Showing posts with label how to sew. Show all posts
Showing posts with label how to sew. Show all posts

Saturday, July 22, 2017

In the Art Room: Stitching Pizza Plushies!

A little over a month ago, I got an email from Trixi Symonds over at Coloured Buttons. She asked me if I'd like to join her super fun #sewasoftie project for the month of July. Her concept was simple: introduce kiddos to stitching with a month long sharing of sewing projects via her Facebook page (which, by the way, is LOADED with fabulous sewing inspiration for kids of all ages). I happily agreed and used my recent trip to Italy (and love for all things pizza) as my inspiration. 
Another reason I chose pizza is because my kiddos always find inspiration in food. Are your students/kids like that? It's so funny to me: give a kid a piece of clay and it's guaranteed that they will come back with a clay cookie, pizza or a taco. I know when I share this project with my third and fourth graders in the spring, they'll be all in. 

Let's talk supplies:

* Craft Felt in bunches of colors. I find that I have a TON of craft felt. Does it multiply? Are teachers secretly dumping the stuff in my storage closet? The latter is more than likely the case. It would also explain the ziplock baggies of broken crayons I always receive (y'all, I don't even use crayons!). 

* Chenille Needles are my jam. They have a big eye that is great for threading and a nice sharp point which is perfect for puncturing that felt. 

* Thread can be tricky. Get the cheap stuff and it can break with a slight tug. We use embroidery floss with the single thread...not the one with 6 threads. Cuz we ain't got time to be splittin' hairs. 

* Paper for creating a pattern and for making a needle threader.

* Scissors are great...and if you have one for fabric and another for paper then you are just the bee's knees. 

* Pins and a Magnet to park those pins. They make these great pin wands that my students love. You just wave them and the pins snap right to the wand. 
When I first got the idea to create this lesson, I kept getting more ideas. First it was allowing the kids to create toppings that can be changed at any time. Kind of like the felt boards I played with as a kid. That's why I created the segment in the video where the toppings are changed. Then I thought it would be great to introduce button sewing...for that the toppings would have to be tacked down. And, of course, I had to throw on some puffy paint because PUFFY PAINT MAKES MY WORLD GO ROUND. Thank you, Puff Daddy for the Puffy Paint. He's the one who invented it, right?
Then I got the idea for a silly-faced pizza. I spotted these giant googly eyes at the craft store and thought it would be fun. Because I wanted to add arms like we did with the Stitched Monster project, I knew I'd have to go about sewing a little differently. Originally I was going to make one video...but I decided that two was best: one for the Stuffed Pizza and Button Sewing and another for the Funny Faced Pizza
So, just some thoughts on sewing with kids: I usually do a fibers unit in the spring, after clay. Kids love sewing, weaving, felting, you name it...and it's a great follow-up to clay as they pink-puffy-heart-with-sparkles LOVE clay. However, sewing is a challenge that you and your students need to be prepared for. Whenever we tackle something new, I remind the kids that we are learning and that takes practice and patience. I tell them that some of them will get it right away...and others will take a little longer...but we will ALL get there. With practice and patience. It's important to emphasis this so that frustration does not lead to a defeatist mentality.
Now, I'll have my students glue their items down with tacky glue. But, for those kids creating at home who wish to change the toppings of their pizza frequently, they could simply keep their cut pieces in a sealed bag. 
This pizza was created the same way as the first but I really wanted to introduce button sewing. What better way to do that than with pepperoni buttons?! And, of course, puffy paint. 
No doubting that I grew up in the 80's...I got puffy paint in my veins. 
Shortly after posting my Stuffed Pizza video on my YouTube channel, Jeanne Kemp, an art teacher out of Baltimore shared this with me. She'd done the project with her students! How fun and they did a fabulous job. I had pizza for dinner in their honor. 
This project is a little more involved simply because of the addition of sewing the arms and sewing three sides verses two. For that reason, I'll reserve this project for my older students. 

