Friday, January 21, 2011

Make a Lovey With Your Child

Some friends and I are going to make lovies with some children in foster care next week.  We got together in my studio to prepare all the materials, and while we were there, one mother made a lovey with her four year old child.  I drew a very simple shape of a cat, with a curved bottom, arms, and pointy ears.  We drew the shape on tracing paper, and then onto pattern fabric, but you can use brown paper bag or manila envelope- anything that won't rumple too easily.  Make your pattern a little bit fat.  When you stuff it, your lovey will get skinnier.

 First the mother cut out the pattern.

The child picked out the cotton flannel fabric she wanted.  We cut out two pieces of fabric placed right sides together, and ironed them.  The mother traced around the pattern with a pencil, onto the wrong side of the fabric, and pinned it on the corners.  A child as young as kindergarten can probably trace the pattern.  You can use a light crayon on dark flannel.  It doesn't have to be perfect, and it shouldn't be!  If it shows your child's hand, it will be cuter and more expressive.  If your child wants the lovey to have a tail, don't forget to design and cut out that, too.

 Also, don't forget to leave a space at the bottom of the lovey when sewing.  Making marks will help you remember not to sew over it.  It has to be wide enough to get your hand inside the lovey for stuffing.  Do not cut your lovey out yet.  That will make it easier for your child to machine sew.

 Now sew on the line.  You kindergartener can probably do this sitting in your lap.  What if the sewing wavers off the line?  It doesn't matter at all, since the cat hasn't been cut out yet.  Backstitch at the beginning and end of the stitching, so that the lovey won't unravel when you stuff it.


 Now cut around your sewn line, about a quarter of an inch or so away.  You don't have to clip curves and corners.  Some children will have the skill to do the cutting.

 Your tiny child can help you turn the lovey inside out.  This is fun.  A chop stick is a handy tool for getting into the pointy ears of the cat.

 Then she can help stuff.  She can decide when it is fat enough.  We are using polyfill for this big project, but at home, if your child doesn't have wool allergy, wool is a wonderful alternative which warms the child when she cuddles her lovey.

 The mother stitched the opening at the bottom closed.  See if you can teach your child to do a whip stitch or a running stitch.


 The little girl stuffed the tail while her mother sewed, using a chop stick.

 In this picture, the child has placed three ball headed pins in the cat's face for the eyes and nose.  Should you adjust the face?  No, you shouldn't.  The child should design the face.  You will both like it better.

 The child selected colors for the eyes and nose, (dark blue for the eyes, and light blue for the nose,) and the mother embroidered them.  Embroidering is easier than sewing buttons for the eyes; some young children will be able to do it, and again, it doesn't have to be "perfect."  If you like your child's drawings, you will like her embroidery, too.  The mother added a friendly smile.

Then, the child showed her mother where she wanted the tail to go.  The mother tucked in the ends, and sewed the tail in place.


 Here it is, with ribbons the child chose tied in all the places she wanted.

She loves it.

19 comments:

April said...

How adorable! I may have to make a bunch of these to take to China with me to give out at the orphanage!

Gremlina said...

we've done this before & Naomi loved it! It's so fun watching their eyes light up as they create something useable!

Alyson said...

I love reading your blog. It is inspiring me to learn how to sew and knit. Have any tips?

Alyson @ peacefulmamma.blogspot.com

Kelly said...

I love this project! Thanks for sharing. I really need to get me a sewing machine.

Beth said...

Gremlina, show me what Naomi made! love, Beth

Beth said...

April, I'm so happy to hear you are travelling to China to help orphans. Tell us more about it. love, Beth

Beth said...

Yes, Kelly, you need a sewing machine! love, Beth

Beth said...

Alyson....express yourself and your own particular sense of color and style! love, Beth

Ariad said...

Oh, they are lovelies!!!

Lilyshaw said...

It is a lovely project, particularly the way adult and child work together to produce the little-ones special design. Great explanation for anyone who is not so confident...you have such inspiring ideas!

Beth said...

Lilyshaw....wouldn't it be fun to use a child's drawing as inspiration for his lovey? love, Beth

ONe PiNK FiSH said...

Love it. I think my boys would even like to do this if it was more of a 'monster' theme. Thanks for such simple directions.

Barbara said...

What a lovely idea! How sweet how she holds it! Bye, Barbara

Lilyshaw said...

Yes, I agree, my children would enjoy using their own drawings, especially my 9 year old son, definitely on my 'To Do' List !

Beth said...

Barbara, this child is one of my loved ones. Beth

Beth said...

One Pink Fish....I LOVE the monster idea! Now I want to try that, too! Beth

Heather said...

This is wonderful Beth! What a great way to involve children in creating, and in something so special. Thanks for sharing.

Courtney Ann said...

Making lovies for your kids is the best, I had made one for my 2 year old son before he was born and he still love it, i asks for it everynight.

Beth said...

I once visited a doll museum in Vermont. All of the fancy dolls gave me the creeps. The only one I liked was the doll which had been created by a mother for her child. It was made with love, and it was beautiful because of it. Beth