Half term is over now - how was your week?
|The biggest girl sat at the Singer, making a shirt for her mouse, `Crumbs'|
|The shoe box that got turned into a wardrobe, thanks to the middle girl (aged 6)|
Back to the topic...
|The biggest girl made this, and called it a `Celebrate Britain' dress (!)|
Sewing featured strongly in my childhood. Be it Mum going back to college (to get formal qualifications for all the things she seemed to be able to do already) and making her own tailored collection; standing on the dining room table, complaining as she pinned the hem on something she was making for me to wear; the house being full of dance costumes, ready for the majorly exciting to me dancing show (that was how Mum paid for my own lessons), and, not to forget, all the bags of scraps that I was allowed to delve into and make things with.
|The middle girl made `Princess Polly', and here she is in her Strictly outfit, made at Grandma's|
These mice were one of her favourites. (She'd like to make the felt guinea pigs with dinosaur outfits next.)
The mice were too tricky for them to manage alone - so they didn't get frustrated and give up, I said I'd do most of the work on the bodies, and they could do the clothes on their own. This worked out pretty well - after making the first mouse, I made the next ones slightly bigger, as the limbs were a pain to turn out and stuff. For a crazy couple of hours, I was sewing as fast as I could, trying to finish the mice before Charlotte woke up from her lunchtime sleep. Meanwhile, the girls did the bits they could - they stuffed, and they hand stitched the tails and the features on their mice. By the time we got round to thinking about clothes, and doing something constructive with the bag of scraps that was now strewn all over the dining room floor, Charlotte was awake, and it quickly became clear we needed to close the door on the `sewing room', resolve to eat our tea in the kitchen, and wait for the next day.
Sewing with children of different ages isn't easy. Part of me would rather they all watched TV, or went off and played their own games and gave me some peace. (There was plenty of that in our half term, too.) But, I want them to share the joy I get from being able to sew. With grotty weather, and time on our hands, last week seemed like the right time to grit my teeth, pretend I am a patient person, and get on with it. I often had to take a deep breath, and remind myself this is meant to be fun for them - that them all demanding my attention at once is just them being keen to succeed at something new and exciting but not knowing how and wanting help to get there. Each of them in turn, needed to be firmly asked to go off and find stuff to play and do on their own, so that someone else could get the one to one help they needed.
This all sounds a bit negative. It wasn't - it was really enjoyable in the end, once they got the hang of some basics (meaning I wasn't endlessly threading needles), and, as soon as they started getting their first whiffs of success (such as the moment the biggest girl finished sewing her mouse a face, above) they were hooked. I know that the mice will probably end up lost and forgotten at some point, and they may not remember making the mice - but I am hoping we've made some decent steps towards making sewing something they can begin to enjoy independently. I'm counting it as a success that they can all now thread a needle, do a few basic stitches and tie off.
|`Princess Polly' in her dress (it matches the beloved blankie the middle girl has)|
|`Sidney' the mouse, in her dress made by the littlest big girl (aged 5)|