Did I ever mention our round robin art class? My 4 year old and a few of her friends meet up once a week to do art projects. The idea is to expose them to a bunch of different types of techniques and projects and they have done a wide variety of things. I got to go first and it happened to be that my daughter’s friend came over and brought this apron:
My daughter liked the apron, the princess and the whole package and I asked her if she wanted to make our own aprons during the chug. I thought it would be a fun tie in as a parsha craft given the story of Abraham and the angles (think Hachnasat Orchim- welcoming guests). She was all for it. We collected some old ratty towels, fabric markers, yarn and felt.
I showed the girls the model apron and suggested they draw princesses and their names. Each chose to do slightly different things. Each did get yarn for hair if they wanted as well as crowns. They could also choose purple, pink or one of each shoe laces for ties and such.
I did the stitching for them because I was concerned both about supervising them in sewing and that they wouldn’t be able to handle the size, thickness of material and length of time it would take to finish. We did do some measuring together to work out sizing. I wanted them to be able to continue wearing these as they grow so they are bigger than average. Everyone enjoyed doing this project and I know of at least one child who is using hers. I’ll post photos of the finished product at another time.
So far the rotation has gone very well. Besides aprons, the girls have made hair things, pencil holders, a modge podged plate, fimo barrettes with draidels and menorahs, bakers dough projects, finger puppets, play dough, a tzedakah box, and we’ve just finished marbleized paper accordion books. I have been asked by one of the girls to make doll clothing with them so we are saving singleton socks and I think i will work on a simple sewing project with them.
I happened to mention my concern about teaching young girls to sew to a friend and well known textile artist (Ita Aber.) She told me that traditionally girls were learning how to sew at this age and that what usually happened was that they bent their sewing needles. This made it easier to sew. In her book, The Art of Judaic Needlework: Traditional and Contemporary Designs, she talks about a variation on this theme using surgical needles. Check it out for an elaboration.