Sewing Education of E! Embroidery Edition

by Ramona on April 27, 2012

In this post by ASG member Sue Slottke, her granddaughter E learns to Embroider… and make a place mat!  Read on and be inspired to pass your sewing skills (and sewing obsession) to another generation. It’s such a good thing to do — Samina

I had the opportunity to take some time off work while the grands had spring break. E, my oldest grand wanted another sewing session.  This time she wanted to learn how to use the embroidery machine! Okay… well, she’s pretty good at threading the Viking so I thought we’d give it a shot with the Brother. She picked out a few spools of variegated embroidery thread to use. She and I had some trouble with the automatic needle threader. Drat!

We found stabilizer and some white-on-white cotton fabric, and I showed her how to hoop everything.  She picked a one color design, a butterfly, since the thread color would change automatically with her selection of variegated thread. Little sister thought watching the multicolored butterfly appear was very cool. When the design was done E removed it from the machine and clipped threads. Then she went on to pick another design and another thread color. Much discussion ensued about what would look the coolest.

Sewing on an embroidery machine is pretty easy!! But sometimes things do go wrong. 🙁 .  This is her first ever thread nest!!

E did four more designs, including her initial in gold in a scroll-type font. We talked about how to use these squares in a project. She decided to make a place mat. For a pattern she pulled one from the linen closet.  From the fat quarter bin she chose a lovely piece of blue plaid that coordinated with most of the embroidery thread she had used. She used a pair of scissors to rough cut a large rectangle for the center, and I finished up with the rotary cutter. (I think rotary cutters are just a bit dangerous for a beginner, especially with a little sister running around!) This kept little A busy for a while!

I also trimmed out the embroideries.

E took some time to arrange her embroidered squares in a pleasing layout, and assembled her place mat top. Next we went to the ironing board. Oh-oh!! Even though we were being very careful, accidents sometimes happen, and she touched the hot iron with the back of her finger.  We took a break for some ice in a baggie for the burn, and had a beverage. After the sting wore off, she decided that it was time to read a book for a while. Mom came home and we stopped for dinner.

Next day we returned to the project. E had chosen a white fabric with multicolored dots for a backing. She pinned it up, and we discussed how to sew almost all the way around, leaving a hole for turning the project. She remembered having done this way back when she made her little dog blanket last year, so she happily worked her way around the edges, pulling out the pins as she sewed, stopping to pivot at the corners.   She turned it right side out without assistance. Once it was turned, I pressed it. Not wanting another burn, E declined another trip to the ironing board! I showed her how to use the edge stitch foot to close the gap in the seam. Voila!

This is one very lovely place mat! And one happy grand, with a success in the sewing room.

Things to remember:

  • It’s fun to choose your own ‘ingredients’.
  • Build on previous knowledge.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new.
  • Accidents happen. Be careful but be prepared.
  • It’s OK to take a break.
  • Make it FUN!!
  • Be proud of the finished product.

Happy sewing!

Sue and E

Clever child, that E!  Thanks to Sue, E and A for letting ASG document the development of a sewing enthusiast. We are so happy to follow you along. Time flies and before we know it, E may be ready to sew her own prom dress and then  — her wedding dress?!!

Samina, American Sewing Guild,  follow us on Twitter  @SewingGuild


Donna Carroll April 27, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I enjoyed reading this because I have recently started teaching my granddaughter how to use my sewing machine. I think she is ready to learn how to use my embroidery machine also, but wasn’t sure what she should make.
The idea of putting her stitchouts into a place mat is a gtood one and I think I will have mine do the same.
Thank you for sharing this great idea

Sue Slottke April 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Sample embroideries made wonderful appliques on garments, purses, small bags, etc. You can use them for quilt blocks too. I use nice fabric for backgrounds, and make sure to use a large enough piece so it’s easy to put into another project.

Embroidery machines are really easy for kids if you keep the designs simple and the thread changes to a minimum. Hoop, thread, push the go button and you’re good!

Have fun with it!

Leslie April 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Yay for E! The placemat turned out great!
love the line “Much discussion ensued about what would look the coolest.” I have an 11 yr old who is sewing now – and that is a very important aspect of sewing around here! :o)

Samina May 3, 2012 at 1:00 am

Thank you all for the comments (& keep commenting). We’re eagerly waiting for the next installment of E’s sewing education! I wonder what she’ll make next………….

Karen May 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Great way to get your daughter involved in more things. Its good to see parents understand and respect the importance of education.

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