My 7 year old, Rowan, got a sewing machine for Christmas. I swear it was something SHE really asked for, not something I pushed/cajoled her into getting (not overtly anyways). Yesterday, I opened up her machine while she was at school and filled a picnic basket with the necessary starting supplies - scissors, pins, some fabric, etc. I put her machine on a small table in the same room I sew in, but purposely set Miss Independent up with her own sewing "land", not too close to mine. She flew in the door from the bus and stopped dead in her tracks when she saw her space all ready to go. She was so excited, she begged to sit right down and sew.
I wish I could blog poetic about how heartwarming this experience was. I really do. But, like most things in our neck of the woods, it was more bittersweet - a trying, painful process, highlighted with a few breakdowns (Rowan) and swear words (me, and only internally I promise). Happily, we ended it on a huge high note when she realized she was done and her blanket was a success.
I gave Miss Rowan a pile of quilt squares I found at a thrift store and tried to stay out of her creative process. Rowan did all the sewing, while I ironed. The little pinning actually done was also done by me, but I had Rowan sit down and watch what I was doing and why. I did sew one of the 4 strips to test out her machine - (Good advice on the machine Mom - it rocks) - but the plan and design were entirely up to her. She decided that she wanted to alternate the colors and did not want to use the same squares twice in her blanket. While I may have suggested we use the fleece as a batting, she wanted to have it be the backing. Far be it to me to dictate or try to ruin her creative process, though I did balk at trying to teach her how to bind at this time. Instead, we just sewed the two right sides together, leaving a small hole to flip it around and then she did some amazing top stitching to close it up. As promised, there were a few breakdowns when her seams went wonky, and she stomped upstairs when a pesky little brother came over to investigate and chewed his apple too loud in her ear. Eventually she returned, though, and the blanked was completed. Originally planned to be for her doll Lulu, Rowan changed her mind and decided the handmade blanket was for her to snuggle with herself.