Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rant

You guys know that I work in a Primary school don't you? I'm the library-chick. Naturally those kids with a love of fabric or sewing or general craftiness gravitate my way at my school and I often have little friends eagerly waiting to show me their sewing or glueing or crochet on Monday mornings. I share my supplies with them and lend them my own craft books. Its a great gig. Then these crafty little kids head off to High school and to the wonderful world of the textiles classroom.....or not.
Now, I know this can't be true of every textiles classroom in the entire world, but man, I have so many kids tell me how much they hate textiles at school - how boring the projects are, how they have to all do the exact same thing with the fabric that the teacher chooses. Yes I know that the logistics of teaching means it can't all be a free-wheeling roller coaster of fun...but I just hate it when these kids seem so 'flattened out" by something they were so looking forward to.





(A Christmas present for me from one of my Grade 6 friends-made from a jumper Thanks Martin)



So I was discussing this kind of thing with a parent one day and she said - "You should make a pattern that Jess could sew-something fun that would help her learn some basics.". That planted the seed which I then ignored for at least 6 months.I kept coming back to this idea of a really super easy pattern, I thought about the size and the things that made sewing patterns daunting but for a long time it just felt a bit too hard. Then there erupted a small "discussion" in blogland, in the quilting circles mostly. This discussion raged over a lot of topics but one of the them really stuck with me. Some people seemed to be upset by people who write and sell easy patterns (they were talking quilting), they seemed equally upset by people who made ten or twenty of the same quilts and didn't try and grow or expand their skills.
So, you know I stopped and had a think about this for a while and I got a bit disgruntled about it all. You know I don't want to belong to a craft group (online or in real life) that is going to dictate what I must make, or what is too easy or what my next step must be. I was particularly perturbed by the idea that people should not be allowed to sell simple patterns of their own design. Seriously , no-one forces people to buy things. Yes, I have seen patterns and thought to myself "You hardly need a pattern to make that - its so easy" but that's me, bringing my crafty logic and experience and knowledge to that pattern; ten or fifteen years ago I would have needed that pattern to get me started. So, I then applied that logic to the idea of toy-making and my thoughts returned again to the idea of patterns for absolute beginners. (of course being told not to do something is a great motivator ) If no-one writes simple patterns ..... what happens to the people who want to start to make /sew/quilt create. Where will they start?
At that point I rounded up some new pattern testers, Evie (9), Sarah and Lucy (13) Indi (10) and Connor (16) Kate (32) and together we fudged and bumbled and created three new patterns. To say that working with these guys was fun is a total understatement. Apart from the incident with the hair all the kids were absolute stars. The finished products and the sense of achievement these guys had (yes even Mr too-cool proudly showed off his two dogs to the boys in the band) made me think that I was on the right track. And of course we are talking months and months and months here. Pickle, Sally and Smith and Gulliver from the previous post are the three new beginner-friendly patterns. Pickle is the easiest and I am talking seriously basic info. We cover right and wrong side of fabric, back tacking, seam clipping - all the things you need to know, then they get a little bit harder as we go on and add button joints to Smith and then some super stuffing and a teeny hat accessory for Gulliver. So there is a bit of a rant or a reason , or an idea about what I was thinking and where these new friends came from. I am pleased, really pleased to have made these and of course I hope other people like them too. I'll be banging on about them for a few more posts, with some giveaways and stuff and I'll show you the ones that the kids made as well.

79 comments:

  1. Good for you!!! Oh, and your Jumper Birdie is fabulous, what a terrific gift, you must have been so chuffed :o).
    Hugs,
    Joy :o)

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  2. Brilliant as always. Of course beginners need beginner patterns, and yours are THE BEST!

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  3. Hey Jodie
    I love your thought patterns (get it). I am a lot older but I'm sure no wiser than you and I agree with what you are saying. Everyone has to start somewhere and there will always be a need for basic learning tools and slowly I think progress at a steady and interesting rate to the more adventurous tasks. Thus building and encouraging creativity. The building block you are suggesting will put these kids in good stead as they develop and whether they take these learned skills with them into their future or not they will never forget what you have shared with them and they will use these skills in some form throughout their lives. You are so lucky to have this creative talent which you can share in your work place with the next generation. I have no doubt they love their time spent with such an engaging person. You truly rock, girlfriend. Groovy.

