In April, I kicked off a new monthly program series for elementary-aged kids with a stuffed felt Pikachu sewing project. It was the first program I got to completely design myself at my new job. Coincidentally, it was also my first time teaching kids how to sew. Read on to see what I did and how it went.
Supplies (I planned for 12-15)
- Pattern: I simplified this adorable pattern from BusyMommyMedia. I printed the pattern on cardstock and cut every piece out ahead of the program.
- Felt: red, yellow, and black pieces that were portioned out
- Thread: red, yellow, and black. I put the yellow thread on DIY cardboard floss bobbins, then gave the other colors as needed.
- Puff paint: white and black
- Tailor’s chalk/permanent markers
Program Outline (1 hour)
- I started with some safety guidelines, which I pulled directly from Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make by Andria Lisle and Amie Petronis Plumley. That book is a great resource for teaching classes like this! (For more sewing book recommendations, check out my Bibliocommons list.)
- We practiced threading the needle.
- I demonstrated a running stitch, then they practiced on scrap felt.
- Participants traced, then cut pattern on felt. This took a lot of time.
- They stitched the pieces together per the instructions, adding stuffing before closing everything up.
- They decorated ears, eyes, and mouth with puff paint. This was my hack to save time and also avoid small stitches.
I’d say it was a fairly successful project overall. You can’t really go wrong with Pokémon—especially not Pikachu. Pre-sorting all the pieces really helped everything run smoothly. I put it everything (except the puff paint and stuffing) in a paper sandwich bag so it was easy to take home and finish later. Cutting out the pattern ahead of time definitely saved a ton of time. Kids were already getting a bit bored by tracing everything and eager to start sewing.
What Didn’t Work
While having grown-ups help was great for bonding, the grown-ups did most of the work. I would have liked for the kids to get more hands-on experience. Only one participant finished the project in the hour, so the program would either need to be longer or I’d recommend cutting out most—if not all—the felt pieces ahead of time to make things go faster. The puff paint was a great adaptation but more than a few families wished I’d included red in there, too. My instructions were in black-and-white, which got confusing with all the different pieces. Pictures would have been easier to follow.