Sew a Literal Pencil Pouch

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Free pattern and video tutorial

I have a new video tutorial to share with you today! You can learn to sew a pencil-shaped pencil pouch with this beginner friendly tutorial. Watch the video and grab the free pattern just below. Enjoy! :) 

Here is the pattern you'll need. Just right click and save to your computer, then open and print! 

Pencil Pouch video tutorial and free pattern

As always, if you use this tutorial, I'd love to see! Find me on Instagram and share your creation with me: @NikkiSchreiner

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Sewing updates, life updates

This post my contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

I have SO many ideas on my Evernote list of possible blog posts. So many ideas, so little time. To give you a short life update: my husband deployed, we have started our homeschool year, the extracurriculars have started back up after Summer break and I myself am in charge of the yard work and house fixes and other various things that usually the man of the house takes care of. We're doing well, but sheesh, I'm tired at the end of every day! It also took running out of clean kitchen towels to realize it's Casey who stays on top of the laundry situation better than I do, ha! 

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A few months ago, I had the foresight to know that teaching sewing this year was off the table and have decided that it's probably off the table until my homeschooling years are over. I will miss teaching and miss seeing my students regularly, but I am also very relieved, now that we're in the thick of things, that I made this decision! Luckily, I still have my blog and YouTube channel as outlets to create sewing tutorials and teach others. 

Despite the busyness, I still squeeze in time for sewing therapy! Right now I'm working on a quilt for Natalie. The one I made her when she was five (!!) is still beautiful, but she has outgrown the young style of it. Still, that quilt will always be special to her, and to me, as it's the only one I ever hand quilted! The pattern is from this book, one of my favorites ever. Here's a photo of it when it was still unfinished: 

quilt by Nikki Schreiner of Pin, Cut, Sew Studio from the book, Material Obsession

The pattern I'm using for her new one is the Warrior quilt pattern by Suzy Williams and it's free! We chose all the fabrics together. I've had this quilt on my Pinterest board for quite awhile, so I was thrilled she chose it. It seems like today's modern quilting consist of many solid colors and less prints. 

Warrior Quilt Pattern, free on fabricworm

I've also made a couple of baby quilts, they just need batting and backing. I made them without anyone in mind to gift them to, I just had a free weekend and the itch to quilt. I thought about selling them, but I actually think I know who to gift them to now that they've been made. I absolutely love the boy one! For the girl one, I used this free pattern

baby quilts by Nikki of Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

I've had adventures in dancewear sewing recently too. More on that in it's own separate post coming soon. Sewing dancewear was my sewing goal for this year and having two ballerinas in the house has made this more of a necessity for financial reasons (dance moms know, those leotards can be soooo expensive as they get older!) While I gather supplies, I started by altering and embellishing three plain solid leotards found in the $5 bin at the dance store, with stretch lace and mesh. They turned out amazing and Natalie is thrilled! 

Sewing Dancewear by Nikki at Pin, Cut, Sew studio

I almost forgot, I made a dress too! I'm not really sure I'm in love with it, though. I may shorten it an inch or two? I do love that neckline, but I feel like it's a bit dowdy. I kinda wish I'd made a lightweight cardigan with this fabric instead. It's from Hobby Lobby's Fall line and it's a beautiful rayon spandex, so I could get some more and make the cardigan happen. We'll see. 

McCall's 7591

Lastly, I do have a new YouTube tutorial in the works! I'm hoping to film that on Saturday, so stay tuned for that next week. Here's  a sneak peak! 

Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Oh, wait, I almost forgot! Since I'm not teaching sewing now, I turned half the sewing studio into a school space! I can't believe how much we love it. It's so nice to have a space where the dirty dishes are not staring me in the face while we do school, haha! I also really like it because it's a space for me to sit and write or take care of the administrative details of life and homeschool co op, etc ... But anyway, I needed some chairs for our school table. I didn't have a lot to spend and I wanted rolling chairs and chairs with cushions. I found a set of four of these 80's gems on a used site and recovered them with duck cloth from Hobby Lobby. They look completely different and we love them! 

