Hey hey Friends! I had the best summer with my kids. We have been living it up!! I also love it when I get to spend time with my nephews. Between my brother and I, our kids are 9-7-6-5. We have one of every age and they LOVE to be together. My 9-year-old – eek! Is he that old? – ? – anyway, my 9-year-old nephew has been begging me for sewing lessons. I guess we alllllll love to create things in my family.
It seems that he is making a movie featuring his friend and his brother as super heroes and he is going to need costumes. Not only am I a total pushover when it comes to this kid, but I am a big believer in supporting creative endeavors of all types! SIDE NOTE: Local friends should check out the Village Workshop in Northville to get their fix when the creative urge strikes.
So, we made super hero capes!
This is an easy project that anyone with basic sewing skills can make themselves and also teach to a kid. If you can thread your sewing machine, you can make this project!
TEACHING SEWING TO KIDS
I took this opportunity to show the kids (1) how to take a sketch and the turn it into a finished project, (2) how to make and use a pattern, (3) how to finish edges, and (4) simple sewing machine safety and use.
HOW TO MAKE A PATTERN – TIPS FOR KIDS
(1) You can use a pattern you buy at the store. If you have one to look at you will notice that there are pieces to cut out and instructions that tell you how to sew it together. Personally, I don’t like manufacturer patterns. They make me feel dumb with their sewing language and words that confuse me! If I use a pattern, I use the pieces and then figure out how to sew it together myself. I am usually right because I have a crazy level of understanding about spatial things. ?
(2) You can use something you already own. I use shirts or skirts to estimate size and length. For this particular project, if you have a cape that already fits, you can use that as your pattern.
(3) You can use your eyeballs. The kids thought this was hilarious. Honestly, that is how I made these capes. I eye-ball estimated how long and how wide and made sure they were even on both sides by folding my fabric in half, like you did when cutting paper hearts in elementary school. ❤️️
HOW TO FINISH EDGES – TIPS FOR KIDS
Next, you can talk about finishing edges. All edges have to be finished, except on certain fabrics like felt. I showed my girls and my nephews how regular cotton edges will unravel if you don’t finish them and your entire project can come apart. Even though we used felt on this project, I cut many of the edges with pinking shears.
(1) You can use pinking shears. Those zig zaggy scissors are good for something after all! You can use them to finish your fabric edges.
(2) You can use a serger. If you look at the inside seams of your clothes you will see that they are serged together. I had everyone analyze their clothes for serger edges!
(3) You can sew twice. This is the most common method of finishing edges: sew a small hem, fold under and sew again.
I had them repeat back everything they had learned before I let them touch the sewing machine. ?
THREE THINGS TO TEACH A KID ABOUT THE SEWING MACHINE
(1) How to turn it on – for mine you press a button!
(2) Never put your fingers too close to the needle/only use with adult supervision.
(3) The pedal makes it go!
SUPER HERO FELT CAPES THAT KIDS CAN MAKE
I did most of the sewing for this project. I let the kids design their costumes on paper, press the pedal while sewing, and pick their ribbons.
WHAT YOU NEED
A large piece of felt, Scrap felt for details, Thread, Sewing Machine, Scissors, and Ribbon
STEP 1: Draw your costume idea on paper and color it in. I really believe that children should be as active as possible in making decisions about their creations. That’s why penguin art usually ends up with hair and Unicorn horns are rainbow colored. So, I had each child design and color their capes on paper before we made them. That way, we knew exactly what we were cutting. I also love that they can see the process from design to completion. It will also save you time. Decisions about color and style will already be made and you won’t be standing around while they agonize over choices!
STEP 2: Cut a large triangle with a flat top for your cape.
STEP 3: Cut any detail pieces for the capes. I used my eyeballs for this part too. ? NOTE: I did all the cutting. The kids helped with the sewing.
STEP 4: Sew any detail pieces on the back of your cape. Kids can step on the pedal and you can teach them about sewing backwards, lifting the foot, sewing a straight line, and sewing machine terms.
STEP 5: Make a casing. This is a great lesson for making a casing, which is like a long tube the ribbon will go through. If you move on to more complicated patterns, like pajama pants, elastic skirts, or peasant dresses, you will use this same technique. Fold the top of your triangle down an inch or so to the side OPPOSITE your details and stitch the edge. I only folded once because we are using felt.
STEP 6: Run your ribbon through the casing. I put a few stitches in the middle of the casing after threading the ribbon. I didn’t want to spend my afternoon re-threading ribbons when then inevitably came out!
STEP 7: Take some pictures because the kids will be proud of their work!
I LOVED doing this project with my nephew and he wrote me the sweetest thank you note afterwards. The kids were thrilled with their capes and ran in the yard for two hours! My littlest wants cookies all over her cape, but that would have taken forever, so I sewed one and we are going to finish it later. She didn’t want to be without a cape while the cousins played!
Here are some fun pictures from our afternoon making Super Hero Capes!
THANKS FOR READING!
Sharon Hoeg is a Metro Detroit Child Photographer serving Northville, South Lyon, Canton, Livonia, and beyond. She is a self-professed SUPER CRAFTIE and loves incorporating handmade items into her sessions and sharing her love of making things with the next generation.
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For local Michigan friends you can book a family photography session with Sharon.