I def don't plan on purchasing them all googly eyes as I don't have that kind of budget. So, more than likely, if my students decide to make a face, they'll have to create the eyes from felt. No biggie. 
 I really had fun creating these pizzas. They got me excited about hand sewing again...and the upcoming class I'm taking at Alabama Chanin. More on that to come. LOVE to know if any of you all have taken a class there before! 

Until then, have a super fun time stitching your pizza! 

Arrivederci!

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

In the Art Room: Sew a Softie!

I was recently contacted by the author of Sew Together, Grow Together, Trixi Symonds. She's the founder of Sew a Softie (check out the #sewasoftie on Instagram for some fun inspiration!) and has a fun sewing opportunity coming up in the month of July. I'm definitely joining the fun...and I thought you might want to as well. 
Trixi lives in Sydney, Australia where she has been teaching hand sewing to children for over 20 years. She coordinates workshops and leads sessions at galleries, bookstores, schools, you name it. Her goal is to encourage adults to share the love of stitching with children by providing cute, creative and fun sewing tutorials. Are you sold yet? I love her already! 
Trixi came to me with her idea of making July Sew-a-Softie month and asked if I'd be interested in joining the fun. Of course I agreed...and thought y'all might want to as well. Here are the details from Trixi:

The aim of Sew a Softie is to show both adults and kids that hand sewing is fun, creative, fulfilling, and that absolutely everyone can do it. Throughout the month of July simple to sew softie tutorials will be posted daily online. You can find them on the Sew a Softie Facebook page, the Coloured Buttons blog and the Sew a Softie website. Also, check out colouredbuttons on Instagram

You could take part by posting a softie tutorial and join the blog hop or by sewing softies with a group of friends or students anytime in July and posting on Instagam with the tag #sewasoftie.

Thanks, Trixi! I know I'm excited to get started.
I mentioned that Trixi is a book author, you can find her book here!
To clarify, if you want to join the Sew a Softie fun, be sure to follow Trixi's Facebook page. There you can find daily softie sewing inspiration as well as share your own ideas and creations. If you share on Instagram, don't forget to use #sewasoftie. I know I'm looking forward to lots of new tips, tricks and sewing project ideas for my students. 
Doesn't this sound like fun? For more inspiration, be sure to check out Trixi's blog and Instagram. It's sure to get your wheels turning. These cute images are from there. 
I know my students absolutely love sewing and had a blast with our Stitched Monster project. I think this will be a fun way to gain new ideas and collaborate with hand sewing enthusiasts all over the world. I hope you'll join the fun!

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

DIY: Ikea Fabric Broccoli Dress

 If you've been following my IG stories, then you've seen a little bit of the behind the scenes making of this here Broccoli Dress. Or, as I've decided to call it, my Frock-coli. See what I did there? Frock and Broc, y'all. It's what you're wearin' fer dinner. 
I picked up the fabric last fall while at Ikea. I'm in love with their fabric because I love all things big and bold (and cheap. Y'all, soooo cheap!). Whenever I see a print that I like, I always wish it were 10 times bigger. So when I spotted this giant broccoli print (and, like, who looks at broccoli and says, "that would make a great textile!" Someone with a brilliant mind, that's who.), I knew I had to have it...and make a dress from it!
I decided to take the ole Frock-coli out for a spin to the bookstore this afternoon. The baristas were diggin' it...but one couple I walked by literally stopped mid-convo, went silent and whispered, "What.Was.That." Apparently the Frock-coli is ahead of it's time. 
Am I the only one who thinks this dress needs some melted cheese? I gotta hankerin' for some steamed broc and queso. 
 When it comes to sewing, y'all know know I'm a creature of habit. I've been sewing dresses for myself for some time now...and I feel this fit and flair is the most flattering on me. I've tried slightly different styles (heavy on the slightly. What can I say, that 50's silhouette is my fave) and I always come back to the following: fitted bodice, big ole waistband (or big ole belt. I have one student who is fascinated by my big plastic belts...I think he watches a lot of WWE and associates them with prize fighting belts. Which, after some days of teaching art, I feel like I've earned one!) and a giant circle skirt. 
When I tell you I have a ton of vintage patterns, believe me, I have a ton. And I almost aways use some sort of combo like this. In other news, how cute is that bird applique?! 
Before I picked the broc fabric to stitch, I had these other contenders on my cutting table. I get a lotta questions on where I get my fabric. Aside from Ikea, I LOVE fabric.com. They have a search bar where I look up things like "primary colors", "art supplies", "art teacher" and all sorts of fun motifs pop up. I also love shopping at Craft South as they have the most unique and hip prints. 
But back to the dress. I thought the black waistband all by itself was a little stark...so I balanced it out with the black bows at the shoulder. 
 My new favorite thing to do while sewing is listen to podcasts. I just finished S-Town from the creators of Serial. I enjoyed it but it was a sad and complex story. I am currently listening to Missing Richard Simmons and LOVING it. I grew up watching Simmons on television, on his infomercials and on Letterman, just thinking he was this loud and crazy dude. But there is this other side to him: he is a carrying, loving and giving individual...with a lot of pain and sadness in his life. I highly recommend it. 
 I don't know what is happening with that face but here is the side-ish view of my dress. 
 So, first week of summer vacay dress, done! I've got a lot more on my To Do list...and currently I am accomplishing very little of it. I'm allowing myself a temporary reprieve because - it's summer! - but after today, I really gotta start whittling away at my summer agenda. 
But first, broccoli! 
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Monday, April 10, 2017

