Looking for a new way to teach old skills? Try sewing! Bring out the fashion designer and innovator in your kiddo while they learn some math and have some fun! I’ve got directions for a fun maxi skirt like my daughter made and some other ideas to inspire the innovator in your child.
Plan Your Garment
First we went to the fabric store for a little creative inspiration. There’s nothing like a roomful of color, pattern and texture to get your ideas flowing? I often like to have the fabric “tell” me what to make. My daughter walked around touching everything (sorry Piedmont Fabrics!), looking for the perfectly soft and colorful fabric for her design. She ended up with a super soft and flowy purple tie dye knit. And she decided it was perfect for a swirly maxi skirt. Highly impractical for school, but such a cool sensory experience :) Oh and perfect for the rest of her hippy style ideas.
Do the Sewing Math
Next step is to cut your fabric. The cool thing about making gathered, elastic waist skirts is that they’re a rectangle. Super simple to figure out the size and no pattern needed. And great for helping kids practice their math skills. They can practice measurement, arithmetic, even some geometry, all while making something fun to wear. Here are the steps:
- Measure around the waist. Then multiply it times 2 for a nice full skirt and add an inch for the seam allowance.
Fabric width = waist measurement x 2 +1
- Measure from waist to desired length of skirt. My daughter wanted a maxi, so we measured to her ankles. Then add two inches to the measurement for the waistband and hem.
Fabric length = length measurement + 2
- Then cut your fabric to your measurement and then cut your 3/4″ elastic. I like to use the waist measurement plus an inch for the seam.
elastic measurement = waist measurement + 1
Construct the Skirt
Here are the steps to sew the skirt. Sorry, not too many pics of this (had my hands full of sewing machine and preschooler!), but I’m hoping you’ll get the gist of it. These steps are the simple method to help kiddos get a finished product without too much frustration. You don’t need French seams here… A good reminder for beginner sewers is that mistakes aren’t forever if you have a seam ripper on hand :) Just stay determined and you’ll get there.
- First pin the short ends of the fabric together. This will make the side seam. Sew together using a straight stitch if you’re sewing typical wovens or use a zig zag for knits. Got a serger, go for it. I chose not to use the serger because of safety with my daughter’s inexperienced hands. Then zig zag the edge to close off the seam.
- Next, zig zag the top edge of fabric and fold down 1″ towards the inside. Sew all the way around EXCEPT for a 1″ hole that will let you feed the elastic in.
- Feed the elastic into the waistband using a safety pin. Once you get it all the way in, overlap the ends and sew them down securely. Cut off any extra and close the hole in the waistband.
- The last step is the bottom hem. Again, zig zag the edge and then fold up 1″ towards the inside. Sew all the way around, close to the edge. And voila! You’re done.
Creative by Design
So look at this face… Does that say proud or what? Is the skirt perfect? No, even though it’s not as crooked as it looks in the picture. But it’s her design and she loves it. And I love it too. Because it was her design from the beginning to end. I was just her sous seamstress.
STEAM Fun, All Summer Long
My daughter loves her skirt and I loved the project because it taught math along with some creative thinking. It was a true STEAM project. Because school is in the downward stretch, I’m thinking about what to do this summer to keep her brain on track. We’re going to do a Summer STEAM Camp (stay tuned for the Left Brain Craft Brain ebook!) and we’re looking for STEAM adventures outside the house too. I want something that encourages kids to bravely trust in their own ideas. Enter Galileo Camps!
Galileo Camps has some of the coolest activities around! Since 2002, Galileo has been shaping a new generation of innovators by teaching kids to explore, make mistakes and create without fear! Drawing from the innovation process inspired by the Stanford d. school, Galileo’s curriculum packs serious substance and sparks kids’ imagination from pre-k through 8th grade. This summer’s themes are Space Explorers, National Parks Adventures, Galileo Makers: Toys, and Galileo Olympics. And all of them pack a fun, STEAM punch.
Summer Camp Savings!!!
The good news is that I’ve got a coupon off Summer STEAM for you!!
Click through to register for Galileo and you’ll get an exclusive discount of $40 off a week of Galileo Camp using code 2016BOLD. Do it before February 29th and you’ll save another $25 per week or $12.50 per class at The Tech! Guarantee your spot—and your biggest savings—by February 29th and you can change your camp date or location through May 2 for absolutely no fee.