In Stitch and String Lab for Kids, art teacher and winner of the Netflix bake-off show Nailed It! Cassie Stephens presents 40+ inventive projects that explore everything from simple sewing, embroidery, and weaving to string art, needle felting, and yarn crafts. Stitch and String Lab for Kids leads children, step by step, through a huge range of sewing and fiber art projects. As they go, they will learn a variety of techniques, develop dexterity and coordination, and enjoy making a variety of creative projects. Kids will employ simple embroidery stitches to embellish a sun catcher, wall hangings, and an appliqué animal. Sewing projects include a drawstring bag, a sketchbook jacket, and custom plushies. Children will learn how to make custom looms to weave bookmarks, bracelets, and even a mini rag rug. They will also experiment with string art, needle felting, shibori dyeing, pompom animals, as well as f inger knitting, yarn art, and cool wrapping projects. Each project includes a materials list and illustrated steps, and the book is filled with useful tips, tricks, and shortcuts. Stitch samplers will teach the basics, and templates are included for plushies and stuffies. Kids are encouraged to make variations and personalize the projects to their own style and personality. These 44 creative projects offer a broad and rich sampling of sewing, fabric, and fiber crafts— Stitch and String Lab for Kids is perfect for keeping kids busy with educational activities at home, learning techniques and experimenting at school, or having a ball at camps and parties. Parents, teachers, homeschoolers, and facilitators will appreciate the easy, illustrated instruction and the curriculum-friendly format, with projects that can be completed in any order. The popular Lab for Kids series features a growing list of books that share hands-on activities and projects on a wide host of topics, including art, astronomy, clay, geology, math, and even how to create your own circus—all authored by established experts in their fields. Each lab contains a complete materials list, clear step-by-step photographs of the process, as well as finished samples. The labs can be used as singular projects or as part of a yearlong curriculum of experiential learning. The activities are open-ended, designed to be explored over and over, often with different results. Geared toward being taught or guided by adults, they are enriching for a range of ages and skill levels. Gain firsthand knowledge on your favorite topic with Lab for Kids.
About the Author
Cassie Stephens lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and teaches art at Franklin Special School District. Cassie—who was the winner of the Netflix bake-off show Nailed It! in Season 3—posts about the fun, creative projects she does with her students at "In the Art Room" on cassiestephens.blogspot.com. She is the author of Clay Lab for Kids and Stitch and String Lab for Kids.
Read an Excerpt
unit 1 embroidery
Embroidery is the art of decorating fabric with a needle and thread or yarn. It's different from sewing, because embroidery stitches create lines and stitch shapes that can tell a story. In every culture, embroidery can be found decorating everyday objects such as pillowcases and hand towels, as well as more decorative and festive items such as traditional garments and tapestries. In the following labs, the basic processes of selecting thread and yarn, and creating popular embroidery stitches are explored. Many of these same techniques and stitches are further explored in sewing labs found later in the book, so if you don't have a lot of experience with a needle and thread, it might make be helpful to start with some of these basic embroidery labs. Refer to the basic section (page 12) as needed.
embroidered wall hanging
In this lab, let's practice stitching with a chenille stick. Both sewing and embroidery involve pulling a needle and thread up and down through fabric. To teach our hands and mind the basics of stitching, a chenille stick can act as the needle and the thread. Try stitching through a meshlike fabric with the stick and "sewing" on a button. Have fun creating a colorful wall hanging filled with chenille stick stitches.