80's chair makeover 

I took them apart, which was pretty straightforward, recovered the seats with a staple gun, then made a pattern to simply slipcover the backs. It worked great, and the whole thing cost me about $80, definitely cheaper than the cheapest chairs I could have afforded at Ikea! Now the problem is that the kids are lazy and just roll over to get a drink or a pencil instead of using their legs ;)

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How to sew a cover for any size Bible or book

This post my contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

It's been awhile since I've made a YouTube video, so I'm so excited to share a new one with you today! Natalie got a new Bible recently and wanted a cover for it with handles. This ain't your Grandma's bible cover, I promise, it's simple and modern! I based this off of the one I'd made for my own Bible years ago out of some Kazakh embroidery my mom had given me from Mongolia. 

Here's the tutorial! I'd love it if you'd subscribe and share! I feel so honored to have over 2,000 subscribers, YouTube is pretty fun. Below the video, I'll link up to the products I mentioned. Enjoy!

Bible or book cover video tutorial by Nikki Schreiner 
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How to make time for hobbies

This post my contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

How to make time for hobbies by Nikki Schreiner

One of the things I have been most often asked throughout my entire adult life, is, "How do you have time for all that sewing?" I usually kind of shrug and laugh it off, feeling a little bit like maybe a grown woman with kids who home schools ought to be too busy for hobbies, or worried that people think I neglect my home and family and sit in front of the TV with knitting needles all day (I was literally accused of that once), but I actually do strategically fit my hobbies into my life on purpose and I'm going to share some of the ways I do that here today. 

First, though, let me just say that there is a season for everything and while I do have a busy life as a home school mom, I am home quite a bit and I do not work outside of my home. You may truly be in a season of life that is just too full to squeeze in one more thing, even if it's something you enjoy, so if that's you, please don't read this and find any guilt for not getting the watercolors out with your kids in the evenings or not reading more theology books, okay? No guilt! Second, we all must find a balance between using hobbies as self-care as we can fit them in and idolizing that "me-time" that hobbies can provide. If I'm yelling at my children to leave me alone because I'm immersed in a sewing project, my priorities are out of whack.

So now that we have those caveats out of the way, these are simply ways I have managed to squeeze in things I love to do and that keep me sane throughout various seasons and life changes.

1. Make your hobbies convenient.  

I had a neighbor growing up who kept a sewing machine in her hall closet way up high and would get it out to fix a hem or something. Because my mom had a designated sewing space, I thought this was totally weird, ha! If your sewing machine is up in a closet somewhere and all your tools put away, you'll probably never get it out to sew. Making your hobbies easily accessible will go a long way in how much you get to enjoy them. At our house, I keep a pretty vintage magazine holder next to my favorite chair full of the books I'm currently reading, so they're easy to grab when I have a minute to sit. I have a mug of paint brushes on a shelf over my dining room table and the bin of watercolor supplies nearby so it's easy for us to get out and paint without searching for supplies. My sewing space has migrated as my seasons of childrearing have changed. When the kids were younger, I made space in our various living rooms, so I could sew while also being where the kids were. Right now I have a large space to sew in, but in Hawaii, I only had a hallway desk. When we go out and I take my big camera, I don't even bring it in a case, I just sling it over my shoulder so it's easily accessible to me, knowing that if I had it in a backpack with several choices of lenses, it would feel like a chore to even get it out. 

how to make time for hobbies

2. Find small pockets of time to work on your hobbies

I sometimes sit down to play the piano while dinner is in the oven, or while waiting on friends to arrive. I read in between dance drop off/pick ups. I know many sewists who complete projects one seam at a time, in ten minute increments. This is another perk to having your hobbies out and accessible to you. Especially if you have small children at home, using those 10 or 20 minutes to enjoy your hobby is a good strategy. 

Making time for hobbies

3. Take your hobby with you

If you're anything like me, you have more than one thing you love to do and at least one of those things is portable. Hand sewing projects, crochet, knitting, photography, reading, embroidery; these are all things that I've brought along in the past. Use those hours sitting at basketball or dress rehearsals to your advantage!

