My lads are 9 and 7.5 years old and have never before attempted a sewing project - in fact they call any sewing process ‘knitting’ so they’re pretty far from ‘informed’!
I felt it was time to let them loose with a needle and thread, and so with a spare hour last weekend we embarked upon a fairly simple but fun little gingerbread man kit. We were all delighted with the results and the boys are keen to try their hands at tree decorations next. Apparently sock-darning doesn’t sound as fun. Shame.
If you fancy giving this gingerbread challenge a go, follow these simple instructions:
You’ll need a needle and thread suitable for a child to use - we used embroidery floss thread in a contrasting colour, and found a sharp-point needle with a large enough eye to fit the thread through. Brown felt. Random buttons.
1. Draw a gingerbread man shape on a piece of paper - your pattern. Avoid any tricky flourishes and don’t draw it too small or it’ll be difficult to sew.
2. Using the pattern as a guide, cut out your gingerbread man shape twice from brown felt.
3. Sew on the eye buttons, mouth and anything else you want on the front of the man (we added a sweet little red felt heart).
4. Using running stitch (or blanket stitch if the child is a little more capable/ambitious) to sew the two felt pieces together, leaving a gap before you close-up that is large enough to poke stuffing into.
5. Add stuffing to the inside of your character. We used some washed and carded top fleece - a biodegradable alternative to the more common synthetic stuffing material.
6. Close up and admire.
Though I admit to having rethread the needles on multiple occasions and unpicked a section that had ‘gone wrong’, the boys made these largely themselves. They learned running stitch, opening and closing a run of stitching, sewing on buttons and how to thread a needle. They're super proud of their creations and now know the difference between sewing and knitting. Small steps, but forward motion - and a grand way to spend an hour.
I wonder if they’d be more enthused about darning if their Christmas stockings had holes…?!