-> Floral mesh netting, 6" x 8"
(15.2 x 20.3 cm)
-> Craft sticks
-> Clothespins or a heavy book
-> Chenille sticks
making the wall hanging
1. Cut a strip of the floral mesh that is as wide as the craft stick and about as long. It doesn't have to be a perfect rectangle. Place the mesh on one craft stick, draw a line of glue over the craft stick. (Fig. 1)
2. Add another stick directly over the first one with the mesh in between. Do the same at the opposite mesh edge, but add a hanger, by placing both ends of a chenille stick in between the two craft sticks, as shown. Hold the craft sticks together with either clothespins or a heavy book. Allow the glue to dry. (Fig. 2)
3. Bend the bottom of a chenille stick. This acts as a knot to anchor the chenille stick. (Fig. 3)
4. Starting on the back, push the chenille stick through a hole in the mesh and pull it through until the bent part at the bottom of the stick stops it. (Fig. 4)
5. Pull the stick up and down through the mesh. Finish stitching by pulling the stick though to the back and anchor it with a bend to hold it in place. Add as many chenille sticks as you want. (Fig. 5)
6. Slide a button down the stick. Bend the chenille stick and push the stick into the second hole in the button (or through the loop on the back of the button) and then push the chenille stick in and out of the mesh to anchor the button in place. Be sure to bend the ends of the stick on the back to secure the button and the stick. (Fig. 6)
7. Keep adding buttons and chenille sticks until your wall hanging is complete!
beginner embroidered sun catcher
Let's learn the basics of embroidery. Embroidery is creating a picture with stitches. In this lab, we explore threading a needle, using an embroidery hoop, and making stitched lines on plastic. Think of the embroidery hoop as a pond and the needle as a swimmer. The swimmer needle always jumps in and out of the pool, never around it. Have fun exploring embroidery!
-> Embroidery hoops
-> Clear plastic storage bags
-> Sharp tapestry needle
-> Needle threader, optional
-> Pompoms, optional
making a sun catcher
1. Separate the two embroidery hoops. Place the smaller wooden hoop on a table. Cut a square shape from a plastic bag that is larger than the embroidery hoop. Place it over the wooden hoop. Put the hoop with the screw over both the smaller hoop and the bag. If it doesn't fit, loosen the screw until it fits and then tighten the screw once it is in place. The bag should stretch tightly between the hoops. (Fig. 1)
2. Thread the needle with yarn. A needle threader makes threading the needle easier (see page 16). Begin stitching on the back. Poke the needle through the plastic from the back to the front and pull. Leave a small tail of yarn on the back. (Fig. 2) Poke the needle back down through the plastic.
3. To create embroidered stitches, pull the needle up through the plastic and then down through the plastic. (Fig. 3)
4. When the yarn runs out, leave a small thread tail on the back. Rethread the needle and continue stitching with a new length of yarn. Try creating line designs with the stitches. (Fig. 4)
5. For fun, slide a pompom down the needle and thread. Add as much yarn and as many pompoms as you want. (Fig. 5)
6. Once you are finished, hang the embroidery hoop in a window!
The needle should never go around the embroidery hoop. If it does, unthread the needle and gently pull the stitch out. Rethread the needle and continue stitching. All the stitches should take place inside the hoop
running stitch tapestry
Burlap is a type of woven fabric. It's fun to embroider on because it is easy to see through while you are stitching. Try stretching burlap over an embroidery hoop or simply holding it. Let's focus on learning how to make running stitches (see page 18) and backstitches! You can add pom poms to decorate (see Lab 21).
-> 6" (15.2 cm) burlap squares
-> Tapestry needle
-> Large craft sticks
-> Pompoms, optional
-> Embroidery hoop, optional
-> Needle threader, optional
-> Plastic bag to protect the table, optional
making the tapestry
1. Look closely at your burlap square and see how the threads weave over and under. It does unravel easily, so cover your work station with plastic, and then draw a line of glue around the edge of the burlap. Allow the glue to dry. You can stretch the burlap over an embroidery hoop if you prefer. (Fig. 1)
2. Thread a needle with a 12" (30.5 cm) length of yarn; using a needle threader makes it easy (see page 16). Tie a knot at one end of the yarn. (See "Stitching Basics" on page 17 for how to tie a knot.) Always begin stitching on the back of the fabric so the knot doesn't show. Begin in a corner with one hand behind the burlap. Pull the needle up through the fabric until the knot on the back stops it.
