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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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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How to make an emoji sleep mask. Free pattern!

We have a some long flights and accompanying jet lag in our near future and Kelby and I wanted some sleep masks. We thought emoji sleep masks would be super funny! Everyone needs a chuckle on a long flight, amiright?? Enjoy our video tutorial and you can print the free pattern below the video for both sizes of sleep masks! 

Here's your pattern! Just click to save and print :) 

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How to Sew a Scarf Shirt! A Video Tutorial

I'm so excited to have our next YouTube video tutorial up and running! Learn to make a cool shirt or cover-up out of a scarf. We plan to go to our thrift store for more scarves to play with because these are so fun and easy. 

Video Tutorial

Video Tutorial

We hope you enjoy! We are having so much fun making these videos and I hope you'll subscribe to our channel and share with your sewing friends. If you make a scarf shirt, please show me, somehow! Maybe tag me on Instagram?? I'd love it :) 

Here's the tutorial! Enjoy

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Soft Headband Tutorial

Our newest video tutorial is up! Layla and I are going to show you how to make soft headbands in any size.

How to Sew a Soft Headband

We hope you're enjoying these tutorials and if so, that you'll subscribe to our channel and share with your sewing friends. Part of the reason we started the Pin, Cut, Sew YouTube channel is because there just isn't a whole lot out there specifically directed at kids who want to sew. I know many of my local sewing students have been watching our videos and trying the ideas, so that alone makes the effort worth it! But these tutorials are also good for adults, I really try to span the ages :) 

Enjoy! 

My girls are really loving these and they're sooo easy. I hope if you make some, you'll show me by commenting here or on YouTube or tagging me on Instagram! I would truly love to see. 

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DIY t-shirt tassel tutorial

A new tutorial is up on the Pin, Cut, Sew YouTube channel and this one contains plenty of family antics as I teach my girls to make cute tassels with their old t-shirts. Tune in and please subscribe to our channel!! I'm discovering there is a whole world of sewing vloggers out there that I didn't even know about! I plan to create a blog post about some of my favorites in the near future. Until then, enjoy making some t-shirt tassels and then tell me, which kinds of sewing projects would you like to see a video tutorial of? 

Cheers and happy sewing! :)

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Textured t-shirt Technique and YouTube announcement!

Pin, Cut, Sew is on YouTube, you guys!!! I'm so excited, making videos is suuuuper fun. I had so many ideas when I was trying to get started and I found it helpful to write down a few purpose sentences to help myself focus. Here's what I came up with: 

At Pin, Cut, Sew Studio, we believe:

  • Anyone can sew! Kids included. 
  • Any age is a good age to start.
  • Anyone can sew with basic equipment. 
  • Sewing is cool again! 

Please subscribe to our channel and tune in for weekly how-tos, tutorials, tips and general sewing news! My first video is a fun tutorial on making textured DIY scrappy t-shirt fabric. Enjoy! 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! 

Upcylced t-shirt technique tutorial

Upcylced t-shirt technique tutorial

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Pig Neck Pillow * Free Templates

I finished a great month of sewing classes today. This month's theme was softies! Our first week's projects was these awesome pig neck pillows. I saw this idea on Pinterest, but it didn't link to a tutorial or anything related to the neck pillow, actually, so I drew the pieces myself and thought I'd share them here for you. 

This isn't really a tutorial because I didn't have the foresight to take photos as I was making the sample (bad blogger, I'm sorry!) but basically, this is what you do: 
 

  1. Go over to The Crafter Gemini Creates and snag her fab neck pillow pattern and watch the tutorial if you need to. I tried several kids neck pillow patterns and this one is the best! Once you have the pattern, cut it out of your pink prints. 
  2. Print my free pig part template below (just right click and save, then you can print) and cut those out of the right colors of fleece (or felt works too, but is not as soft on the neck as fleece). 
  3. Stitch the face pieces in place on one neck pillow piece. Assemble the ears and baste those onto the top where you want them (facing down so that they'll poke up when you turn it right side out. 
  4. Stitch the front and back together, right sides together, leaving an opening for turning. Clip inner curves to stitching.
  5. Turn, stuff and hand sew your opening closed. 

There are my super lame-o picture-less instructions. Note to self, always photograph the process ;) 

Free Pig Neck Pillow Pattern by Pin, cut, Sew Studio

Free Pig Neck Pillow Pattern by Pin, cut, Sew Studio

My students really enjoyed making these pillows! I think they would make great gifts and you could really get creative with different animals or funny monsters. 

I hope you can make use of this idea! If you do, I'd love to see it, especially if you make some with the kiddos in your life. 

Cheers and happy sewing!

Nikki

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Beginner/Kid Friendly Sewing Tutorial: Name Banner Bunting

This month in my local kids sewing classes, our theme is sewing for your room and Tuesday's project was these fun triangle name banners! The kids had fun with these and my favorite part is seeing what fabrics they each choose and how they got creative with their words, using nicknames, meaningful words, adding hearts before and after their names, etc... 

There are plenty of tutorials out there for these, but I wanted mine to  have finished edges and be lined so it would be look nicer and last longer. And of course I wanted to make a tutorial simple enough for beginner parents and kids to follow so my sewing students can make more at home!

What You'll Need:

A triangle template: I cut mine from a file folder and it measures 9.5" across the top and 10" down the center. You can make it any size as long as it fits the letter stencils you have. 

