A great Sewing project for kids to do for Christmas

Every year at Christmas time we make a few projects in the Kids Classes for the kids to give as gifts. A favourite project “my kids” enjoy making is a this little hand towel that is designed to loop over the handle on the oven door. I usually pre cut the fabric for them so we have enough time to finish it in the hour long class.

A favourite Christmas Project.

A favourite Christmas Project.

I found some cute Christmas hand towels that have the pattern printed on both ends so I just cut them in half right down the middle so one towel will make two gifts.

Holiday Hand towel cut in half.

Holiday Hand Towel cut in half.

You will need some 100% cotton Christmas fabric to make the handle. I made my own pattern for this and I have it available for you to download here: Hand Towel Handle Pattern. Lay the pattern piece on the folded fabric and cut around the edge so you have two pieces.

Fabric Handle

Cut two layers of Christmas fabric for the handle.

Place the two pieces right (pretty) sides together and pin around the edges, leaving the flat bottom edge open. I always pin with the heads of the pins hanging over the cut edge so they are easy to remove as you sew. Sew from the flat edge, all around the curved part down to the other flat edge, backtacking at both the beginning and end. If you have the needle in the centre position you can follow the edge of the presser foot along the edge of the fabric and it will be a 6 cm (1/4 inch) seam. The kids aren’t always so accurate, but that’s ok, it still works! Remember to remove the pins as you go, sewing machines don’t like sewing over pins!

Sew around the curved edge with the presser foot following the cut edge.

Sew around the curved edge with the presser foot following the cut edge.

After it is sewn, turn it right side out and press. Usually you would clip those curved edges, but with the kids, we don’t want to risk any snipped stitches so we just turn it right side out without clipping.

Turn right side out and press.

Turn right side out and press.

Turn the bottom raw edges in and press again, so there are no raw edges to fray in the wash.

Turn the raw bottom edges to the inside and press again.

Turn the raw bottom edges to the inside and press again.

Now the handle is all ready to attach to the towel! You need to pleat the towel to have it fit into the opening. I start in the middle and fold part of the towel under from each side, a couple of times, so the main pattern shows nicely.

Pleat the towel to fit the opening of the handle.

Pleat the towel to fit the opening of the handle.

Tuck the towel into the opening and pin in place. Place it under the presser foot so you can follow the left side of the presser foot against the bottom edge of the towel. Don’t forget to remove the pins as you go.

Place the pleated towel into the opening of the handle and pin in place.

Place the pleated towel into the opening of the handle and pin in place.

Following the left side of the presser foot, sew the handle to the towel.

Following the left side of the presser foot, sew the handle to the towel.

Now comes the really fun part, the buttonhole! The Brother NS40e has a one step buttonhole with several different styles to choose from. It has a nifty foot that you place the button into. The button fits into the slot in the back, which you can adjust for different sized buttons. A sensor on the foot makes the perfect size buttonhole to fit the button! How cool is that?

The Brother NS40e has a one step buttonhole foot.

The Brother NS40e has a one step buttonhole foot.

The regular presser foot just pops off by pressing the button at the back.

Push the button on the back of the presser foot to remove it.

Push the button on the back of the presser foot to remove it.

Then you centre the bar on the buttonhole foot and lower the presser foot onto it to snap it into place. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, the nice thing about buying a machine at a sewing machine dealer, rather than online or in a big box store, is that they will give you lessons on how to use your machine and changing feet is just one of the things they will teach you.

Be sure to lower the little lever so it fits behind the tab on the buttonhole foot.

Make sure you pull this lever down so it fits behind the tab on the buttonhole foot.

Make sure you pull this lever down so it fits behind the tab on the buttonhole foot.

The lever is in place! This is an important step or you won't get your perfectly sized buttonhole.

The lever is in place! This is an important step or you won’t get your perfectly sized buttonhole.

For this buttonhole I chose the standard buttonhole, which is Number 34. It has a preset stitch length and width, you don’t have to make any adjustments at all. Do you see the letter “A” above the 34? That is the number of the buttonhole foot, so you know which foot you need to use with this stitch. This is another reason the Brother NS40e is a perfect beginner machine!

Number 34 is the buttonhole we are doing.

Number 34 is the buttonhole we are doing.

Once we are all set up and ready to go, I place the towel under the buttonhole foot and lower the presser foot. I have positioned it so that the front of the handle is facing up, as that will be the “pretty” side of the stitch. The buttonhole starts stitching backwards so I have placed the towel under the foot facing backwards from where I want the end of the buttonhole to be.

The fabric is under the presser foot and ready to go.

The fabric is under the presser foot and ready to go.

Now, all you have to do is just step on the foot pedal and let the sewing machine do the work! Don’t take your foot off the pedal until the machine comes to a complete stop.

Here is our PERFECT buttonhole!

A perfect buttonhole!

A perfect buttonhole!

You can either cut the buttonhole open with tiny scissors being careful not to cut the bar tacks at the ends or you can use a handy little tool that just cuts buttonholes.

Either cut it open with tiny scissors or use this handy buttonhole cutter.

Either cut it open with tiny scissors or use this handy buttonhole cutter.

Now all we have to do is sew on the button and it’s all done!

Sew on the button.

Sew on the button.

I use a double thread and start by taking a small stitch from the front of the towel, so the knot will be hidden under the button. Bring the thread up through the button hole and then push it back down through the other hole so the needle and thread is at the back of the towel.

Push the needle back down through the other hole.

Push the needle back down through the other hole.

Here is the tricky part: find the first hole again, but from the backside of the towel. Sometimes you have to feel around a bit to find the hole. When you’ve found it just pull the needle and thread through completely and then pass it down through the first hole again. Do this several times and end on the backside of the towel. Take a few stitches in place to knot it and then snip your threads.

Keep passing the thread up from the back and then down through the first hole from the front.

Keep passing the thread up from the back and then down through the first hole from the front.

 

After the button is sewn on, it's time to button up!

Finished! All buttoned up!

We also made these hand towels at Hallowe’en! They really could be made for any occasion such as Thanksgiving or Valentines Day.

If you have never sewn before and even this seems daunting then sign up for some sewing classes! I not only offer classes for kids, but adults too! My specialty is the absolute beginner, you don’t even have to own a sewing machine to start.

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