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Sewing a Friendship Quilt

on September 26, 2015

Activity Submitted by Dale Gausman of the

North American Montessori Center http://www.montessoritraining.net

Copyright 2015.  All Rights Reserved. Dale Gausman, NAMC

Material

Tray containing: darning needle and several straight pins in a pincushion; embroidery thread in assorted colors; fabric scissors; fabric paint; tacky craft glue; pencil or chalk. Basket containing: Pre-cut felt rectangles 9 x 12 inches (23 x 30 cm) in different colors, two per student; pre-cut fabric squares 3 x 3 inches (7.5 x 7.5 cm), four per student.

Presentation

  • Most Montessori teachers present this activity in Years 1 and 2. This activity can take place over several days. • In advance, send a note home asking parents to donate scraps of colorful fabric such as cotton to be used for the friendship quilt.
  • In advance, cut the donated fabric scraps with pinking shears (zigzag scissors) into 3-inch (7.5-cm) squares, enough for four per student.
  • In advance, place items on the tray and place the tray on a shelf. Place the felt rectangles and the fabric squares in a basket on the shelf next to the tray.

PART 1: GETTING READY

  • Announce that students will have an opportunity to make something beautiful using cloth and a needle and thread.
  • Go to the shelf and choose two felt rectangles and four fabric squares from the basket, place them on the tray, then bring the tray to the worktable or mat.
  • Explain the activity: The students will sew a colorful quilt, which is called a friendship quilt because a group of friends make it together.

PART 2: SEWING THE FRIENDSHIP QUILT

  • Take the felt rectangle from the tray and place it on the worktable, then choose one of the fabric squares and place it on one of the corners of the felt rectangle.
  • Remove two straight pins from the pincushion and hand them to you.
  • Demonstrate how to pin two sides of the fabric square securely to the felt rectangle, by placing the pins approximately 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) from the edges of the fabric square. Remove two more pins, then pin the other two sides of the fabric square to the felt.
  • Choose one color of embroidery thread, and with the scissors, cut off a piece of thread that is about 16 inches (40 cm) long.
  • Demonstrate how to tie a knot at the end of the thread, and thread the other end through the eye of the darning needle.
  • Demonstrate how to begin sewing around the edge of the small square, about 1/3 inch (.8 cm) from the edge. Pull the needle through one corner of the felt rectangle and fabric square, being sure the knot is on the underside of the felt.
  • Demonstrate how to make a running stitch by pulling the needle and thread up and down through the fabric in a straight line (the same stitch used for the hand puppet).
  • Demonstrate how to tie a knot on the underside of the felt once the fabric square is sewn on, then cut the thread and stick the needle back into the pincushion.
  • Remove the straight pins from the fabric and stick them back into the pincushion.
  • Pin and sew on the remaining three fabric squares on the other three corners of the felt rectangle, and tie knots on the underside of the felt after each square is sewn on. Use different colored thread for each square, thus giving students more practice threading the needle and tying knots.
  • Explain that this rectangle with four fabric squares sewn on it will be just one piece of the friendship quilt.
  • Bring a new felt rectangle from the shelf, this time choosing a different color.
  • Trace your hand on this felt rectangle, using a pencil or chalk, then using the scissors cut out the hand pattern.
  • Glue it in the center of the piece of the friendship quilt with tacky craft glue.
  • Write your name in fabric paint on the piece of the friendship quilt (see following image).
  • Place the friendship quilt piece in a safe place to allow the fabric paint to dry.
  • Encourage the students to make their own personal piece of the friendship quilt, as demonstrated.
  • Agree on a day by which everyone will have their pieces completed, so that the students can move to the next step in sewing a friendship quilt.
  • Remind the students to place all material back neatly on the tray when they are finished, and then to put the tray in its proper place on the shelf. Designate a storage area for all the completed pieces, and ask the students to place their pieces in this area.

PART 3: FINISHING THE FRIENDSHIP QUILT

  • Once the fabric paint is dry, invite the students to bring their pieces to the work area. Explain that all the completed pieces will be sewn together to make the friendship quilt.
  • Invite the students to lay their completed felt rectangles on the work area, so that they join like a patchwork quilt.
  • Demonstrate how to pin the rectangles together, then sew the rectangles together using an overcast or a zigzag stitch. Sew small sections of the quilt together at a time, or the quilt may become hard to manage. (It is recommended that the teacher pin and sew the quilt pieces together.)
  • Remind the students to clean the work area, place the material back on the tray, and return the tray to its proper place on the shelf when they are finished the activity.
  • When the quilt is finished, invite the students to display the quilt in a special place in the classroom for everyone to see.

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