Thursday, 2 August 2012

Club Day. The Nature Version. Volume 1, Issue 3

Today at Nature Club we did a very simple craft.  Jaelyn and I made fabric bookmarks that the Nature Clubbers then decorated using their favorite bits of nature as stamps with fabric paint.  Here's how we made the bookmarks:

Gather materials:
  1. Each bookmark needs two pieces of 8 inch x 4 inches fabric.  We used a plain natural linen for the front of the bookmark and pieces from my scrap stash for the back. (*)
  2. We ironed the fabrics before sewing.
Sew bookmark:
  1. Place the linen and patterned fabric right sides together. (*)
  2. Starting about 2/3 of the way along the short edge, start to sew, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Be sure to lock the stitches in place by reverse stitching.
  3. At each corner, keep the needle down, pivot the fabric, then continue sewing.
  4. Once you get to the edge where you started, only sew the first 1/3 - do not sew all the way to where you started.  You will need this gap between where you started and where you finished to turn the bookmark right side out.  Be sure to lock the stitches again.
  5. Clip the corners of the bookmark by cutting off a triangle at each corner.  Only cut the seam allowance and not the seam itself!  This will reduce bulk at the corners. (*)

   6.  Turn the bookmark right side out by first pushing the corners closest to the gap through the hole, then pulling the rest through.  Use a chopstick to push the corners out as well as possible. (*)

    7.  Press the bookmark, making sure that the raw edge where the gap was is turned inside the bookmark. (*)
    8.  Topstitch around the bookmark once again, making sure the gap is sewn shut.  We topstitched about a 1/4 inch from the edge. 

(*) denotes steps that a child can help with, if they don't already know how to use a sewing machine.  Jaelyn, who is 6, helped by picking out the fabric, measuring it, selecting the thread to use and threading the machine and the bobbin, clipping the corners, and turning the bookmark inside out.  She also sat on my lap to move the presser foot up and down, and start the machine.

Decorate bookmark:
  1. The children took a good look at all the things growing in our backyard and selected their favorites, which were flowers and leaves.  We tried to find the flowers in our wildflower book.
  2. The children selected the fabric paint they wanted to use.  We tried two methods of applying it to their bit of nature.  One method was painting the item itself.  The other was putting the paint on a plate so they could use it like an inkpad.  Both worked equally well.  We did learn that flowers with long petals are tricky to get covered in paint, as they want to fall off the flower due to the weight of the paint!
  3. The painted item was the pressed onto the linen side of the bookmark.  We needed to be sure that all parts of the item were pressed down well so all the paint would transfer to the fabric.
  4. We then left the bookmarks to dry while we went and played at the playground.

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