How to make time for hobbies

4. Realize that hobbies can come and go

There were many years that I was a scrapbooker. I loved to do it, I loved to go to crop nights with friends and I found a lot of satisfaction in that. There came a time, though, when I just didn't have time to keep up with it and I did not need a hobby that made me feel behind in something! So I put it aside. When we were moving here to Utah from Hawaii, we didn't have our belongings for a few months and my hands were itching to create something, so I brought an Amigurumi crochet book, a hook and some yarn and it gave me something to put my hands to in that season, even though crochet isn't something I make time for ordinarily. Even in sewing, there were seasons I enjoyed quilting more and others when I preferred garment sewing. It's ok to pick up hobbies as you go and put others aside. There can be guilt in knowing how to do something or knowing you're good at something and not putting those skills to use, but that's just silly, isn't it? 

How to make time for hobbies

5. Find buddies to enjoy your hobbies with you

I love talking books with my mom and show-and-telling sewing projects over FaceTime. I enjoy teaching my friends to sew. I love sharing and commenting on sewing projects through social media. My girls and I have a blast coming up with photo shoot ideas, they are definitely my best photography buddies! There are tons of ways to find people who love the same things you love and that kind of community makes hobbies so much more fun. 

When dancers play baseball

When dancers play baseball

6. Think twice before offering up your skills to others

Just because you're good at something doesn't mean you should do it for money, or even as a favor, to others. There have been many times I have taken on sewing work that I did not want to do and that I did not need the money for, just because a friend asked and I knew I could do it, so I said yes. Find a way to say no that is gracious and then SAY IT! I usually say something like, "I don't take on custom work, I just don't have time". I should add that there are times I am asked that I actually do want to take on projects, such as costumes for the Narnia play our home school co op put on last year, but I weigh those decisions carefully before volunteering. That's sewing, though. Photography I actually LOVE to do for my friends, but I cannot do it for money, it's just too much pressure and I don't have time to deal with the administrative part of trying to make a go of photography as a business. So I usually say I work for coffee, ha! My point it, as with all things in life, you have to figure out what your boundaries are and stick to them. If you don't, before you know it, the precious time you have to work on your hobby will be eaten up by projects you really didn't want to do in the first place. 

Mr. Tumnus 

Mr. Tumnus 

7. Last, but not least, stop wasting time

Dare I say it? Put down your phone!! While a few of us may really, truly not have moments to spare for enjoyment throughout the day, I'd be willing to bet the majority of people who say they don't have time to fit in hobbies are wasting large chunks of time on mindless activities that produce nothing. How do I have time for "all that sewing?" I do not watch TV in the middle of the day. It feels rude to say that to people when they ask me that questions, but it's what I really want to tell them! (When I do watch something in the evenings, I use that time for yet another hobby: I do the New York Times crossword every night, like a grandpa, ha!). Furthermore, around Christmastime last year, I decided I really wanted to read more. I have always loved to read and while I had a good excuse why I didn't get many books read in a year when my kids were little, I can't use that excuse now that they're preteens. I decided that if I had a few minutes, where I would almost always pick up my phone and fritter the time away, I'd pick up a book instead. You guys, I have read 32 books so far this year!! What!? Theology, history, biography, so many good books. That is a LOT of hours I was spending mindlessly on social media. Use your time wisely. 

My living room sewing space in our Colorado house.

My living room sewing space in our Colorado house.

If you have anything to add to these ideas, I would love to hear them! Please share in the comments. 

Cheers! 

 

 

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Sewing Inspo

This post my contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy. 

My girls are ballet dancers and we are smack in the middle of recital week and since there has been zero time for actual sewing, I'm enjoying some virtual sewing instead! Here are some great ideas and inspiring projects I've spotted around the web recently. I hope you enjoy! 

Sewing Inspiration Spring 2018

First up, I absolutely love these tote bag panels by Hawthorne Threads. All the choices are right on trend and easy for new or experienced sewists. What a great idea! I love this "Take a Hike" one, but they are all seriously cool. If you're not familiar with panel projects, this means that you purchase a panel and the pieces you need are printed directly onto the fabric. So you cut out the pieces and sew it together, no pattern needed! (See the photo on the left). 

Tote bag fabric panels

Next, Handmade Charlotte has this ADORABLE Ice Cream Necklace tutorial. My kids and their friends would absolutely love these and so would my sewing students. Sometimes I plan small craft projects for when we have extra time and these are perfect for that. 

