Sewing with My Daughter!


For many of us sewers/crafters, a good day is getting to have some quality time with our sewing machine, embroidery machine, hot glue gun, you know, some time getting to be creative.

For me, that is definitely a good day.  But, a GREAT day is getting to be creative WITH my daughter/s!  And that is what happened yesterday afternoon.

My youngest daughter, age 13, asked if we could make an ugly doll, referring to McCall’s pattern 5826 that she recently found in my pattern stash.  A request to which I replied, “YES!!!!!  Let’s go pick out some fabric!”

We had a good time at the store, hunting for fabric, crazy button eyes, etc.

Here’s the pattern we’re using:

McCall's 5826

Along with polyester fiberfill and decorative notions, these dolls take 1/2 yard of 45″ wide fabric.  Recommended fabrics are:  cotton, cotton blends, novelty fabrics, fleece, short pile fleece, short pile fur, velour.  Felt is recommended for the doll’s face pieces.

My daughter chose a baby corduroy for the body and some white felt for the face….  He’s not quite finished yet, but I wanted to show you our progress so far.

First she decided on her doll’s body type.

Then she chose the style of ears, arms, and legs she wanted him to have.  (His name is Alex.)

Once she had selected all of his individual body parts, we traced them off, cut them out, and taped them together to make our own pattern.  We worked as a team and it was done in no time.

Here’s our pattern & fabric!  Isn’t Alex a cutie?

Next, she pinned the pattern to the fabric and cut him out using her good fabric scissors.  (If you want to sew with a child who is very young or not that in to sewing yet, be open to doing the cutting for them.  Otherwise they may get burned out before you ever get to the sewing machine.)

Once his body was all cut out, she designed his face and sewed on his mouth.  (You’ll get to see the finished Alex in the next post.)

In the meantime…

After she cut out Alex’s body pieces, she laid them right sides together and pinned all around to keep the fabric from shifting as she sewed.  She opted to use her 1/4″ presser foot with guide to make easy work of putting this guy together with 1/4″ seams.

She made sure to leave an opening on the right hand side of his body so she could turn him right side out later.

Once he was all stitched up, she used a 5″ pair of embroidery scissors to clip all of the curves.  She clipped “Up To, but not Through, the threads.”

This guy has LOTS of curves.

Here he is so far:

All she has left to do is to:

  • turn him right side out
  • stuff him however much she wants
  • use a slip-stitch to hand sew his side-seam opening closed
  • hand sew on his button eyes
  • snuggle!

We’ll be sure to share pictures of her finished project, our “newest addition” to the family soon!

Note to Moms and /or Grandmas:  Having sewn with many, many younger students, I have this humble advice to share:

When you are sewing with a child or young person, unless they ask for your creative input, try to let them be in control of all the creative decisions for their project. It shows them that you trust their creative expression and prevents unnecessary friction during your time together.   If you really wish they had chosen the other ears or different arms etc., and it’s bugging you to distraction, maybe you could sew along with them and make a doll just for you.

That’s all for now!

Thanks for reading.

T-shirt quilt part 3 coming soon!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego: StitchinJenny

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