For our last co-op Sewing Club project for the older students we chose a simple nine patch quilt square that they will make into a pillow.
To introduce/aid the students in laying out their design, I made these miniature “quilt boards”. I cut numerous 1 1/2″ squares of the three fabrics we would be using and then cut 4″ squares of off-white felt for each student to use as their pattern board. We talked a little about patterns and color value and then gave them 5 squares of each color and let them experiment. (Side note: This is an addictive activity and I can see me turning it into a “quiet book” page in the near future. I would need to stabilize the squares with iron on interfacing, so they could stand up to frequent handling.)
After they settled on a design, they “copied” it onto a 14″ piece of felt with the actual squares they would be sewing. This will keep their pattern in order as they sew piece to piece and row to row.
With the fabric/pattern selection done, we then reviewed the running stitch, focusing particularly on how to achieve the smaller-sized stitches they would need to make strong seams. So in addition to helping them draw a 1/4″ seam allowance stitching line, we also directed them to divide that line into inches with a short perpendicular line. The goal was to get 5-6 stitches per inch and then one back stitch before continuing on. They caught on quickly to this and could consistently achieve the “goal”. We also directed them to “weave” 2-3 stitches on their needle, before pulling the thread through to keep their stitching line straight. (One of the girls liked when I said “take several bites of your fabric, before pulling your thread through.” 🙂 )
All in all, it was a good start and we are all looking forward to next week.