Last Friday evening I had the opportunity to 'teach' a workshop at a local girl scout troop meeting. There were 12 girls signed up and I had spent all day Saturday cutting out 12 kits to make a little Mother's Day Bouquet Wallhanging. It had to be colorful, easy, and pretty enough to keep the girls busy for a couple of hours.
I am lucky to have a wonderful colleague named Joyce that volunteered to help me on Friday to get the girls sewing. I am so glad that she did! I couldn't have done it without her.
It turned out that only 8 girls showed up. We had 4 sewing machines, 1 iron and 3 moms that didn't sew to help. With all of the pre-cut kits in zipper lock baggies, we started by showing them what they were going to make that evening before we dove into the creation process. See below.
We laid the different pieces out on the table and allowed them to select the flowers, stems, leaves, flower pot, background, backing and borders from what I had cut out already. They really enjoyed that part, looking carefully at each one to determine if they liked each piece and wanted to use it.
In hindsight, I should have had them add the borders to their background first, before putting all the smaller fused pieces out so they didn't end up on the floor. Then we taught each girl how to machine piece the seams to add the borders to their quilt tops. We did the sides first, got them pressed and then added the top and bottom borders. None of the girls had ever sewn before and it was fun teaching them how to run a machine and keep the pieces straight. My old 'MOLEFOAM' trick helped them to line up the pieces nicely with a little help from the adults.
Once the tops were pieced and pressed, we then took the pre-fused flowers, stems, leaves and flower pots and laid out each quilt. Each girl was allowed and expected to decide what her flower bouquet would look like. Once they had it laid out to their liking, they then peeled the paper backing off the pieces and pressed them down on the top to finish the 'applique'. Fusible applique is a great starter project for girls in the 6-8 year old range. They can pick up the pieces and move them around until they are ironed down to the top. One by one they took their tops over to the ironing station where the flowers were pressed into place. We then took the quilt tops and sandwiched them 'pillow case' style with batting and backing.
We were running a bit short on time, so the adults cut, pinned and sewed the quilts to get them finished. Joyce pinned, I sewed, another mom unpinned, trimmed and turned the quilts right side out, Janet ironed and then I closed the hole and finally Amy took their pictures with their finished quilts before they left the meeting.
It was fun, it was creative and I believe the girl scouts had a great time making something beautiful that they could take home. I suspect we even have a few future sewers and maybe a quilter or two in the group. The troop leaders have already asked if we would have a mommy how to sewing class sometime over the summer.
Note: If you look at the pictures closely, you will notice as I did after the fact that most of the girls selected border fabrics that matched the tops they were wearing, green, pink, stripes, flowers, etc. That was really cool!