Ice Cream Necklace craft

A Beautiful Mess has instructions for making a duvet cover out of flat sheets. I love this idea because my girls are both tired of their comforters and this is such an easy way to make them new! 

Make a duvet from flat sheets

Oh my goodness, these Tartan-inspired quilts on C&T Publishing are so beautiful! I've been wanting a new quilt project and love so many of the plaid ones I'm seeing. I may pull some fabrics out to start on one of these (after recital week, of course!)

Tartan Quilt

Here is a cute and easy knotted hair bow tutorial by makeit-loveit. Even if you don't make some, be sure and check out her cute post with hair styling ideas. 

Knotted Hair bow tutorial

I don't own a Cricut and wasn't really interested in them until I spotted this adorable kids backpack on SewMuchAdo and was surprised to read that it was a pattern by Simplicity for Cricut. Apparently the two have teamed up and I'm intrigued to look more into this partnership and all that they offer as far as sewing patterns. I sure can imagine the possibilities! 

Kids backpack: Cricut + Simplicity

I have a soft spot (pun intended) for sock animals and I cannot get over this amazing sock "Narwhal the Unicorn Whale" pattern by Craft Passion. 

Sock Narwhal

And if you're into sock animals, don't forget I made a video on how to make a sock monkey (it's really not hard at all!) and it's my second most popular video, so check it out! I recently made my husband a monkey out of some Star Wars socks he found. He's pretty awesome. 

Wish me luck for the rest of recital week and hopefully I can squeeze some sewing time in soon! In the meantime, I'll keep admiring and sharing the work of others. 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! 

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How to read a sewing pattern part 1: Choosing your pattern and reading the envelope

This post contains affiliate links, which mean that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy. 

I have had no fewer than three people lament to me that they wish they could read a sewing pattern in the last week! Two of them were mothers of my students, who can thread a machine, but are lost when it comes to helping their children sew, and the third was one of my older students. 

Clearly the world of patterns is confusing to beginner sewists, so I am taking it upon myself to try and clear up the confusion! This is part one of what will be a five or six part series over the next few weeks. 

How to read a sewing pattern: a beginner friendly series by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Today's topic starts at the very beginning. There are so many sewing patterns, how do you even choose? 

Let me state up front that the patterns I'm referring to in this series are the kind you'll find at the fabric stores by companies known in the sewing world as "The Big 4" (also the title of an Agatha Christie book I'm currently reading, incidentally, ha!). McCall's, Butterick, Simplicity/New Look and Vogue. There is an entire industry of "Indie patterns" out there, but these are quite different and much more expensive than you can find at your local craft store, although there are many great things about those patterns too.  

Speaking of expense: 

Pro Tip #1: Do not ever pay full price for Big 4 sewing patterns!! The sticker prices are something crazy like $18 or even $25, and then most places have their everyday sale prices of 40% off. But don't pay that either!! JoAnn and Hobby Lobby continually put these patterns on sale for ONE OR TWO DOLLARS!! And if you live somewhere without those stores, the pattern websites themselves often have $3.99 sales, which I would wait for when I lived in Hawaii. When I made this shorts pattern with my sewing students, I snagged the patterns for $.99 each, meaning I was able to purchase one for each girl to use and take home to keep. (This intel is for people in the U.S., I really don't know the best way to get good deals on patterns in other countries, I'm so sorry!)

If you're brand new to patterns, keep it super simple. For our purposes in this series, I'll be using Simplicity pattern # 8401. I've recently sewn this pattern with my students and know that it only has two pattern pieces to make a pair of cute shorts! There are another two pieces for a pair of doll shorts. If you're wanting to start with clothing, choose something basic and take note of fancy elements, such as zippers, button holes, pleats, godets, etc ... I'm not saying steer clear of those elements, but I may be saying, choose a pattern with one new-to-you concept and not five. If you add one new skill per project, you'll be a pro in no time! 

How to use a sewing pattern by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Pro Tip #2: Just because a pattern says "Sew Easy" or something similar, doesn't necessarily mean it's true! Look at the line drawings on the back of the envelope to give you a better idea of what's involved than the photo on the front of the envelope will, and then decide what you're willing to tackle. 

