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Sew-In Part Two: First Featherweight Projects
by Ashley Fritsche

Welcome to Part Two of the Sew-In with Nathan and Sayley! Today, the kids are creating custom projects that they have imagined, designed, and sewn - all on their own! Follow along on their captivating journey as they gain knowledge, confidence, and ingenuity.

 

Sew-In with Nathan and Sayley

 

Products used in Sew-In Part Two:

Rotary Cutter

Cutting Mat 12" x 18"

Cutting Ruler 6.5" x 12.5"

Tape Measure

Pencil & Notepad

Fabric Scissors

Thread Cutters

 

Little Miss Sayley decided she wanted to make an exquisite skirt, much like the one she chose to wear for her sewing adventure today. First thing's first, we needed to get her measurements.

Sayley measuring her waist

Measuring her waist! She is so tiny!

Brother helping with the skirt length

Big brother Nathan came in to help with deciding on how long the skirt needed to be. Sayley wanted the full, floor-length style, we compromised on mid-length!

After we took measurements of the waist and length, Sayley wrote down her notes as well as a sketch of her design. Making sure to do her research, she took one of her favorite skirts and examined how it was sewn together!

Sketching

Writing down her waist measurements.

Practicing her cursive by writing her measurements!

Examining her favorite skirt to see how it is made.

She noticed that there are four seams!

Sayley noticed that there was an elastic waist (like she was planning on using!) as well as four seams. Taking all of this into consideration, she is planning on using four panels of fabric, an elastic waist, and hemming the bottom of the skirt.

Nathan knows exactly what he wants to do, create a computer case! Before I could even start suggesting what to measure, he was halfway done! To say he is excited is an understatement. 

Nathan taking measurements

Measuring the length of his computer...

Nathan measuring computer

...and the width.

Nathan dove right into measuring out his project!

Recording all the inches to make his computer case.

After recording the measurements of his computer, Nathan sketched out his idea for the computer case. When he showed me where he wanted to put the "zipper," he noticed that it would not work to have the computer slide in since it would be located right in the middle with no extra material.

 

Round one of the initial computer case concept.

Nathan and I brainstormed different ideas to solve the problem and decided on extending the 10" side cut to 14" and creating a "flap" that will button down over the top! He loves the idea.

Nathan's plans extending the 10" side to 14" and creating a flap. Sketch of Sayley's skirt with a new planned length of 24".

Time to get started cutting now that we have our sketches and measurements! Nathan and Sayley have never used any of the tools we are about to use today: rotary cutter, cutting mat, or ruler. They are going to theorize the best way to cut "large" pieces of fabric on a small mat (with guidance!) and Nathan is up first!

 Ready to make the first cuts.

After folding our fabric, Nathan is going to make his first cuts. Due to how sharp the rotary cutter is, I placed my hand on the ruler to make sure there were no "accidental" slips! I remember my mom always telling me how sharp the rotary cutters were when I was a child learning to sew. That was the first conversation I had with these two kiddos today when the tools came out!

Nathan and I working together on his first cut of fabric!

He is getting much more comfortable after a few "swipes."

Nathan did great! After the first few swipes, he was able to learn the necessary pressure and make the cuts on his own after checking the measurements first.

Nathan making his own cuts

Checking measurements before cutting his fabric.

He was using the rotary cutter all by himself! I was pretty nervous at first, but he did fantastic!

We took a quick little break after Nathan finished up his cuts. Sayley is up next, but we need to get our "focus" back! As you can tell, the distraction was strong by this point! We decided to grab a healthy snack of apples and peanut butter, then start her cutting!

These looks are quite entertaining... I could tell a break was needed at this point!

The headband from the elastic (her soon to be waistband) was a dead giveaway.

I see you too, little girl. Time for apples and peanut butter!

As with Nathan, Sayley needed to learn how to use the rotary cutter, cutting mat, and ruler! She needed to make about the same amount of cuts as Nathan, so they were able to get the same practice in!

The first cuts went great! She had quite a bit of fabric, so I helped her out.

As we were cutting, Sayley learned a valuable lesson, just how sharp the rotary cutters are! She nicked my finger just the tiniest bit, and felt awful about it! Although, the adorable fabric band-aid sure did make up for it! I do not think she will be cutting herself anytime soon!

My custom fabric band-aid courtesy of Sayley. 

Cutting is concluded for the skirt!

The cutting is complete. Now we need to make the four panels. Sayley wanted to use the fabric scissors for this part. We folded the fabric into four even sections, and she cut along the fold.

I think she just wanted to have some fun with the scissors.

Back to the cutting mat we go! The four panels are the same size, but we still wanted to make sure they have even edges and cut off the raw edge!

Great job, little one. Your fabric looks beautiful!

We now have four even panels, ready to be sewn.

The fabric is cut and ready to sew. Sayley and Nathan have done this all on their own (with very little help!) Great job kids!

Sayley is sewing two seams today to get started. We discussed how we are going to be creating her waist on the skirt and researched different options.

She is sewing one of her four seams by aligning two of the long sides, with the right side of the fabric facing each other, and sewing together. Since this is her very first project, we are just getting used to how the machine sews, how to backstitch, and the basics! 

She is doing great and is quite speedy!

Getting toward the end, Sayley sped up and was getting very close to the edge of her fabric. I popped in to help adjust. Aside from this, she sewed the seam all by herself!

After sewing her two seams, Sayley learned that slow and steady wins the race. When she sped up, her seam allowance was not as accurate as when she was going at a reasonable speed. Although it was quite exciting.

Her two seams are done, and might I add, her first two seams ever!

Opening the fabric to see her very first seam.

She is so excited!

Marvelous job, Miss Sayley!

Time to clean up the table, scraps, and swap places! Nathan is up next for sewing his computer case. The kids are so excited. They couldn't help but play in the scrap material. Let's just say they are already planning on what they are making out of the scraps! Our pet rat, Georgie-Peorgie, made a guest appearance for moral support, as well as a few sweet snuggles. His whiskers are getting so crinkly!

The ideas are already forming!

Our companion pet, Georgie-Peorgie, stopped by to help out as well!

Nathan is up! It is so much fun to see how these two are in the different stages of this project. Nathan was so sure of himself in the prepping and planning stage, while Sayley was much more timid and inquisitive. While in the sewing portion, that has totally changed! Sayley is "pedal to the metal" while Nathan is double guessing his work. A little encouragement, and he will be on his way!

Threading the needle and preparing to begin sewing.

Slow but steady, creating a very clean first seam.

Diligently working his way around the case!

He felt most comfortable using the handwheel when doing the backstitch, to make sure the lines were accurate.

Nathan is ready to turn his case out to see his final project. Right before he does this, he turns to me and says how worried he was about making mistakes. This treasured little man has such a tender heart and tries so hard, I could not be more proud, and made sure to let him know! Let's see his reaction to his hard work.

The nerves are kicking in!

 He is shocked and happy at how his computer case turned out!

It looks wonderful! Great job, especially on the first project!

Of course, we need to make sure the computer fits...

 

It fits perfectly and looks terrific!

Great job, Nathan! You did so well and focused on everything that you were learning!

Thank you all for following along on Nathan and Sayley's sewing journey. Next time, they will be continuing their projects, as well as learning proper machine maintenance. See you at the next Sew-In!