Take something and make it better

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I haven’t talked about Malia in a while around here, and I think it is about time to change that! She recently had a fun school assignment – to invent something new, or improve an existing product. Well, it is no secret Malia loves to sew, but she also loves magnets. 😉 Besides my magnetic pincushions, she likes to use my little “scrap bag”  next to her sewing machine while she works on a project. The scrap bag holds cut threads and fabric scraps, and also includes a pincushion and a couple of pockets for small tools. Even though Malia does like to use this tool, she thought it would be cooler if it had a magnet pin holder instead of the traditional sand-filled pincushion. See where this is going? 😉

At her last sewing session, we worked on mocking up her design in paper first. She decided about how big she wanted the thread/scrap holder to be, and then set to work designing the shape and style.  After she was happy with her paper prototype, we evened up the pleat placement and transferred all the measurements and markings to a clean paper pattern. Who says you don’t use math in real life? Here are all her paper pattern pieces, the initial inspiration product on the bottom left, and the green fabric she is going to use for the new-and-improved-Malia-scrap-bag-pincushion. It’s true I gave her a little advice and a couple of suggestions, but Malia was in totally charge of this project. She had a very clear design concept, and gave a quick, definite answer to every one of my questions. I was blown away that a 10 year old could manage a project with this many steps, draft a pattern from scratch, and transfer it to fabric and make it come to life. I doubt I could have accomplished that at age 10!!

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I did cut the fabric pieces out for her since rotary cutters and sewing scissors are not intended for use by children, and then Malia transferred the pleat marks to her bag fronts.  Check out her concentration while she is working on her project!

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Malia was ready to get going assembling her bag. Since she had made a few lined zipper bags during other sewing lessons, she had a pretty clear idea how to go about the first steps of the construction process. And of course, she is a whiz at using her machine and doesn’t need any help from me in that department.

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Malia took her invention project home and planned to try to finish it up on her own. Just like last week when she found a rip in her snow pants, set up her sewing machine,  and mended the rip so she could stay dry while playing in the snow. LOVE that independent spirit of self-reliance, Malia!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

 

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