How to read sewing patterns by Pin, Cut, Sew studio

So, once you've chosen your pattern, spend some time on the back of that envelope. Other than those helpful line drawings, there is lots of important info back there. The top box should tell you which kinds of fabrics the pattern is suitable for. Don't obsess too much over this, but for sure don't choose a knit (stretchy) if the pattern is made for woven fabrics (non-stretchy). Also, if you're making a flowy skirt, don't choose a stiff quilting cotton unless you want your skirt to stand out like a tent around your body. This part is somewhat intuitive and comes with experience and trial and error. 

How to use a sewing pattern, by pincutsewstudio.com

The next box is the sizing chart. I cannot overemphasize that pattern sizing is very different from ready-to-wear sizing! If I wear a 6 or 8 at Target, I'll probably sew a 12 in patterns. This topic requires a post by itself, so stay tuned for part 2 of the series, coming in a few days! 

How to sew with a pattern by pincutsewstudio.com

Next, there is a box that tells you how much yardage to buy based on your size. If your pattern is say, for a lined skirt, the box will tell you how much you need of both your skirt fabric and your lining. If you're making a garment with two fabrics like a top with a lace inset, the pattern will usually refer to the accent fabric as the "contrast". This section also tells you which notions are needed for each view, although sometimes the notions get their own little box. Our shorts pattern says that the girls' shorts need 1" elastic and the doll pair requires 1/4" elastic. It also tells me how much trim we need. You may want to buy a smidge more fabric than required to accommodate for either shrinkage or cutting mistakes. 

How to read sewing patterns, by pincutsewstudio.com

One more thing about the fabric requirement. You can see my pattern says different amount of fabrics for either 45" or 60". This is referring to the width of your fabric. If you choose a quilting cotton for example, the width will be 45" wide, but most linens and denims and also many knits and other types of fabrics come wider. The end of the bolt of fabric will give you this information, along with the fabric content, the washing instructions and the price. Actually, those wider fabrics tend to say 58", not 60" like we always say they are, but at any rate, they will still work for those 60" fabric requirements. Just thought I'd mention that in case someone is standing in the sewing store with a bolt in their hands wondering why they can't find anything that says 60" wide!

Pro Tip #3: You can find fabric or even sheets at thrift stores to try out your pattern with if you want to do a practice run. We can this "making a muslin". This way you can figure out the fit without worrying about messing up your good fabric. 

I think that sums up the pattern as far as the outside of the envelope! Be sure and come back for part 2, (Part 2 is here!) in which I'll attempt to unscramble pattern sizing for you! 

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How to Make a Unicorn Headband

This post contains affiliate links, which mean that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy. 

Unicorn Headbands DIY

Unicorns are all the rage right now! I have an 11-year-old daughter who's a tad obsessed. I thought a unicorn headband would be a fun DIY project to post a tutorial for. My 13-year-old got to work a couple days ago and made one together, the Layla whipped one up today. Super fun! 

Unicorn Headband tutorial by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Before you get started, you'll need to grab this free pattern. Just click on this photo to make it big, then right click to save it to your desktop. From there, you should be able to print it (make sure you click "fill page"). 

Unicorn Headband Pattern

As for fabrics, anything goes! We used small scraps of some sparkly costume fabrics, some fleece and novelty fleece we like to call "Flur", and felt for the flowers. You'll also need a headband. Ours was the wrong color, so we wrapped it in ribbon, but that's optional. This project can easily be sewn by hand (there are only a couple small sewing parts) if you don't use a sewing machine. A glue gun is also a must. 

Start by cutting out one horn and four ear pieces total, two from your ear back fabric and two from your inner ear fabric. You can cut two at a time, but make sure your ear face the opposite direction from each other, if that makes sense (see photo). 

Unicorn headband tutorial

To make the horn, just fold the piece right sides together and sew from point to bottom edge in a 1/4" seam. Clip the corner to eliminate bulk and turn right side out, using your handy dandy chop stick to gently poke the point out. Stuff the horn. Nest, thread a needle and use a long running stitch to hand gather the opening edge: 

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Then pull it tight, creating a flat-ish bottom. Knot and trim your thread. 

