Sunday, 16 February 2014

A Four Week Sewing Class

Hello lovely people!

This post is about a four week sewing class I did with Year 5 last year.  I did this class as part of my course work for my teaching certificate.  In this post I will show examples of their work and what we learned over the 4 week period.  I found this experience so much fun and was delighted to have the chance to pass along some of my knowledge.  The children really enjoyed the classes and so did I.  I think all the work produced was fantastic and I am really proud of what they achieved.

Week One
I started by asking the class teacher if I could mentor some pupils who were good or interested in art.  I had asked if the class had done any sewing and if not then this would be a good activity to mentor them in.  As I have a Masters Diploma in Textiles and thought that sharing some of my skills would be an excellent way of contributing to their learning.  It has been shown that art can help children excel in other areas of the curriculum.  It also makes them use the left side of the brain which is more creative.  I asked if the class had done any sewing before and they have done a little but not much.  She let me take a copy of the art curriculum and what they have to cover throughout the year. She agreed and said that it would help some of the class learn to focus more and learn patience.  I could only take 4 pupils to do this activity because any more would be chaos and I wouldn't have enough time to work with each child individually.

We decided to ask the class if anyone would be interested in the class and I had brought in some pieces of my own work to try get some children interested….it worked too well and the whole class wanted to do the sewing group! 
I had brought in some embroidery hoops, sharp sewing scissors, calico fabric, stranded cotton thread and some bits of wool/ribbon.  I had made up some sewing sheets for the children to look at and asked if anyone knew what these stitches were. 

 All hands went up and we worked through the running and back stitch.  The pupils worked well and were very confident when showing off these stitches.  

We moved onto french knots and couching.  The couching stitch took a while to master because they had to hold down wool and sew at the same time.
French knots were a real challenge!  They just couldn't get both hands working together or were getting the thread tangled and pulling it too hard so that the fabric fell out the hoop!  

However with some perseverance we managed to get one person at a time making the knots successfully.  There were many high fives and they were absolutely delighted with themselves!
One pupil excelled in all the stitches and I even managed to show her a few extra ones.  The pupils then took their work back to class and showed the rest of their classmates what they had been learning.  This was my hoop of stitches - 

Throughout the sewing lesson knots needed to be tied on the end of the thread which they found difficult and needles needed threading.  As I am an experienced stitcher I don’t find these tasks hard but for the next week I have purchased a few needle threaders to make this easier and quicker.
The children then wanted to show off their work to the rest of the class and they did a quick presentation and told everyone what each stitch was and passed their work around.  Here are their finished samples - 

Week Two

The children kept asking about cross stitch and how to do it, so I decided that we would do some.  I had started to set up for the lesson and had cut out pieces of aida fabric and had decided to sort out the thread.  The children kept getting it all tangled up and when you are doing cross stitch you need to use stranded cotton which you need to split.  Fearing that we would get all tangled up again and waste time I quickly split a few strands up and placed them in the middle of the table so that they could choose their own colours.

I talked them through what the fabric was called and showed some more examples of cross stitch I have done (you can see these examples on other posts).
This seemed to inspire them and they listened as I taught them how to do a cross.  Then I went round and sat with each child individually and made sure they were sewing them properly.  

Some children were faster than others so I let them got onto learning back stitch and learning how to follow a pattern.  I had made up sheets to help them understand the stitches easier and each child had their own.  They also had an alphabet, a heart and some small designs that I made up.  Another child was doing well and asked if they could make up their own design.  I was pleased that they wanted to try and talked them through how to do it on squared paper and how to highlight the stitches they had completed.

I always let the class teacher see their work and she was delighted at the samples they had made and commented on how well they had picked cross stitch up.  Here are their samples of cross stitch - 

Week Three

Once again I started the class by showing off some of my own work to get them thinking and inspired!  I let them see a tablecloth that my great granny stitched and a vintage sampler I found.  I also let them look at some 3D flowers I made.  I gave the class a choice – we could do some 3D work or we could learn some more stitches.  They decided they wanted to do the 3D work so I set out the ribbons we needed and the needles.

I had them choose their own ribbon or lace and thread colour and we started to do a running stitch on one edge.  Everyone got on well with this task and then I showed them how to pull the thread so that the ribbon scrunched up and made a flower shape.

Once this was done I had them choose their button to put in the centre.  Then they had to decide if they were making a hair clip or a hair band. Everyone wanted to make a hair clip apart from one child, they made a hair band.  I had to set a hot glue gun so I made sure that it was set up on a separate table and I had the children to bring all their bits, one at a time, and I glued them in place.  This was to ensure that no one got burned.
One child asked if they could make a bracelet.  I said of course as long as they tried to work out how to do it themselves and I would help if they needed me.  

After class one child came to me and showed me some bracelets she had made as the lesson we had last week had inspired her.  I was delighted to hear that!  I agreed that they were lovely and was pleasantly surprised that one was for me.  Here are some of their finished pieces - 

Week Four

On the last day of sewing I wanted the children create what they wanted using all the skills they had learned.  So I had brought in some scrap material, ribbon and thread.  I found a material box the school had so I made sure I was ok to let the children use it and had it sitting next to the table.  Before we started I explained that the children would be creating anything they wanted, using all the skills they had learned so far.

As they stitched this child's name I can't show the finished sewing for privacy reasons but they were really lovely and I was so pleased with their progress.

Now we have a craft club at the school and we are teaching all sorts of wonderful projects and how to make them.  So keep checking back to see what we get up to!

Dittery Dot

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