A sewing room is fraught with sharp and hot objects. Not exactly the most friendly of places for little ones. But, I love planning a project to sew with preschool/kindergarten age kids once in a while. Not only do they get to try something new, but they get a taste of what I like to do! With little ones, it can be tricky to find a very simple project that they can help design and really sew. This pillow was a hit with my kids, especially my six-year-old.
The trick to a successful experience with little ones is preparation! Don’t give them a second to get distracted and start messing around where they aren’t supposed to. Before even thinking about bringing the kids in to sew, I had everything laid out and ready to go. Here’s what you need:
- 2 squares of fabric for the pillow front and back. I cut mine 9 x 9.
- Fun printed quilting cotton that kids would like to cut shapes out of. I looked for fabric with stand alone images that can easily be cut around.
- Fusible backing. In the photo I show Misty Fuse, but a better choice for this project would be something with a stronger hold like Wonder Under, or better yet, Heavy Duty Wonder Under. You can check out The Great Fusible Experiment for a rundown of fusible web holding power.
- Needle and thread
- Fabric Markers – completely optional for this project, but my 6 year old asked to bring these out to jazz up the pillow even more.
Time and Location:
This is definitely a sewing room project and doesn’t take too long. The prep time was about 15 minutes and we were done with the whole project in about 1/2 an hour.
Getting Ready for the Kids:
- Fuse your fusible web to the back of your fun prints according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- Keep that iron on and lay out scissors, fun fabric, and pillow front for the kids to start with.
- Have your sewing machine threaded and ready to sew and thread a needle for hand sewing.
All little steps, but makes the whole process so much easily. When you aren’t futzing with threading a needle for them, the kiddos don’t have time to start pulling ribbon off spools or rummaging through fabric boxes….hopefully!
Here you go:
Let the kids cut out shapes from their printed fabric to put on the front of their pillow. Once they have cut out a number of prints show them how to arrange them in a pattern or design of their choosing.
Fuse the pieces to the pillow front. Clearly this is an adult job! Make sure you fuse these really well. You aren’t going to be stitching the raw edges of the appliqué down, unless you want to make something that will really last. So poorly fused fabric will come right up! This is one of the reasons I like a fusible with a heavy duty hold for this project.
Allow extra decorating time for those kids who get excited about the project. Fabric markers are always fun!.
Now sew the pillow front to the pillow back. This is an adult job, but one where the kids can help! Place the right sides of the pillow front and pillow back together. Sew around all sides with about a 3/8 seam allowance. Leave a 3 to 4 inch gap on one side for turning the pillow inside out. This was a great opportunity for me to let the kids see how sewing machine worked. Sewing around the little pillow was quick enough that they didn’t get bored watching. My guys were too young to do the actually sewing. But, I let each of them control the foot pedal for part of the stitching. They really enjoyed that!
Back to kid steps – Show your kiddo how to turn the pillow right side out, poke out the corners, and stuff with fiberfill. As you can see from the blurry photo, there was lots of excitement and frantic stuffing of pillows at my house!
Now for sewing it shut. For little guys who aren’t interested in stitching, you can machine stitch the pillow closed. I did this for my two-year-old who was clearly way too young for this whole project, but wanted to be included. For the other two, I pinned the opening shut and showed them how to whipstitch. Having a needle and thread ready to go definitely help speed things along. I was surprised how even my four-year-old picked up what to do very quickly!