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To make the ears, place your outer and inner ear pieces right sides together and sew the sides, leaving the bottom open. Clip your corner and turn right side out.

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Now, to shape the ears, for our first version, we sewed a pleat, but ended up shaping them further later on by folding the outer edge in toward the middle. So when Layla made hers, she folded both sides in toward the middle and sewed across the bottom and we liked that better. Just do what you think looks best. 

DSC_0109-2.jpg

At this point, if you want to wrap your headband in ribbon, start by gluing the end of the ribbon to the bottom of the headband and then wrap it diagonally around until you get to the other end. It's fiddly to get started, but just do your best. 

Then we glued the pieces on, first the horn to get it centered (be sure and put the seam facing the back!), then the ears. The glue alone isn't secure enough, so next, thread a needle and sew the pieces, as shown in the photo. 

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Next, the flowers! These are so much fun to make, my girls have been making them just for fun now for two days. There are plenty of felt flower tutorials out there, but we think these are the easiest kind and perfect for this project. Find a couple circles to trace onto felt. Ours ranged from 2" to 5" in diameter. Cut out your circle and then cut it into a spiral, about 3/8"-1/2" wide. 

DSC_0118.jpg

Then, just start wrapping it around its center, ending with a dot of hot glue. That's it! I takes a little practice, but it's pretty simple. Cut some leaf shapes and arrange your flowers and leaves over your horn and ears before hot gluing them down. 

DIY Unicorn Headband free pattern and tutorial

I hope you enjoyed this simple tutorial! If you made some unicorn headbands, I'd love to see them! And for the unicorn lover in your family, we recommend this cool book. Layla has really enjoyed it and has read some parts to us during our home school. 

DIY Unicorn headband free pattern and tutorial
How to make a unicorn headband
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Tips for sewing with kids

This post contains affiliate links, which mean that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy. 

I've been teaching kids to sew for a couple years now, have had well around 80 children come through my studio and finish projects successfully, so it's about time I share some tips with you, whether you're wanting to sew with your own children, or teach others. And if you desire to help your own kids learn to sew, but don't have sewing skills yourself, this post is just as much for you as it is for the pros! 

Tips for teaching kids to sew

Tips for teaching kids to sew

I'm going to jump right in! 

FIRST, gather quality tools. I get asked very often by the mothers of my students and others for my recommendation on a beginner sewing machine. My advice is and has always been, DO NOT buy the cheapest machine of any brand. You will only be frustrated. If you've made this mistake and have had lots of problems, let me reassure you, it's not you, it's the machine! That said, a good machine doesn't need to break the bank. I use this one in my studio. I have six of them and they've been dreamy. Here is more on why I like them and why I upgraded from the ones I used to teach on. 

Teach kids to sew

Teach kids to sew

Your machine isn't the only tool you don't want to cheap out on! I know the little packaged sewing kits you can pick up for $10 are cheap and sometimes even cute, but you're not doing anyone any favors, as they tend to include the flimsiest of supplies. Here are the basic tools you should have and my recommendations on good ones: 

1. Scissors. I've used many kinds in my classes, but realized the kids were always scrambling for dibs on the regular orange Fiskers scissors. For some reason, they just don't dull or get out of whack like all my other brands did. So now I have six pair of the Fiskers and also the Fiskers sharpener. This eliminated our scissor woes. I also noticed that my younger students sometimes have trouble with cutting and ordered a pair of the Fiskars for small hands. That solved the issue for most littler ones! 

2. A good seam ripper! Unsewing is a necessary skill, so get a good sharp unsewer and replace it when it start to slack off on the job. 

3. Pins. You don't have to be too picky about these, I like quilting pins because they're longer, but any pins will do. Along these lines, Wonder Clips are wonderful to have on hand, although totally optional, because they are sometimes easier for kids to use and they don't get poked as often. 

4. Pin magnets. I use plenty of pin cushions on my classes, but have a pin magnet next to each machine and they're nice because they make it so easier to pick up the piles of pins left on the table and even on the floor! Plus, the kids just think they're fun. 