In the Art Room: Stitched Monsters, Update!

Now that Clay Week(s) has come to an end, it's back to business as usual in the art room. In order for all of my kids to work with clay at once, I have the kids "push the pause button" on whatever we are currently working on. That means, after clay week, we un-pause and resume what we left behind. For fourth grade, that meant our Stitched Monsters! Here is the lesson video I created for this project. Feel free to use in your art teacherin' town!
Out of all the projects we have done this year, my kids have ranked this one very close to the top. Clay was a first place winner, of course, but it was a tight race. Many of my students have started sewing at home, bringing in their pillows, monsters and other creations. I remember when I was first introduced to hand sewing as a kid. It felt like a whole new world of creating was opened up to me. I think the kids are feeling the same. 
 I really liked having the kids use Smart Fab for the body as this made it easy for them to see thru and insure they were "capturing" the arms and the legs of the monster as they stitched. Once the stitching was complete and the monster was flipped to the correct side, if they noticed that part of their arm or leg was not securely attached, the kids had to go back and restitch. This really taught them the importance of good, even stitches. 
Once flipped, the kids had to complete a sketch of their monster. This sheet asked them questions about their monsters to really get their creative juices flowing. Once the sketch was done, they were to slide a card into their monster, cut the shapes of the face and glue them down with tacky glue. The card inside made it so the monster would not be glued together. 
Not until the kids started stuffing their monsters did they really seem to understand that they were creating a stuffie. One told me he was going to go home, make a bunch and sell them. Right on, dude! I had many requests to take them home today...but I need them for the art show! Give me a month, y'all.
Have y'all done stuffed monsters with your kids? I know there are may ways to go about making them. 
 Earlier this year, one of my sweet students gave me a small stuffed monster with a rectangular body and dangling arms and legs. That look is what I based this pattern on. 
Learning to sew monsters this way taught my students how to properly pin, stitch and create a monster. I definitely think this is a lesson worth repeating! 
Love to hear about your students stitchery projects! 
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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

In the Art Room: String Art!

Tonight, on Facebook LIVE at 8pm CST, I thought we could talk about how to prepare for a sub. I'll share with you what I do to insure that I'll won't come back to a Hot Mess Express. I'd love to hear your tips. ALSO...I have BIG NEWS about our LIVE chats that I think you are going to love love love! So I'll see you real soon.

