It's been a while since I've sewed with my daughters. With the move, I just haven't had the time. But earlier this year when I first laid eyes on Heather Ross's Tiger Lily collection, I knew that this would give the girls and me something to look forward to. After weeks of hearing little voices ask, "Is it here yet, Mommy?" our package showed up earlier this month, and last Friday we finally sat down to sew.
My girls wanted to make doll quilts for their American Girl friends, so after measuring their IKEA toy beds, I decided we would make simple patchwork quilts using 16 blocks, each a finished 4" square. I cut a stack of squares for each girl which they got to arrange any way they wanted.
It was fun to observe my daughters as they walked through this creative experience, especially since they're at least a year older since the last time we sewed together. They were all big fans of the planning stage. Bunny even brought her doll in to consult on placement decisions. Bear put in a lot of time on arranging before finally coming to me with a brown square and saying, "Mommy, I don't mean to hurt your feelings, but this fabric isn't really my style." We quickly replaced it with something pink. Mouse insisted that she had a matching theme to her quilt, since she tried to make sure that similar designs in different colorways were placed right next to each other.
For the first time, I let Bunny sew by herself at the machine while I watched, and she was so proud. I got to hear all the details about a future sewing room of her own. This girl has big plans, let me tell you.
Bear and Mouse both sat on my lap during their turns, placing their hands over mine while we sewed and quilted together. I let Bear take the wheel for a few seconds here and there, but it was definitely a team effort.
We decided to do a different style of quilting for each quilt. Bunny chose wavy lines, Bear used a zig-zag stitch, and Mouse had simple diagonal lines across the squares. I've found that even though kids can tell their projects apart by the arrangement of the quilt top, it helps to use variety in the quilting designs too.
The bottom line: sewing with kids is not really something you do for relaxation, because honestly, that's not the point. It's always
a challenge to keep little hands away from the hot iron, to explain what a bobbin does for the fifteenth time, to make your peace with a five-year-old's design decisions and the inevitable mismatched seams. But time spent sharing your passion with your children and seeing it become their passion as well...it's time you'll never regret.
Celebrate the end of National Sewing Month by sewing with a kid. I promise, you won't be bored.