photos by Jane Schneider
Do you remember how exciting it felt to dream up an outlandish Halloween costume then rifle through old clothes, crafting supplies, and costume remnants to make exactly what you envisioned? This year, we’re reclaiming Halloween for the kids!
Forget hitting the big-box stores for made-in-China costumery. Instead, let your children create their own trick-or-treating attire using fabric, needle, and thread. First-time sewers might need grown-up help, but any kid will relish customizing his or her own costume with fabric in favorite colors and patterns. While our models chose to focus on a super hero theme, you can adapt any of these projects for other costume ideas. Your child might choose to make a bad-guy mask to go with a Western vest and cowboy hat, or an ermine cape to match a royal crown and scepter. Let your imagination run wild!
Project patterns are provided online at http://www.storey.com/files/sewing-school-sample.pdf . Just print and cut out patterns (please don’t use your sewing scissors to cut paper) to begin. We recommend that beginning sewers use tapestry needles and non-divisible craft thread, as both are easier to manipulate than regular needle and thread.
• For more on children’s sewing, refer to our books, Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make and Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing, both available from Storey Publishing, or our blog, sewingschool.blogspot.com.
Super Hero Mask
Conceal your identity with this easy and fun mask.
Materials Needed: Felt square or fleece ¾ inch wide elastic
1. Use chalk to trace the mask pattern onto the felt. Cut out the felt piece.
2. Fold in each end of the fabric towards the middle. Cut a notch for the eyeholes. Carefully cut out each eyehole. Larger holes are better for seeing clearly while trick-or-treating.
3. Measure and cut elastic band to fit around your head from eye to eye. Sew on the ends of the elastic to each side of the mask. Use a running stitch to make an X to hold the elastic in place.
4. Decorate your mask with felt scraps, and get ready to be in disguise!
Super Hero Cuff
These cuffs are sure to ward off bad guys while scoring lots of candy.
Materials Needed: Felt scraps, one at least 9 inches long Button
1. Use chalk to trace the cuff pattern onto the felt. Cut out the felt piece.
2. Sew the button on to one end of the cuff.
3. Now, wrap the cuff around your wrist. Use chalk to mark the felt where it covers the button. Cut along the line to make a buttonhole.
4. Time to be a superhero! Cut out felt shapes for decorating the cuff, then sew them on.
Super Hero Emblem
What is your super power?
Materials Needed: Felt or fabric for emblem
1. Draw your emblem onto paper and cut it out to make a pattern. Cut out the emblem.
2. Using chalk, trace the emblem onto fabric. Cut out the fabric emblem.
3. Position the emblem onto your cape or costume. Sew on the emblem with a running stitch. Add details with extra stitches, buttons, trims, or fabric pieces
You’ll be flying in no time with this quick cape.
Materials Needed: Fabric for cape Ribbon Ruler
1. Using chalk, draw a flat topped A-shape on the fabric. The top should be about 12-inches long and angle down the sides.
2. Cut a piece of ribbon 14-inches long.
3. Sew each side of the ribbon onto the top corners of the fabric. Use a running stitch to make an X on the ribbon.
4. Try your cape on and get flying!
Tip: You can also cut the ribbon in half and tie the ends together.
The friends behind Sewing School
Amie Plumley and Andria Lisle are in stitches. The two are laughing about how their sewing venture led them from the classroom to the bookstore. As friends, they are close, so close that they often finish each other’s sentences. Amie, the mom of two and a kindergarten teacher at Grace St. Luke’s, initially recruited Andria to help assist with her summer sewing camp. Andria works as a journalist at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, but she grew up loving to sew.
As they brainstormed on sewing projects, they began to develop their own patterns and style and soon realized there weren’t any books that had their funky, kid-centric approach. “I thought, ‘We can teach a class of 20 kids to sew, but what about the rest of the world?’” Amie says, flashing a playful grin.
Amie understands how kids learn and what they can manage at specific ages; Andria is the wordsmith, ensuring their prose is both precise and consistent. Together, they make a dynamic duo.
“It’s not magic,” notes Andria. “It’s having a practical idea and working it.”
The resulting books offer doable sewing projects (by hand and machine) that allow kids to use their imaginations to produce stuffed friends, Valentine bags, pillows, and more. Finding success often comes down to having the right tools so beginners don’t get frustrated. “For most kids, sewing is another art form. Boys like to sew to make things that are useful.” Amie’s son makes pouches he can wear on his belt. “Many people think kids want everything digital,” she says, “But kids like making something out of their head.”
Now, other schools are asking how they can create their own club. It’s easy, say these two: just pick up the book and get sewing. — Jane Schneider
Andria Lisle and Amie Plumley