3. Push the needle down through the fabric, leaving a small space about as wide as a finger. This is the first running stitch! (See Running stitch, page 18.) (Fig. 2) Continue making small running stitches around the edge of the burlap. When the yarn is as long as your hand, stop and tie a knot on the back. Rethread the needle and continue stitching around the edge. (Fig. 3)
4. Add a second row of running stitches. Sew on a decorative button. (See Sewing on a button, page 20.)
5. Use chalk to draw a simple design in the middle of the burlap; such as hearts, stars, initials, or rainbows. To fill these shapes in, try a backstitch. To start, sew one stitch. (Fig. 4) Then have your needle come up about a half inch from the last stitch, and then go back into the fabric at the first stitch. (Fig. 5) Tie a knot on the back when finished.
6. Glue the ends of a small length of yarn on either end of a craft stick as a hanger. Draw a line of glue along the stick and place the burlap on top. Use another craft stick with glue on it to act as the top of a sandwich. Place books on top to hold everything in place as the glue dries. (Fig. 6)
radial embroidery with dyed fabric
Designing a fabric to embroider on is a lot of fun. Try experimenting with several designs on fabric before stitching. When embroidering, use the running stitch to create X's, dashed lines, and zigzags. Adding a variety of stitches makes the design unique and beautiful. See Lab 6: Embroidery Sampler, on page 34, for some decorative stitch ideas.
-> Muslin, 2" (5 cm) wider all around than embroidery hoop
-> Embroidery hoop
-> Permanent markers
-> 70% alcohol
-> Paintbrush or eyedropper
-> Small dish
-> Embroidery floss
-> Embroidery needle
embroidering on dyed fabric
1. Stretch muslin fabric between the embroidery hoops. Use permanent markers to draw a radiating design. Start with a circle in the middle of the fabric and add lines and shapes to create a design that grows from the circle. (Fig. 1)
You can also simply draw any colorful design with permanent markers.
2. Once the design is colored in, fill a dish with a small amount of alcohol. Use a paintbrush or a dropper to add drops of alcohol to the surface of the design. The alcohol causes the colors of the design to change and run together much like tie-dye. Let the fabric dry for at least an hour before stitching on it. (Fig. 2)
3. If you plan to stitch a radiating design, begin in the middle, just like you did when you drew the design Consider starting by stitching a button in the middle of the fabric. (Fig. 3)
4. Just like with the drawn design, the embroidery stitches should radiate from the center. Try using a blanket stitch, running stitch, and cross stitch to create a variety of designs. (Fig. 4)
5. For designs that don't radiate from the center, try exploring a variety of stitches, like the cross stitch. (Fig. 5)
6. Sew on novelty buttons for a unique design. (Fig. 6)
A cross stitch is simply two straight stitches that cross one over the other, forming an X.
Appliqué is a technique that involves sewing a piece of fabric to other pieces of fabric to create a picture. It's like collage, but instead of using paper and glue, you use fabric, needle, and thread. In this lab, we practice appliqué using a fun print fabric for the background and cut felt shapes for the image
-> Embroidery hoop
-> Printed quilter's cotton,
2" (5 cm) larger all around than embroidery hoop
-> Scraps of different colors of felt
-> Fabric scissors
-> Fabric marking pen or chalk
-> Embroidery floss
-> Embroidery needle
learning to appliqué
1. Stretch the print fabric between the embroidery hoops. (Fig. 1)
2. Draw simple shapes for an animal or any object onto felt with chalk or a fabric marker. For a perfect circle, try tracing the lid of a jar. Cut the felt with fabric scissors. Pin the shapes in place within the hoop. (Fig. 2)
3. Cut a length of embroidery floss 12" (30 cm). Divide the six strands of floss into half. Thread an embroidery needle with floss and knot one end of the floss. Use a running stitch to attach the felt fabric to the background. (Fig. 3)
4. Cut out smaller shapes for more details. Stitch these felt pieces in place with a running stitch. (Fig. 4)
5. Embroider designs onto the various stitched pieces. Try using different embroidery stitches (see Lab 6, page 34). (Fig. 5)
6. Continue adding more felt pieces and embroidery stitches until the piece is complete. (Fig. 6)
7. Experiment sewing different objects to an appliquéd piece, like adding a paint brush to a palette appliqué. (Fig. 7)
Traditionally, a needlework sampler was created for an artist to show their mastery of stitches. Today, a sampler often includes an alphabet, stitched designs, and motifs. In this lab, you learn how to embroider a sampler of stitches, beyond the three basic stitches explained on page 17. This sampler can be referenced later when creating more embroidered pieces.
