Benny did his first sewing project this week, with a real needle that is sharp and everything, holding it in his hand where it could have at any moment flown wildly into the air and punctured his skull. And I didn't have a panic attack!
I decided I needed to make a Teddy bear. This is something I haven't tried before, and I thought it would be fun for the kids and I to do this together.
First, I let the kids pick out the fabric. The fabric they chose is something *only* children would pick -- it has McDonald's logos and Ronald McDonald's face all over it in a bright red and yellow repeating pattern. It hardens your arteries just looking at it. Wow. If I were to make a bear using only my own asthetic choices... I would certainly have chosen something different. But hey.
Next, I found a pattern on the internet, and printed it out, enlarged it via eyeballing it, and drew it onto cardboard. Then I cut it out with my own gnarled arthritic fingers. I modified it a tiny bit -- added a gusset to the middle of the head, and changed the arm shape a little. The pattern I chose was the simplest one I could find.
The kids helped me lay out the pattern on the fabric, figure out how many pieces to cut, and trace it onto the fabric with a Sharpie. Then I cut it out. I wish I could have relinquished the scissors on this step but... sometimes you have to take a *little* control or they'll be sad with the final product with has radically different arms, no legs, and a hole in its stomach.
Benny helped run the sewing machine -- he does the foot pedal and I yell STOP! GO! SLOW! NO STOP! NO GO! and somehow we got the pieces together. Then I clipped the curves and they helped me turn and stuff it.
This was an exciting moment for them, because they could really visualize the end product. Benny really really wanted to sew with the real needle and thread and be in charge of closing up the openings. So I let him do one leg and one arm while I did the rest. It was so completely darling watching him bite his lip, wrinkle his forehead, and earnestly sew:
He also tried to do the head attachment, since I think he interpreted this as the most significant part (and it is!) but after wrestling with it for a while, he asked me to do it. After we were done, and before I sewed on the button eyes and embroidered the nose, I went upstairs to get Sadie dressed. As I was coming down the stairs, Benny reported cheerfully, "WELL! He's all decorated!" He had used the green Sharpie to draw on eyes, nose, claws, mouth, and a big giant S on his belly, with a green border.
I gulped down my "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE" and said, "What's the S for? Is it Superbear?"
"No," he said, "It's for Sadie. I made this bear for Sadie to have. That S tells her it's hers."
Well. Okay. So you can draw on your bear with a green Sharpie any time. And if you want to make it out of ridiculous McDonald's fabric, that's okay too. Just keep being such a sweetheart, and everything will be fine by me.