Kiddos in West Hartford are heading back to school today! This year is so much different for my family than last year. Last year we had a brand new Kindergartner and my middle child was starting Preschool. To say that transition nerves were running high would be an understatement. A year later and it's already feeling like old hat. I love summer and, in theory, never want it to end but I'm beginning to crave some predictability and routine and schedules!
Part of that routine is our afterschool classes starting in just a week and a half. Right now we have a little space in Kids Monday, Kids Thursday, Teen Monday and Teen Wednesday. If you have a creative child who wants to learn a practical and fun skill then sign them up soon!
We're working off of a new "curriculum" this year. Over the years I've developed a few dozen patterns that have become favorites of my students. It's always a balancing act when we start a new session to find a project that the old students haven't done, that the new students want to do, that works for beginners and works for more experienced sewers. For the Early Fall session I've curated a collection of patterns (and added some brand new ones) so that all my sewers can find something that interests them and fits their skill level. I'm really excited about it (and bought some brand new colorful binders for the occasion).
One of the new patterns in this curriculum is the Insulated Lunch Bag. It's practical and fun (Insulbright, quilting, buttons, fabric, oh my!). My new students will get tons of practice with straight line sewing while the returning ones will get a chance to take it to the next level! Here are some ideas I have to kick it up a notch:
• Quilt As You Go (QAYG) the top--- returning students know this is one of my favorite ways to customize a project. So much color, so many scraps, so much technical thinking to get all the pieces connected without raw edges showing.
• Quilting designs-- straight lines are a good way to keep the layers together, but what about curves? What happens if you quilt really close together? What is you use different designs in quilting? What kind of texture is created?
• Change the size-- Not as simple as adding width or length when there are boxed corners involved. Sewing math is some of my favorite and I love watching kids work out the details.
• Frills and lace-- Our big collection of vintage lace is rarely forgotten with projects like this. Sometimes you just need a little trim to make it feel like yours.
To kick the school year off right, I'm happy to share the pattern with you! Make it for yourself, make it to sell, teach from it-- whatever you'd like! If you make something and post on social media please tag @hartfordstitch so I can see your beautiful work. Fair warning to my students, we'll all be stitching this as a warm up so don't make it until you get to class! The rest of you can find the PDF pattern here.
If you're looking to have an amazing coordinating back to school set check out last year's Back to School free pattern: the pencil pouch and the coordinating Composition Notebook Cover (a paid pattern).
Have a great start to the school year and Happy Stitching!