My lovely and sweet (ahem) spring-break-ready third graders are starting their string art project this week. We have prepared the boards by painting them (we are using cardboard pizza rounds purchased in bulk via Amazon) and adding texture. We also punctured holes in them to prep them stitching. Next week, we'll sketch out our designs and start stitching. Here's the video I created to introduce the kids to this process. Feel free to use and share in your art teacherin' world.
Even if you don't do this project with the kids, you might wanna watch it for the needle threading trick alone. Or you can just follow me here and catch a short clip.
There are many methods of string art but I'll be introducing my kids to ones that I call Spectrum and Radiating Design. I found the above, the one I call Radiating Design, to be a little more taxing simply because you have to get more yarn to make the lines go all the way around the board. 
This one I'm calling Spectrum. This one is fun because you can use a lot of different colors. It's up to the artist just how much stitching happens within the design. 
 My third graders were at the end of this project when I introduced this new one. So during the second half of one art class, when they were finished with their candy sculptures, I had them quickly color, paint and scrape a texture onto their boards. 
Today, the first half of class, we did this. I had a handful of kids that were absent the day so they worked on coloring and painting while the majority did this. Thankfully, we had this project to also work on. Have I ever told y'all that I have a habit of having the kids work in exactly 37 projects at once? I ain't proud. 
The kids are stoked! I can't wait to share with you what they create. 
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Sunday, February 26, 2017

DIY: Kid-Created Self-Portrait Dress

Last spring, I found this amazing frame-covered fabric and my head just about exploded from excitement. I wish that were an exaggeration but it's really the little things, like AMAZING fabric that get this girl all head-explode-y. I had really wanted my kids to create selfies on it then and debute their work at last year's art show...but between frantically finishing projects and slapping them on the wall, we just ran out of time. Not to mention, we ended up going with a 1950's diner theme and the kids ended up splatter painting my ensemble instead. So there's that...er splat. 
So this year, I decided to just bust the fabric out for my earlier finishers and leave it as an option for them to create on. It seems I have more early finishers with my kindergarten through second grade. Those are the grade levels that contributed the most. I didn't give much direction other than to draw their portrait with a black marker, color it in and do their best. 
In fact, earlier this week when I said, "Remember, please do your best!" 

First grader: Yes, Boogey.
Me: Who in the world is Boogey?
First grader: That's my mama's love name for me.
I laughed and that's when the rest of the class chimed in: Ms. Boogey!
Me: Let's just stick with Mrs. Stephens, okay?
First grader: Okay (whispering)...Boogey. 

There are so many happy memories tied to this dress! 
 On Friday, I had a kindergartener look me up and down and say, "Why do you dress different everyday?!"
Me, knowing full well what he meant but still...: Don't you dress different everyday?
Kindergarten: Not THAT different. 

Touche, kindie, touche. 
When the kids grew tired of drawing themselves, they started to draw me...or me with them. I'm so loving my big hair day on the bottom left. 
When the kids finally finished the fabric this weekend, I was determined to get it stitched up. I really wanna wear it next week at NAEA in NYC. When I told my second graders that I was going to make the fabric they were drawing on into a dress, they were completely stumped...even though we've done this before.

Second grader: Wait. This {pointing to the floor} is gonna be a dress? 
Me: Yes! And a bunch of other art teachers are going to see it.
Second grader: Wait. {is this a new thing? Why am I always "wait"ing?!} Are we gonna be famous then?
Me: Oh yeah. Totally!
And the crowd went wild. 
Many of my kids had colored the IKEA Coloring Book fabric that I stitched into a dress and they know the drill. They love that dress and have so much fun pointing out the spots they colored. It's my favorite dress to wear when I travel to art teacherin' gigs as the folks at airport security seems to know me based on that dress. It doesn't stop them from going through my luggage of oddities tho. 
Final touch: a French hook to close the top of the dress. We'll see if I ever get around to that. Why do the smallest of tasks seem like mountian-moving to me?!
 I love that I didn't give the kids any direction as it really allowed their artistic personalities to shine. I have highly detailed drawings all the way to scribble-ville and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I was so surprised that I knocked this dress out so fast...tho I should't be. This is only the MILLIONTH dress I've created in this style. I cut the fabric Friday night, got the bulk of the work done on Saturday and today I just added the second sleeve (ugh. don't get me started on slllleeeeeeves), put in the zip and stitched the hem.
I think the kids are gonna love this dress!
I know I smile at the little faces on it! 

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