Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Sewing with the small ones


Yesterday we spent almost the entire day sewing blankets for my children to give to their bears as Christmas gifts. By rights it should have been a pyjama day, but unfortunately I was already dressed by the time I realised that the day would take on such homebound levels of cosiness...meaning that it was all conducted with an unusual air of respectability and a lack of fear over potential parcel delivery and knocks at the door.


It's a while since I've sewn on the machine with either child and in the interim my daughter has developed a strong perfectionist streak and I knew that she'd no longer be satisfied with making something with mismatched seams. However, it ended up being a completely stress free and happy sewing session for everyone, partly because the following made everything so much easier:
  • It was only a day earlier that I'd read about Lynne's daughter making a wonderful pinwheel cushion and had remembered that Lynne had brought out her Accuquilt cutter so that all the pieces could be cut by her daughter with total accuracy. This is such a good idea for children, and the appeal of laying the fabrics on the dye and then cranking the handle round to send them through the machine doesn't seem to fade with repetition and it made short work of cutting the fifty 2.5" squares used for these blankets.
  • They used a 1/4" foot as a seam allowance guide, so their seams matched up really well.
  • We changed the footplate on the machine to one with a very small needle aperture, to eliminate any potential problems with the tiny fabric pieces being sucked down into the feed dogs.
I was shocked to find that my daughter's general approach to sewing has naturally become one that I've always aspired to: fabrics were packed away as soon as they'd been used, pin cushions were taken along to wherever pins were being removed and thread tails were cut off only when near a bin. What a strange and delightful creature this child is to me!


To finish they backed their bear quilts with a deliciously soft Anna Maria Horner flannel - they sewed the backing and the top face-to-face and then turned them right side out, rather than worrying about bindings (I don't think they would have actually found the bindings worrying...it's more that I'd run out of energy by that point and so didn't present it as an option).

My little boy chose fabrics almost identical to those that I used in the oak tree quilt that I made for my husband last year, while my daughter chose fabrics that remind me of Opal Fruits (now called Starbursts).


After hours of such careful, thoughtful work, both children became completely loopy as soon as they'd completed their quilts and the photo at the top of this post is the only in-focus vision of the finished quilts that was captured. Unfortunately they can't be modelled with the bears in case they detect the softness of the flannel backing and guess what their own Christmas presents are. Obviously.

It's not yet 7am, but I'm already excited about our plans for today. It is a rare thing to force your children to watch television, but today I will be pinning them both to the sofa and insisting that they watch Freaky Friday with me. As children, my sister and I watched this repeatedly and for a while it was our favourite film. Today they are showing the original and very wonderful 1970s version. For my English readers, it's on today at 11.30am on C4...for everyone else, I would implore you to go to great lengths to snaffle a copy out if you haven't already seen it*.

Florence x

* It should be said noted that this is a recommendation from my ten year old self - having not actually watched it for nearly 25 years, it could be dire, but my memories of it are of it being a cinematic masterpiece. A girl wakes up to find herself in her mother's body and the whole day (yes, it's a Friday) becomes totally freaky...it's a wonderful premise for a film, no?

And just in case you missed it the first time, my PDF sewing patterns currently all have 20% off, which will automatically deducted at the checkout. This runs until midnight on Christmas Eve, for those doing any last minute sewing.

11 comments:

  1. Look great! My daughter has been doing something similar but not heard of the acuquilt cutter which sounds like a god send! Thanks for tip. Merry Christmas
    @presentplanners

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  2. What a lovely day you must've had - my daughter and I were busy creating a gingerbread house together yesterday and it's the most Christmassy, fun and satisfying bit of Christmas preparations so far! The bears are bound to be pleased with their quilts - what a clever pair you have there. Can I borrow your daughter in the hope that her tidy sewing ways rub off on me?

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  3. Great tips there re sewing with children, thanks for that. Lovely creations they have made, I bet they were really proud.

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  4. Yes! I LOVE that film *runs off to set the sky+*

    p.s. thanks! x

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  5. How cute ! And what a great result and what a patient mom !

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  6. Love the bear blankets and it sounds like a wonderful day!

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  7. I used to love that film too - is that the version with Jodie Foster in? I seem to recall that I actually read the book before I ever saw the film though.

    Your children are very talented, I hope my children are as keen on sewing as much when they're a little older (they are only 4, 2.5 and 7 weeks at the moment so it might be a big ask to interest them at the moment!).

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  8. Oh, I love that movie. My kids and I love to watch the Disney version. so fun. Love the patchwork quilts your children made. Their seams are impressive.

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  9. Florence, could we come to some arrangement whereby I borrow your daughter to be a tidiness monitor every time I sew something?

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  10. Well done to the kids, but I do hope the bears haven't learned to read yet, or your secret's blown ;o)

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  11. wow your children sew nicer seams than I do.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x