Few activities delight a sewing Nana more than sewing with a grandchild. Of course, we encourage this interest in all of our grandchildren, but some take to it like the proverbial duck to water.
Six year old Kennedy is one of those ducks. Not only does her mother sew fabulous things for her, but her grandmother, Judy Day, is an extremely accomplished “sewist” who sews almost around the clock for her three grandchildren. Kennedy has reaped the benefits of matriarchal stitchers and observed that it is fun.
This summer, she and her cousin Courtney spent time with their grandparents and loved working in the sewing room. The girls made matching sundresses and were thrilled with the results. ( The proud six-year old cousins will be featured with their sundresses in a later post.)
Recently, Kennedy spent a week with “Mimi” and “Papa” and was more than eager to tackle another project or two.
Careful planning and extensive preparations are critical when sewing with children. Having years of experience teaching sewing classes, Judy knew how to guarantee her little granddaughter’s success.
Her choice of materials and pattern were suitable for Kennedy’s sewing skills. Polar fleece is a forgiving fabric and the jumper pattern was the quick and easy Lucy from Children’s Corner.
For American Girls doll Rebecca Judy drafted a similar style using a bodice pattern from Martha’s Doll Dressing book. It features patterns for dolls 13″ -19″.
Judy had Kennedy first sew each step on her doll jumper and then move on to own full size garment. Sewing the jumpers in parallel, Kennedy was able to practice and grasp the concept while sewing the doll-sized version of her jumper.
The snowflake embroidery designs are from Let it Snow collection from Planet Applique www.planetapplique.com. The designs were, of course, too large for the doll jumper. So Judy, a stickler for detail, redrew them in Babylock’s Masterworks II, created the applique, then filled it with stitches to make the 1 inch filled flakes. Of course, Rebecca’s jumper sported a monogram, just like Kennedy’s. The matching snowflake buttons are the kind of little extra that tickles a little girl.
Time and time again, the bio of a well-known designer lists her grandmother as her first sewing teacher. Time spent teaching children to sew is time well spent, on so many levels. Not only is this quality time for teacher and student, establishing rapport at this tender age keeps the door open for discussion of other important issues facing today’s children.
That sounds really preachy. But the truth is that sewing with children is just plain fun.