CraftLAB – Journal Covers

In addition to private sewing lessons, I host a monthly CraftLAB for a small group of ‘tween stitchy friends. These kiddos either live in my neighborhood or are children of friends and former co-workers. Our sessions last about 60-75 minutes and projects are usually make & take. Some are sewing, some are STEAM related and some are seasonal crafts. I keep a folder of ideas clipped from magazines or freebies I find online. We also look at some kid-specific sewing books such as those from Sewing School. Their current favorite sources of projects are Get Set, Sew from Jane Bull or projects from Curious Jane magazine. Sometimes the kids simply tell me what they want to make. My job is to figure out how to make it, then write the steps/directions so a 5th grader can be successful with the project.

CraftLAB serves the same purpose as the weekly Stitching Stallions sewing club at school did. It allows me to test out ideas and fine-tune projects. I also learn what does/doesn’t work with the kids. This helps inform future classes and lessons that are taught outside of CraftLAB. The journal project was suggested by a private student. She selected the type of journal she wanted to make. I found a free tutorial on YouTube that I used as base to develop the directions. My CraftLAB kiddos saw her journal and wanted to make one for themselves. I tweaked those directions and the journal construction worked much better. I imagine this could also turn into a future kid’s class at the SQTM. Tip: If you want to get this journal done in 90 minutes, then kit everything – including cutting pieces and fusing the interfacing ahead of class. Figure out a solution to help kids keep a consistent 1/2″ seam allowance in advance. I found a sliding guide foot worked best OR a seam guide that runs the length of the machine bed. If you run a weekly after-school sewing class or homeschool group, you can easily extend this project over 3 sessions. Prepare paper patterns from freezer paper and allow students to cut everything out by hand. Yes, the kids will complain, but they need to learn this skill. Or allow them to use Cricut Design Space to create the master cut files for each piece and cut everything out using a Cricut machine. If you fuse the interfacing to the back of the fabric ahead of time, you can use basically any Cricut machine that will cut bonded fabric. This incorporates a STEAM component that they absolutely love.

P.S. The hexie flowers were made by me. I needed one more photo to complete the pic collage in this post. Look for one of these on the front pocket of my forthcoming journal cover!