5. Fabric! Ok, I know this is obvious, but what I want to say about it is that kids will take to sewing much more gleefully if you have some cool fabrics in trendy prints.  Think, cactus, llamas and unicorns! The hand-me-down quilting fabrics from the 80's or that box of polyester suiting you were "gifted" from a well-meaning person who found out you sew ... these won't go over quite as well. Let your kids pick out some fun prints, have lots of felt on hand and see what they can do! 

6. Stuffing. When told they can sew whatever they want, kids will sew a pillow or a stuffed something 99.9% of the time. Ha! Have stuffing. I keep the big box of polyester fiber-fill on hand. I use a coupon from Hobby Lobby or get it at Wal-Mart (for some reason, it costs a ton more at JoAnn's). 

TEaching kids to sew

TEaching kids to sew

SECOND, don't teach them everything at once. Others may have another method than me, obviously, but I don't teach the kids to thread the machines when they're brand new. I teach them to use the machine by going around a sheet of paper, learning to backstitch, stop and pivot, etc ... and then we get down to our first projects. I have found that the older girls pick up the threading as they watch me thread and before long, they learn how to do it naturally. Choose projects that build skills incrementally and let them come up with their own ideas too. Before long, they'll start to understand more and more about construction. 

Kids can sew

Kids can sew

THIRD, try not to micromanage. Many moms have a tendency to hover, overcorrect and criticize when their kids are learning to sew. Please don't worry so much about "wasting supplies" or not having a perfect outcome. The reason I teach kids and not adults as much is because kids are always just so proud of what they've made! They don't see the flaws, they are just thrilled that they produced something. And when something's a total disaster, they're always willing to try it again, having just learned how not to do it. Relax, moms! ;) Keep your cool. Teaching children a skill like this requires a lot of patience and positivity. 

Kids sewing

Kids sewing

FOURTH, provide them with inspiration! This is the fun part. There are so many great projects out there that kids can attempt to make on their own, once they know the sewing basics. I know I've mentioned several of my favorite kids' sewing books in various posts, but a few of my favorites are Sewing for Children (perfect for brand new beginners, younger learners or hand sewers), and the We Love to Sew series. There's so much good stuff on YouTube too, including my channel, Pin, Cut, Sew, which I try to keep very beginner friendly! Pinterest is a well spring of ideas, of course. You can follow my "Kids Can Sew" board and find plenty of ideas. In class recently, we made hoop art (check out their creations in the photo below!) and had Pinterest open browsing for hoop art inspiration. So I even use Pinterest in my classes! 

Hoop art sewing class

Hoop art sewing class

I hope this has helped some of you and given you courage to give sewing with children a try. I know there's a lot of logistics about what classes actually look like that you may have questions about, so I'd be happy to help answer those the best I can if you'll ask me! 

Cheers and Happy Sewing :)

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Sew Inspo: Inaugural edition!

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Welcome to the first edition of Sew Inspo, where I link you to fab sewing inspiration/ideas/tutorials/resources that I've spotted around the web on any given week. (I'd love to tell you I'll be doing a new edition every week, but we'll see ... because, life is so time consuming, ha! 

I won't waste time yakking. Let's get started! 

If you've seen any other cool ideas around the web this week, be sure and let me know! 

Cheers :) 

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10 Last-minute Easter sewing ideas

I love putting a little something handmade into my kids' Easter Baskets, but I haven't had a lot of time to think about it until now! So I got on Pinterest tonight and my goodness, there are some super cute ideas and a lot of them don't take much time at all. 

Easter sewing ideas

Easter sewing ideas

But first, just for grins, because I would't call this a last minute project, but my bunny basket I made last year is just too cute not to include in an Easter sewing post. This is an ancient McCall's pattern. It includes all holidays. I used to make these for gifts when I was a teenager and stash cute things in the basket. Aw :) I do think, even without the pattern, something similar to this would be easy to DIY for those who love getting crafty with felt and their glue gun. 

But, on to the list! 10 last minute things to sew for Easter 

1. Carrot Treat Bags. So cute! This is the one I'll probably whip up for my own kids. I think it would be fun for them to make for their friends too. 

