My little sister in law visited us and wanted to learn how to sew. I was so excited to teach her, especially because my own daughters don’t have the slightest interest. I let her pick what she wanted to make. If you keep the design simple enough, even a beginner can make almost anything she wants. Thankfully, she wanted to make pillows (super easy!) and a purse (slightly harder but still very doable).
We bought new pillow inserts that she can recover with new shams any time she likes. I won’t give detailed instructions here because there are so many great pillow tutorials, but here’s a quick breakdown:
For the front of each pillow, we took the height and width of the insert and added an inch to each measurement. To make the back, we cut two pieces the height of the pillow plus an inch, then divided the width in half and added four and a half inches to that number to give a little overlap. (So for her 18″ square pillow insert, the front piece was 19″x19″ and the two back pieces were 19″x13.5″.) For each back piece, press under one tall side about a quarter inch, then turn it under another half inch and press again. Sew along this pressed edge to create the finished edges for the back opening of the pillow. To finish, lay the front piece right side facing up and cover it with each of the two back pieces (facing down) with the cut edges lined up neatly and pinned in place. Sew around the edges, clip the corner and turn it right side out. Easy?
She wanted to get a little fancy with her last pillow. Didn’t she do a great job?
It was her first time EVER sewing! She was amazing.
For lesson two, she wanted to make a purse.
We used the slouch hobo purse pattern from Ali Foster on Etsy because it’s a simple, easy to follow pattern that gives you a classically shaped purse. She enjoyed the instant gratification of the pillows but did a great job on her purse, too.
She was amazed that after spending $50 in a fabric store, she had three pillows, a purse AND left over fabric to make more things — not to mention that the pillows can be recovered again and again. And everything is in colors and patterns that she adores, because she picked them all herself.
Isn’t sewing wonderful? Hopefully this is only the start of a lifetime hobby!