Sew a Softie Day

Finley and I hosted a Sew A Softie party at our house today! Founded by UPPERCASE reader Trixi Symonds, the yearly event encourages passing on the love of hand sewing to the next generation.

Trixi writes, "It encourages parents and children to turn off their computers, put down their smart phones and discover the fun and fulfillment that comes from creating a simple-to-sew softie together. This year Sew a Softie will take place from July 1st to 31st."

I've been teaching Finley to sew for a while and he was proud to be a Kid Ambassador for the event. We invited a few friends and parents over and had some fun making creatures (with a break for cookies and muffins, of course.)

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Rather than have a set project that we were going to make—and set up expectations of what something is "supposed" to look like—I simply offered the framework for what were going to do.

1. Draw the body shape of your creature on an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper (this way, it won't be too large and take too long to sew).

2. Cut out your paper pattern and trace around it on two pieces of fabric. Or have a parent cut around the pattern. We used fleece, felt and various remnants.

3. Cut out eyes, ears, feet, beaks, wings or any other embellishments out of felt. Use a simple running stitch to attach the features to the front fabric piece. Attach any button eyes at this point. We used contrasting thread so that it was easy to see what we were stitching.

4. Put front and back together and stitch around the perimeter, leaving 2-3 inches open so that you can stuff the softie. A running stitch is easiest. Finley used a whip stitch, which was a new technique for him to learn today. Sandwich any feet or wings between the front and back layers and sew them in when you're going around the edge. We used safety pins to hold things together in the meantime.

5. Stuff your creature and then finish by stitching the opening closed. Done!

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Our friends were ages 5 through 7, and although some attention spans started to wander we were able to finish our softies in about two hours.

To find out more about Sew A Softie, visit Trixi's website and join the Facebook group!

Hervé Tullet's new book, Mix it Up

If you haven't experienced a book by Hervé Tullet, seek one out. His books offer fun experiences that use the format of the book to play with creative concepts. His latest book, Mix it Up! demonstrates how colours combine to form new colours and tints. It's a great book about mixing paint... and you won't get your fingers dirty!

Hervé is in Toronto next week, leading a hands-on art event for children on Wednesday, October 8. On October 9 at 2 pm he will be drop by Type (883 Queen St W, an UPPERCASE stockist) to sign copies of his new book.

Unique NYC: Kallio

Girls' dresses upcycled from vintage men's dress shirts on display from Kallio.

Girls' dresses upcycled from vintage men's dress shirts on display from Kallio.

The cutest upcycled children's hats.

The cutest upcycled children's hats.

This guest post is by photographer Yvonne Rock.

While attending Unique NYC, I had the chance to speak with Karina Kallio of Kallio, a very new children's clothing line in their second season. Kallio began after Karina, who originally worked in concept and apparel design, saw how much waste there was within the industry and wanted to combat it as well as raise awareness. Kallio does this by locally sourcing vintage men's clothing and upcycles them into playful dresses, hats, fleece capes, booties, and more. Through upcycling, "generations connect through clothing" and it promotes the idea that things should continue as opposed to being disposed of. I was taken with every detail. 

Karina Kallio photographed by Yvonne Rock

Karina Kallio photographed by Yvonne Rock

Miller Goodman at Piet Hein Eek

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I have admired the work of MillerGoodman online—they produce clever and well-designed toy blocks for children (and adults) so I was excited to see their display at Piet Hein Eek. The assembled faces, above, are part of their book, Faces, which has been on my list for Finley. (And possibly a set of blocks, too, though we have so many toys that have lots of parts that I always seem to hunting for missing pieces.) Alas, lineup in the shop was too long and the break during Etsy presentations was too short. Good thing everything is available online in the MillerGoodman shop. { One more image on little U. }