Friday, October 26, 2012

Teaching Kids to Embroider

Lately I've been trying to have our Christmas gifts completely finished so I'm not stressing out anywhere near Christmas time, which is also when my baby is due! Beyond that, I don't want to stress about it at all, or it ruins the whole idea of gift giving for me. So, I've been trying to think of special gifts for my family and special gifts my children could give each other. I want them to really put in some effort and do some thinking as to what their siblings would enjoy. So, Tabs is going to give Mr. Car Man a little stuffed car toy that she has embroidered. She has already made 2 other toys like this because she wanted to learn how to embroider. So, I'm going to show you what we've done and I hope it might be helpful for someone else!

This was Tabs' first project:

 Yup, a red and purple stuffed snail!

Now, this isn't "real" embroidery where you do a back stitch sort of thing and make it look super nice and filled in. I simply had her come up with the needle and go down nearby and come back up next to that. Hey, she's only 6! I think she did really well for a 6-year old. I'm sure when she's more like 8-10 we can work on "real" embroidery. 
Sewing, sewing, sewing.
She earned this embroidery hoop by doing all her chores and schoolwork for several days with a good attitude. You should be able to see that I drew in the snail with pencil on a scrap of muslin I had lying around and then put it in the hoop. I then did this with the needle and thread:
Can you see how it's one piece of thread doubled over with the needle on one end and a knot on the other end? If I just string the needle on the thread with a tail coming out the other side, then she can't stop the needle from sliding off the tail. This way the needle can't come off until I cut the thread for her.
Here's a side view of it now that it's made into a stuffed animal.
I let her choose whatever scrap of fabric she wanted for the back and I sewed it to the muslin with right sides together, leaving a small opening. I turned it right side out, stuffed it with small bits of cotton batting and then hand sewed the hole shut.

She's quite proud of her creation!
So, with the snail under her belt she decided to make a present for Mimi for her recent birthday. It was to be a small teddy bear for Mimi's doll. Below you can see the stitching all done (I helped with the bow).
 Here it is all sewn together.
 And now he's stuffed and ready to be given to Mimi!

 Here is the happy doll with her new teddy.
And the happy, silly birthday girl with the teddy:
I think it was a big hit!

So, now that Tabs is an "expert" in embroidery she's going to make the little stuffed car for her brother, as I wrote before.  As I already had all the thread and fabric on hand these are free gifts. The only cost is putting in the time and effort- which makes the best kind of gift! 

Here's another snail Mimi was going to make, but decided she wasn't interested in, so I finished it:
 Now everyone has a snail (we already had a squeaky snail toy) and they love to have all their snails play together.

I'm sure with a quick google search you can find loads of places that will teach you how to do real embroidery, so I won't bother. Besides, I've never done any real embroidery in my life! ( : One of these days...


  1. I have been teaching my girls to embroider too, but not with nearly as much success as you have been having. I am TOTALLY going to use your method, I absolutely love this idea:) Oh the possibilities! (sheer genius! thank you for sharing)

  2. Yeah, your 6 year old knows more about sewing than I do. That makes me a little sad. But more proud of her! Tell her she's rockin' that hoop!

  3. Impressive! That takes a lot of dedication for a 6 year old to continue through the whole project. I am impressed!

  4. I also am impressed with Tabbie's stick-to-itivenss! What a great thing to teach your children.

  5. So cute! Where do you get your patterns? I too am super impressed with Tabby's mad embroidery skills. I've been terrible at helping my kids develop skills like that, maybe it's time to change that!

  6. I'm probably being really bad and doing something illegal to get the patterns. I just did an image search online for a snail and a bear and found one with really simple lines. I just printed out the images and traced them. Don't be bad like me! I should look into some places that have free patterns or something. Or at least free clip art. One of the pictures I used may have been free clip art, but I don't think they all were. *BLUSH* I'm certainly not making money off the images or anything, but I'm sure it's still wrong to use someone's image without asking first. Just look for FREE clip art!

  7. Sunday I had 5 of my kidlets doing embroidery/practicing, and they loved it! Haven and Noah both embroidered with a needle and colored floss, Mathes stitched together a felt bird with a large sharp needle with yarn, Gracen stitched on Monks cloth with a blunt needle and yarn, and Finn practiced the whip stich and running stitch on a piece of felt with pre-punched holes and a plastic needle and yarn. they all loved it, and are excited to do and learn more. If I can get a minute I will post it on my blog. Thanks Holly! :)


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