2. Drawstring Bunny Bags. Equally adorable. 

3. Little Bunny Sachets, how cute. 

4. Last year I made these Hungry Bunnies for each of my kids. They're so cute and zippers used in creative ways are always fun! This one is Kelby's:

5. I made several of these patchwork Easter eggs many years ago. Here's a photo I scavenged up from my old blog! My photography skills have progressed. Haha. 

 6. Oh my goodness, a bunny bib!! So sweet. 

7. My kids would love these little love bunny softies. I think I may use this tutorial in a future sewing class. I think kids would enjoy making them even more than receiving them! 

8. This is the best bunny ears idea I've ever seen, I love it. I have a version of this brewing for next year's ballet bun accessory ;)

9. Some hair bows to match Easter dresses are always a good idea! Watch my video tutorial here. 

10. And of course, if you missed my felt Peeps bunnies tutorial, they're super fast and easy! You could make a bunch to dress up Easter baskets. 

If you have other last minute Easter sewing ideas, feel free to link us in the comments! Cheers :)

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Do You Dream Board?

So my husband will be gone for the next six weeks and I was pondering this morning how I can make sure we don't slip into the survival mode mom and kids that we sometimes do when he leaves and I'm parenting alone ... the kids who spend too much time on YouTube and Minecraft and the mom who allows it because she's wiped ... have you met that mom? Yeah, that's us if I'm not careful. 

So I'm going to make the meals, not order the pizza. That kinda thing. 

I had a lightbulb moment and thought it would be fun for the kids to make Dream Boards, or Vision Boards, if you will, to try and pinpoint some goals they have and maybe next time they're board or playing Super Mario, they can instead ask themselves, "Is there something else I could do?" They loved this idea and we go to work. We got out file folders, magazines, scrap paper and Sharpies. 

What I didn't expect is how much fun and eye opening this activity would be FOR ME. I'll get to why in just a minute, but first, here's my finished dream board: 

It's not fancy. And these aren't goals with any specific time frame, although I feel like they're mostly things that I'd like to accomplish within the year. 

I'd like to read ten biographies this year, and this is the part when I tell you why this was eye opening for me. Today I took the kids to the pool and we had the place to ourselves (homeschool perks) and I was reading while they played. I was finishing up The Magnolia Story. Sometimes I feel like my time would be better spent getting things accomplished at home than sitting by the pool, but reading that book while there, after just having finished this dream board, reminded me that I was actually doing something in that moment that fit into a goal I had. It was not a waste of time! And, in those moments when I really am wasting time, it will hopefully be a reminder to me that I could be utilizing that time to do something that meets a goal I have, even if it's just reading.

Here are a few closer looks: 

And to explain a few things: 

  • I'm trying to memorize the book of Ephesians. I'm slow at memorizing! But there's an app called Verses. So helpful! 
  • I'm doing the 28 day barre program on SuzanneBowen.com. Love her!! I've been taking an adult ballet class for several months, and can tell I've improved a lot since starting her program at home.
  • I want to find ways to serve Casey in little ways. Like taking the trash cans to the curb sometimes. Because yeah, that's a guy's job, but I can do it and bless him in the process. Or maybe not sigh when he asks me to iron his Class B pants. Ha! 
  • I have goals for my home sewing class business and also for monetizing this blog and my YouTube channel that require some specific online actions and I'm working on those steadily. It's important to me that that growth happen in an authentic and honest way, which makes growth slower, but I'm fine with that. 

The rest is pretty self explanatory. But here are the kids'! They each turned out so differently. They really had a lot of fun with this, I highly recommend you try it with your kids! 

Natalie's:

This is Layla's. She really loves Nerdy Nummies on YouTube so I encouraged her to start trying some of the recipes. She wants to save for the book and we're going to gather some cake supplies to get her started. Also, she means memorize the books of the Old Testament, not the entire Old Testament, haha. 

Annnnd Kelby's. His makes me laugh, I think it's so cute. You can see today he's very into Meccano. Yesterday this dream board could have been all about Legos and tomorrow it could be about Minecraft. But, today it's Meccano. And golf. He has a golf goal, so he gave one robot a club and ball. 

Have you made a dream board? Is this something you would try? I think it's the visual person's spreadsheet, HAHA! If you do this yearly, or regularly, or just for business, or spiritual goals, or if you try it with your kids, I would love to hear about it! 

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