd clothing.

For many years, when my daughter Rebecca was little, I taught children’s sewing classes. If only we had had machines like the Brother 300S that is now Laurel’s!  Success is almost guaranteed.  The most recent model of that mini machine is  Brother’s  SE350, priced at about $400. It is a sewing/embroidery combo machine with a 4×4″ embroidery field.

The feature that is most useful right now for Laurel is the speed control which allows her to stitch at the rate of a snail. Another nice feature for a junior sewist is the warning beep which alerts the operator that the presser foot is not down.  It will not allow sewing to begin until this oversight is corrected.  The machine is a tiny little thing, weighing about 11 pounds, and is so proportional for a youngster.

I think every woman who sews wants her daughters and granddaughters to share her love of sewing.  I think Laurel is off to a good start.



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