-> Embroidery hoop
-> Muslin, 2" (5 cm) larger all around than embroidery hoop
-> Embroidery floss
-> Embroidery needle
-> Chalk or pencil
making the sampler
1. Stretch the muslin between the embroidery hoops. Cut a strand of embroidery floss about 12" (30 cm) long. Separate the six embroidery floss strands in half. Thread an embroidery needle and knot the thread at one end. Begin with a couple rows of running stitches (see Running Stitch, page 18). (Fig. 1)
2. A running stitch looks like a broken line, while the backstitch resembles a solid line. Draw a wavy line on the muslin with chalk. Stitch a line with backstitches (See Lab 3, page 28). Continue backstitching a couple rows of stitched solid lines. (Fig. 2)
3. To embroider an asterisk, use a pencil to mark a small dot on the fabric. This dot is the center of the asterisk.
Starting at that dot, make a small stitch outward. (Fig. 3)
Bring the needle back up through the pencil dot and make another small stitch away from the center. (Fig. 4)
Continue making small stitches away from the center eight times or until you have a star or asterisk design.
4. A satin stitch fills a stitched space with color. The stitches lie next to each other with no spaces in between. To create a series of satin stitches, draw a simple shape like a leaf or a circle on the fabric with a fabric marker or chalk. Starting in the back, bring the needle to the right side and begin stitching at the bottom of the design, forming a straight stitch that reaches the top of the design. Continue filling in the shape with close parallel stitches. (Fig. 5)
5. A featherstitch is fun to make and adds beauty to an embroidered design.
Begin by making a small straight stitch on the right side. (Fig. 6)
Before pulling the stitch all the way through, use your thumb to pull the thread back. Poke the needle up at the middle of the stitch (Fig. 7)
Finish the stitch by pulling the thread in the opposite direction of the first stitch. (Fig. 8)
Repeat the process of holding the stitch, bringing the needle up the middle of that stitched space, and stitching in the opposite direction until you have a line of featherstitches.
6. To create a flower petal stitch, make a small straight stitch on the right side of the fabric. Use your thumb to hold the thread and add a second, very small stitch in the middle of the thread loop, directly above your thumb, and then finish pulling the initial stitch through to the wrong side. This makes a petal-like shape. Stitch a group of petals to make a flower! (Fig. 9)
7. A fly stitch is formed much like the flower petal stitch except that the initial stitch is longer, so the finished stitch is much more open and looks more like the "wings" of a fly. (Fig. 10)
8. Add a blanket stitch (see Blanket Stitch, page 19) to your sampler.
You might want to start by drawing a line of chalk on the fabric. Form the stitches so they begin on the chalked line and end just above and over the line. (Fig. 11 and Fig. 12)
9. A chain stitch is very similar to a flower petal stitch, however the stitches are connected, creating a chain. Begin by forming a flower petal stitch. Bring the needle up in the middle of the stitch above where your thumb is holding the thread. Gently pull the thread, and reinsert the needle over the bottom of the stitch. This tacks the first link of the chain down. Continue forming linked stitches. (Fig. 13)
10. A seed stitch is one of the easiest stitches to make. Simply make small, straight and random stitches around the fabric. They should look like little pieces of thrown confetti! (Fig. 14)CHAPTER 2
Sewing is the act of stitching one piece of fabric to another. Think of it like collage, but instead of attaching pieces of paper together with glue, you use stitches to hold pieces of fabric in place. When one piece of fabric is sewn on top of another to create a fabric picture, it is called appliqué. When two pieces of fabric are joined with stitches and the piece is stuffed to make a pillow or transformed into a functional holder like a pouch, then that is sewing. Many of the techniques and stitches used in embroidery are also used in sewing. Since you have learned the basics of embroidery, sewing will be a snap! Refer to stitching basics (page 16) as needed.
