“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”
– Pablo Picasso
Last Saturday afternoon it was just V and I.
Stella and Stephen were out of the house – at a Frozen-themed five-year-old birthday party.
Do you want to pull out the sewing machine?, I asked.
Veronica got a sewing machine for her seventh birthday from my parents and we had yet to use it. One-on-one time to work on school-age projects is hard to come by with a younger sister underfoot.
The time beckoned. This was the time.
Her eyes widened.
What do you want to make?, I continued, thinking she’d want to dive into the simple dress kit my mom had arranged as part of her gift. Or one better, an A-line skirt – my go-to project.
Shit. A bunny? You sure you don’t want to start with an A-line? I held back my plea.
Instead I googled bunny patterns and we stumbled upon this site.
Here are the steps we followed:
- Copy the pattern. Our printer wasn’t working so it was an opportunity to teach V about symmetry. It was a lesson in folding paper à la hot dog and hamburger to save a step and make sides match.
- Choose the fabric. This summer, my sister, who is a talented seamstress, gave Veronica a box full of remnants. Sister who frequently sews = free remnants for us! The second bunny we created was knit – upcycled from a unwearable dress due to a scissor-cut hole (V’s doing in pre-K).
- Pin the pattern on the fabric.
- Cut it out.
- Teach basic techniques: I’m a teacher by profession, so teaching is what I love to do. It was so fun to share with V what I know about matching patterns when pinning fabric and how to avoid running over a finger with the sewing-maching needle.
- Express creativity: I am not a skilled seamstress, nor can I produce clothes that look just like ready-to-wear, but I can sew a mean A-line skirt. And that’s the thing. Crafting is simply about bringing more creativity into your everyday life. If you can’t find it in the stores, this is your medium to make it. Why would anyone buy clothes, when you can make them?, V said. I like the way you think, baby girl.
- Swap stories: When you do things with your child that you did as a youth, it’s amazing the stories that surface and the questions they ask. I come from a long line of crafters on my maternal side – great grandmother, grandmother, mother, brother, sister, aunts and cousins. My mother taught my next door neighbor and I how to sew a pair of shorts in the ’80’s, likely around V’s age. Now it was her turn to start her own story.
- Swat Away Perfectionism: I’m a recovering perfectionist and V has a streak of perfectionism. Slip ups in sewing are frequent, so you learn quickly that mistakes happen and to breath, to roll with them. Either that curse the machine because the tread keeps popping out of the needle.
- Take It All In: My favorite part was watching her lively creativity open up. This was a “I-love-to-watch-you-play” moment. Her eyes glowed with inspiration as she asked to create a skirt (an A-line – yes!) and a shawl for the bunnies. She wondered what they might like to wear for Halloween or Christmas or perhaps even watching the Packer game.
Her last step was to find a home for her bunny. She pulled out a shoebox from her closet, placed stuffing and fabric on the bottom for their bedding and completed their abode with their bunny clips and some writing tools (a girl after my own heart).
Veronica’s ideas grew and grew with this project. Her magical smile was wide this weekend hanging with her bunny. She took the bunnies for a ride (below), was geeked to show off her project to my friends – who glowed and praised her project – and then to bring her bunny to school to show her friends.
Would you make this bunny?
Per the website author’s suggestion it would be a cute idea for baby gift – insert a small rattle, bits of lavender, or a musical box inside. Maybe this is our next enterprise.
After V fulfills the orders she’s promised to a bunch of her school friends.
P.S. If you haven’t read it yet, check out my grandma’s rules for happiness. That woman was fierce.
Ciao for now.