So this year my daughter decided that she wanted to make all of her Christmas presents for our family. Score! (insert crafty mom happy dance here)
The thing she wanted to make for her little brother was a Thomas the train (tank engine? Whatever, semantics.) blanket. He's obsessed with this show, even sings the theme song in a very silly British accent. We both knew he's love this gift, but the kicker was that she wanted to sew it herself. I knew I needed to come up with a project she could do at five years old, but that would still be perfect enough to make her happy. Because she's her mommy's daughter and we like perfect, dang it! So today we're going to show you together how to make your own easy fleece blanket, the perfect craft to teach your child to sew:
1-2. We took her to the store and she chose two different kinds of fleece, one for the back and front of the blanket (2 yards of each)
3. I laid both lengths of fleece on the ground one on top of the other, right sides out. If you can, keep your kids from leaving crumbs all over it pretending it's a "picnic blanket."
4. Obviously the unevenness of these two identically cut pieces of fabric is a good lesson in never trusting that fabric is cut perfectly straight off the bolt. You should lay your fabric out and see where the pieces are uneven in length or width. And once again, picnic blanket = dirty Christmas present!
5. Cut the odd bits of fleece so that all the edges match. This is a great fine motor skills activity for kids, as cutting fabric is much more difficult then paper, just be careful they only cut fabric! Hair, the rug, little brothers...all should be off limits!
6. Another great fine motor skills activity is having your child pin the edges of the blanket together. We're not doing any fancy seams or sewing inside here, this is fleece and won't unravel, so we're going to simply sew through your two layers with the right sides of the fabric facing out.
7. Now that you've got your pins in, you can use them as a rough guide to show your child where to sew. I made sure to show my daughter all the levers and dials and buttons on the machine first, which is why if you look closely at picture #8 you'll see that the panel on the front of my sewing machine has been removed. I wanted to show her how to thread the machine and this was the easiest way!
8. Sewing with kids can be kind of awkward. My daughter isn't quite tall enough to use the pedal on my sewing machine, so she sat on my lap and I ran the machine for her. My legs went numb but she was able to do all the guiding of the fabric herself this way, and operate the machine, so it was worth it to not be able to feel my feet.
9. We just did four simple straight lines to make this super simple, right through the pins, about two inches from the edge of the blanket. That's it, you're done!
She was so proud of herself! And the result was a very cute blanket that was appreciated by her brother to no end. I think we might try one of these next time one of her friends has a birthday as well. If you're looking for more ideas for sewing with or for kids you can check out our kids page here. Have fun sewing!