Like embroidery, there are different kind of sewing stitches. Each stitch has its own look and a different reason for being used. To make the plushie pins in this lab, you will use three stitches, the running stitch, whipstitch, and blanket stitch. Be sure to refer to Forming the Three Basic Stitches on page 17, for a refresher on how to make these stitches.
-> Scraps of different color craft felt
-> Assorted sizes of jar lids
-> Safety pins
-> Chenille needle
-> Crochet thread
-> Tacky Glue
-> Assortment of buttons
1. Trace around the lid of a jar onto several different color pieces of felt with a marker. Cut out the traced circles. (Fig. 1)
2. Pin two circles together. Thread the needle and secure one end of the thread with a knot. Stitch around the edge of the two circles with a running stitch. When there is about a 1" (2.5 cm) opening, anchor the thread to the fabric with a knot. (Fig. 2)
3. Insert small pieces of stuffing into the opening. Once the circles are nice and soft and plump, stitch the opening closed. (Fig. 3)
4. Make more plushies using a whipstitch or blanket stitch to sew the circles together. (Fig. 4 and Fig. 5)
5. Decorate your plushies! Sew a collage of buttons, or glue small felt shapes, to one side of the plushie. (Fig. 6)
6. To make a plushie into a pin, open a safety pin and lay it on the back of the plushie. Cut a small strip of felt and glue it over the closed side of the pin. Allow the glue to dry before wearing your plushie pin. (Fig. 7)(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Stitch + String Lab for Kids"
Copyright © 2019 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc..
Excerpted by permission of The Quarto Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Getting Started: Creating with Fibers, 5,
The Basics, 12,
Stitching Basics: Know Before You Sew, 16,
hand sewing, 38,
fiber arts, 72,
weaving + string craft, 112,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"Stitch and String Lab for Kids" by Cassie Stephens is a fabulous art book for children to learn how to sew by hand, how to make beautiful works of art with pom poms, and 44 inventive projects to try. Ms. Stephens provides kids with excellent projects to learn artistic skills and styles that she never had as a girl. She is a teacher herself and provides lots of great instructions, pictures and helps for kids. I really enjoyed reading this book. I received this as an eBook from Quarto Publishing Group - Quarry Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review of the title. I did not receive any compensation from either company. The opinions expressed herein are completely my own.
A fabulous book to keep children amused with simple items in the home or art room. There are simple projects from all age groups and with each come the satisfaction of having mastered the use of a needle and string. With sections on embroidery, hand sewing, fibre art and weaving, there is something for every ones taste and skill. A book that will get the creative juices flowing and learn some useful skills for the future.
This book contains projects for kids to pursue in the area of needlecrafts. It begins by introducing kids to the basics of working with fabrics. It shows them different fibers and materials. The book discusses how to put together a fabric kit and a place to make crafts. It also teaches them a couple of basic sewing stitches before they begin. The book is broken into four units with a number of labs contained within each. In the unit kids are taught how to make projects with embroidery, hand sewing, fiber arts and weaving or string craft. The projects are broken down step by step with an illustration for each. The figures are colorful and clear. The projects are fun for kids such as the donut keychain and pillow or the yarn bombed heart wall hanging. I recommend this book for projects that an adult can do with kids. It is a great resource for children to make little gifts for their family members or friends. I received an ARC from Quarto Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion or rating of this book.