We will make a gremlin pin that you can wear!
What’s the goal?
Young designers will learn basic hand sewing techniques including: threading a needle, knotting the thread, completing a running stitch, using a thimble, and sewing on a button. Hand sewing can be used at all stages of a project—to make marks, finish hems, sew seams, attach buttons or applique, etc.
- Cut sets of pieces #1-4 of the gremlin pattern from felt in a variety of colors.
- Cut piece #5 of the gremlin pattern from the craft foam.
- Cut lengths of thread, no more than 18” in length.
- Assemble a kit for each gremlin pin containing of one of each pattern piece, one backing piece, one button, one safety pin, a needle, and a length of thread.
- Use the hole punch to punch a line of holes a couple of inches apart along one side of the piece of posterboard or cardboard. Knot one end of the cord or shoelace.
Let's get started!
In this activity, we’re going to learn how to sew by hand and how to attach a button. The outcome is a cute gremlin pin that you can wear!
- An adult leader should supervise the use of the hot glue gun
- Heavier hand-quilting or buttonhole thread works well
- If needle unthreading is a persistent issue, tie the needle to the thread by making a knot with the tail and thread right behind the needle head.This will pull through the felt but secure the needle and thread.
- Cut the thread in lengths no longer than 18” to improve chances of tangle-free sewing!
- To help thread the needle—use a needle threader, draw the thread through a piece of beeswax (which can be bought in any notions department), or spray the end of the thread with hairspray
- To use a needle threader, push the wire through the eye of the needle; then insert the thread through the wire loop. Pull the wire back out of the needle, drawing the thread through the eye.
Hand Sewing Basics
- Show young designers how to thread a needle, pulling it through the eye so that the needle is a few inches from the end. (Optional) Place a thimble on the
middle finger. Make certain that it fits tightly but comfortably. They can use the thimble to push the needle through the fabric.Make a knot at the end of the thread:
- Make a knot at the end of the thread:
a. Make a loop with the thread
b. Slip the end under and through the loop
c. Pull on both ends to tighten
d. Repeat steps a-c, creating a second knot right on top of the first one
- (Optional) Place a thimble on your middle finger. Make certain that it fits tightly but comfortably. You will use the thimble to push the needle through the fabric.
- Demonstrate the running stitch: Use the punched cardboard and cord to demonstrate the running stitch to the group of young designers. Pull the cord up through an end hole until the knot is snug. Go down through the next hole, and continue to the end of the card. Stress that it is important to sew in a straight line from one hole to the next. Hold up the finished card and show them what a length of running stitch should look like.
- Do the running stitch: Have designers push their needle through the fabric (or paper for practice!) from the back and pull until the knot hits the fabric. Now push the needle through from front to back, and then bring it through to the front again. Repeat, pulling firmly each time, but being careful not to buckle the fabric. Finish with a knot by taking a very small stitch but before pulling it tight, put the needle through the thread loop. Practice hand sewing on the handout provided. (Have the young designers aim for consistent stitch lengths—running stitch should look the same from both sides.)
- See the Video Example
- Sew the button: Have designers mark where the button will go. Tell them to bring the needle up through the fabric on this spot. Pass the needle through one hole of the button and then bring it down through a hole on the other side of the button and through the fabric at the same spot. Sew up and down through the holes in the button and the fabric 8-10 times. Then bring the needle to the back of the fabric and knot by making a small stitches and putting the needle through the loop. Knot at least three times. Practice sewing a button on the handout.
- (Optional) Make the knot with both ends of the thread for sewing the button.
Create the Gremlin Pin
- With craft glue attach pieces #2-4 onto the gremlin’s body.
- Hand sew the mouth using the running stitch (Young designers may add additional sewing embellishments if they choose).
- Sew on the button for the pupil of the eye.
- Using craft glue, glue the craft foam backing to the back of the body.
- Using a hot glue gun, glue the safety pin to the craft foam backing.
* Note: this is not the full size pattern — get the printable pattern from the Downloads section of this activity.
For the students
- One Kit per Person, including:
- • One of each of the pattern pieces in different colors
- • One backing piece made of craft foam
- • Button – 3/8” “ to 1/2”
- • Safety Pin/pin back
- • Needle and thread
- • Thimble (optional)
- • Craft or fabric glue
For the instructor
- Posterboard or light cardboard, 6” X 11”
- Hole punch
- Shoelace or cord with taped end, 42”
- Extra sewing supplies to help (needles and thread)
- Hot glue gun
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