Letter stencils. Mine are from my old scrapbooking stash. You can get them in scrapbook sections in craft stores OR you can print out your own font to cut out and trace. This could be a really fun way to go! 

Fabrics: With my size triangle, we could cut four flags out of one fat quarter. So I'd say for an eight letter word, you need at least a half yard total of fabric. But, it's super fun to do each letter different too, so you can use scraps you have on hand. We backed our flags with solid colors, but you could use anything and you could even make your banner reversible! Just make sure you use fabrics that you can't see through. 

Double Fold bias tape. This comes in little packages by the zippers and rick-rack, but you can also make your own, there are several tutorials out there for that. 

Fusible Web: This comes either on a bolt, in a roll or in sheets. Steam A' Seam is a brand name for the kind you'll find in sheets, but any kind will work. 

Let's Get Started! 

Cut out your flags, as many as you have letters and cut out your backing flags too. Then sew each one together, right sides together (pretty side to pretty side!), leaving the tops open. Snip the bottom tip straight across, close to your stitching. This helps you get a nice point when you turn it right side out. 

Turn each flag right side out, use a chopstick to gently poke the corner out and press them nice and flat. 

Before we put the binding on, you'll want to trim off all these little dog ears:

Time to add your bias tape! Open up your bias tape and fit the first flag inside it's fold, starting about an inch from the end. (You can turn the end under, or not. I didn't have the kids do it this way and since bias tape doesn't ravel, it will be fine. Put it under your machine and use a zig zag stitch to sew down the length of it, adding flags as you go. I don't usually pin them, I just open it up and wedge them in as I go, but you can pin if you want! 

The sewing part is done! Time to add the letters. Whether you're using stencils like mine or printed letters, you want to trace each letter backwards onto one side of your fusible web. Don't cut them out! You can cut loosely around each letter, or if you traced them close enough together for it not to be wasteful, you can just iron the whole piece onto your fabric. Following the manufacturer's instructions if you need to, remove the paper backing (the side you didn't trace on) and iron your letters onto the wrong side of your letter fabric.

Now you can cut your letters out. Once you've cut them out, remove the paper backing and place each letter where you want them on each flag and press them on one at a time. Make sure you spell it right! haha. 

That's it! You're done! You can easily hang these up with thumb tacks. Natalie is so proud of hers! 

And so are my sewing students! They did such a good job, they should be proud. 

The kids thought of all kinds of banners they can make! Natalie suggested a football one to hang during Bronco games (Broncos season is coming!!!!!!) A few girls talked about making them for gifts. I've made these for baby shower decorations/presents. Seasonal banners would be fun too! 

A banner I made when I threw my friend a baby shower several years ago. She hung it in the baby's nursery! 

A banner I made when I threw my friend a baby shower several years ago. She hung it in the baby's nursery! 

And my favorite banner of all, the birthday banner I made when all my kids were tiny that I still hang up for every single birthday, even my own :) I can see many memories in all the fabrics I made it out of! 

Look at tiny Natalie there in the front and tiny Layla and Kelby too! Eeeeeeeek!!! 

Look at tiny Natalie there in the front and tiny Layla and Kelby too! Eeeeeeeek!!! 

Cheers and happy sewing! If you make any banners using this tutorial, I'd love to see! :)

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Super Easy Doll Tote Bag Tutorial

I was brainstorming simple doll sewing in case we had extra time today at sewing camp. I knew that tote bags for dolls would be super easy, so I showed the girls how to make this simple version. I didn't have a pattern and I hadn't made these before, but it was no problem to just wing it. They turned out great, they were really fast and most of the girls made more than one, they loved these! Then Natalie made a bunch after camp was over and our neighbor came over this afternoon and they made even more! 

Doll Tote Bag free tutorial by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

Doll Tote Bag free tutorial by Pin, Cut, Sew Studio

I made a very simple tutorial here for you, and you don't even have to print a pattern :) 

For the pattern, take a piece of regular ol' printer paper and cut it (or just fold it) in half, hamburger style. Place this on your fabric, just one layer, and cut it out. 

Next, hem one of the long edges. For the kids, I didn't have them turn the raw edge under twice, I wanted to keep this super simple for them, but here you can see, I did hide that raw edge. 

Next, cut some ribbon for your straps. I cut mine 7", but anywhere between 7 and 9" would be great. Pin them onto the wrong side of your top edge where you'll want your handles to be when it's folded in half. It may help to fold it in half widthwise just to see where you want them and make sure they match up. 

Then sew them in place right over your previous hem stitching. Now an adult or advanced sewer could totally do the hem and sew the ribbons on in one step, but for kids, it's easier for them to do this in two steps and it doesn't bother them that there are two lines of stitching showing if it's not perfect. It might bother you, moms, but it won't bother them and that's what matters! ;) I let the kids try zig-zagging this step and they thought that was fun and looked cool. 

Okay, last step, fold your tote in half, pretty sides together and sew down the side and across the bottom. 

You're done already! You can trim those raw seams with pinking shears, or not, whatever you want. Clip that corner and turn it right side out. You may also want to add some Fray Check or clear nail polish to your ribbon ends to keep them from fraying. 

These are some the girls made!

Natalie and her friend Hailey can't stop making tote bags for their dolls! As you can see, Victoria and Samantha are very happy to wear them all. 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! 

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