28 April 2008

"Stitch It Together" Try-It for Brownies

Honestly, this would've been an easier Try-It for us to do at home, but that can't be said for everyone in AnnaBeth's Brownie troop. So, it ended up as a troop project. The girls made doll quilts.

We were instructed to get fabric and cut out 6 squares of 8" by 8", and a backing of 16" by 24" (yes, quick math show that this isn't really correct, as you have seam allowances, but I guess the woman in charge decided it was the easiest way to explain it to everyone, or maybe she didn't feel like doing the math herself -- I never know in these situations). We also purchased some buttons.

Those who were unable to purchase their own fabric had some provided for them.

We happened into a sale at JoAnn's on quilting fabric and buttons.

(Picture is yellow because it was taken on the dining room table in winter.)

At the meetings the girls sewed on the buttons on one square (task #2, Button Collage) and embroidered designs on another square or 2 (task #3, Embroidery). Did I mention that there are about 20 girls in our troop? So, that's 20 kids in 1st through 3rd grade who are trying to figure out how to sew on buttons and how to embroider (and we didn't have hoops, which added to the challenge). And, yeah, we have heavy parental involvement, but an amazing number of the parents have little idea how to sew on a button or how to embroider. It was ... intense. The troop provided the needles, thrjead, scissors, and embroidery floss (I think the floss was donated by someone who had gobs of DMC that the labels had fallen off of; actually, AnnaBeth took some of our from home so she knew she had a color she liked).

After decorating some of the squares with buttons and embroidery, the girls brought all 6 squares to the sewing machines. What sewing machines? Why, the ones lugged in by some of the moms. I took my old Viking, which is absolutely awesome for this task since it has a "low gear" in which you CANNOT sew quickly no matter how much you stomp on the pedal (another plus is its nice carrying case, but a minus is that it weighs about as much as my car). Working closely with the sewing machine mavens, each girl sewed together at least some of her squares. Well, if she wanted to. If she was really timid, she was welcome to just watch while being talked through what was going on. At least, the kids who were with me got talked through it -- my experience teaching Thalia and AnnaBeth to sew merged with my years of library reference work teaching university freshmen how to use the online card catalog, and I was in the ZONE about explaining what we were doing and why. (task #6, Patch It All Together) The seams were ironed flat by the adults; someone had brought in an iron, and a little ironing station was set up.

The troop provided batting. The completed 6 squares were laid on top of the batting and the backing, and sewn together (sometimes by Brownies, sometimes not) leaving a gap for turning. All quilts were turned, and the girls were given needles and thread to whip the gap closed (task #5, Sew What?)

Okay, admittedly some of these tasks aren't spot on how they're written in the Try-It book, but we took at least 3 meetings to do this, and the kids really did work quite a bit on stitching skills.

A finished product.

Thalia thought it was such a cool concept that she got some fabric to make one, too.


Ami said...

I think it's wonderful!

I'm at the stage I always end the program year with... total 'why do I bother with this' burnout.

Want to come teach my girls to sew something?

Anonymous said...


My Daughter's Brownie toorp is working on this Try-It beginning tonight. Wish I had thought of making dolly blankets with them, it is really cute.


km said...

This looks like such a fun project. 2 years ago in VBS I was astonished at how many 1st-3rd graders couldn't tie a simple knot. So, I guess it doesn't surprise me that some of the moms weren't much help. I'm sure the troop is very grateful for moms that lug in heavy sewing machines.

Staci at Writing and Living said...

I've been sewing for a long time, but when I got to the "20 kids 1st through 3rd grade" I had to lie down.

It's kind of an unwritten rule among the women of the family that sewing and knitting lessons don't begin until age 9, due to fine motor development. It might have something to do with the mama's sanity, but who's to say.

Tara said...

I love the colors. This is so cute!
I can't even begin to imagine doing this project with that many inexperienced children at once....