Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Ideas for Children’s Embroidery Projects?


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As usual, this summer I will be teaching free embroidery classes to children, as a “community project.” I’m batting around ideas about what kind of projects would be good for relatively young children (9-11) and for children a little older (12-14).

Last summer, my children’s embroidery classes didn’t produce much in the way of finished projects. I taught them basic stitches, but we didn’t produce a “finished” piece.

They worked simple designs that they drew out by hand or that they traced onto the fabric using cookie cutters. The design above was a lesson on buttonhole wheels and fishbone stitch. You can see buttonhole stitch (technically, blanket stitch) as the grass, and a line of chain stitch underneath. They also incorporated stem stitch and French knots in this little practice piece. You can find other pictures of what they did last summer at Embroidery for Children: Small Projects.

But this is the thing: I think, when teaching children, it is good for them to enjoy the success of finishing “something.” A whole, completed project is better, I think, than many practice scraps (although the practice scraps are necessary, too!), especially when it comes to boosting confidence and awakening interest. It also teaches them the discipline of finishing what they start, which I think is good for any child to learn.

So I thought I’d ask the world-wide embroidery community for suggestions! What do you think would be a good idea for a project, and do you have any good links or resources that would be helpful as I plan this summer’s classes? Input would be greatly appreciated!! And you never know who else you may help – or what child may benefit!! Thanks heaps!


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(8) Comments

  1. Hi Mary I used to co-ordinate the young stitchers group (7 – 16 years) at our local branch of the embroiderers guild –
    things we made were – small gift bags, tissue packs, bookmarks, small notebook covers, mobile phone pouches, CD bags, needlebooks, pin cushions, christmas tree decorations, hair clasps, and crazy quilt pouches (they loved those) I found they loved projects that included a few beads etc – we live in an age of bling I think!

    anyway hope this helps

  2. Thanks, Sharon – those are all Great Ideas! I like the notebook covers and the crazy quilt pouches best, I think. Thanks for the list!

  3. Hi Mary – I wrote a book called Kids Embroidery – published by STC. It has lots of great projects for kids in it. I tested each one with a group of kids while I was working on the book, so I know they liked them. You can check it out on the book page of my website —

    Good luck!

  4. I just recently taught some kids to embroider and they have made pillows and I’m also having them work on t-shirts that I’ve basted stabilizer to the back of the design they made. The youngest is 6 and the older girl is 10. It’s so fun to see them off and embroidering!

  5. Hi — Sharon’s list is wonderful, and as the mother of a nine-year-old I can echo the comment about beads. Just in case you wanted some more ideas, there is a Young Embroiders section of the Embroiderers Guild. I found some ideas at http://www.hiraeth.com/youngembroiderers/welcome.htm

    another idea, tested at home, is to have them embroider an applique or patch for their jeans or other clothes. If they embroider on washable felt, then they don’t even have to finish the edges (full disclosure: i’ve only read about washable felt, i haven’t tried it myself.) in my experience kids enjoy being able to wear their art.

    those kids with you are lucky! the only thing better than your video tutorials would be an in-person class.

  6. Thanks for the WONDERFUL ideas, everyone! I’m really greatful for the input. Now that I’ve got all kinds of ideas to work with, I’m super excited about the classes! I’ll keep you posted on the plans.
    Thanks again!

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