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  4. I'm with you Jod. Completely!
    People do need a starting point and most probably patterns are aimed at adults usually, with some level of experience.
    This is a very good idea. One worth persuing, for adults and kids.
    Some of my simple patterns (not in print) have been commented on, asking 'Is there a pattern'.
    There is a need out there!
    We shouldn't take for granted that everyone knows...
    Go for it :-)

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  5. Since I have only been sewing for a few years, I have to say THREE BIG CHEERS for beginners patterns. And nice ones at that.

    Sadly there is a great deal of judgemental nonsense and snobbery about patterns and projects (... and increasingly about craft blog content too). Its all a load of piffle.

    Craft is not a competition .... its all about what makes you happy.

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  6. Good on you! I think that's great that you've done some patterns that are starting from the beginning. I remember the first softie I made... I jumped off the deep end as far as my skill level went. The more I've made the easier I find SOME patterns. And others I just look at and think... there's no way I'll ever be able to make those. It's important to let people know that there's a beginners starting place.... and what a great thing for young people to be able to make themselves too!! :)

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  7. You go girl!
    fabulous, fantastic and super duper!
    em

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  8. Brilliant idea! My eldest did something like this every Saturday for a term when she was 10 and whilst the program wasn't perfect she did enjoy it. Of course she already knew the basics because I love to sew, but this foray on her own (without me) seemed to help her grow enormously. She's a grown up now with kids of her own and a softie pattern published in Homespun. You never know what you might be starting there!

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  9. Urk I'll never forget being soooo excited to start the embroidery unit of our sewing classes and being handed a piece of hessian to blanket stitch around. Hessian! I was supremely disappointed in my sewing classes all those (let's not count them) years ago.

    Glad you are making some simple patterns, I showed my daughter and she thinks they are all so cute and will have a go at one or two or them. The thing about all this current chatter on craft blogs that I don't understand is - isn't it all supposed to be FUN? I don't want to be challenged at every turn and have to puzzle out hard designs all the time (I am a quilter). Sometimes I just want to whack some squares together, quilt them, and there's a quilt. And how true is that of making little animals too - it is supposed to be fun! That can mean challenging sometimes - but sometimes it can mean easy and quick and the absolute joy of the statement 'look what I made!'

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  10. I've been one of those who thought "why are they selling a pattern for that? It is just squares sewn together, etc", but like you, I have many years of sewing experience (since age 11)and beyond that have been quilting for 10+ years.

    I would absolutely need the most basic type of pattern for toy making of the caliber you always show on your blog. How fun that you worked with the kids to assemble the basic vocabulary and look you wanted to get across. They are all terrific looking and don't seem super simple to me--lots of detail and ways to make even more unique.

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  11. Yeah...THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!! People forget what its like to start, with out a clue in the world on how to put two pieces of fabric together. Thats why I have some very basic tuts on my blog. Particularly the head band, you have no idea how many 9-12 year olds have a go at it!

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  12. Fantastic idea, I know my oldest is only 5 but he loves to try to make things, and anything I could use as a teaching tool would really help!

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  13. You're so right - simple is good. I worry sometimes that the whole sewing/crafting/quilting thing can seem a bit snobby to people who might want to try for the first time. I often read on blogs that people feel that the things they make aren't good enough because they aren't complicated enough or well executed enough ... everyone has to start somewhere. Thanks for your wonderful contribution to "people who love simple softie patterns", like me.

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  14. What a wonderful idea, and I couldn't think of a better person to write such patterns than yourself.
    And the jumper bird is beyond words the best thing since sliced bread.
    I couldn't agree with you more, how or why when kids reach high school do they try to squash all the creativity and individuality out of them is beyond me ( that said bird is a beautiful example of)
    You're ace mcgace. xo
    PS I was one of those kids who wanted to do more crafty things at high school in textiles and was swiftly directed to make my pajama pants instead.

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  15. I would have loved these patterns when I was in Year 7 Textiles. Our projects were a blanket-stitched and appliqued blanket, an appliqued cushion, a choice of boxer shorts or apron, and the best was a tie-dyed two-piece frog softie with really cool eyes. If we'd been presented with Pickle and Co we would have flipped out from excitement. It'd be great to see these patterns with an educational license.

    Cheers to you for filling a massive gap in the market!

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  16. Firstly, I'm so glad you made the easy patterns - we all have to start somewhere. Go for it!

    I have recently joined the quilting community but I came to it with the experience of having studied "garment assembly" at TAFE about thirty years ago. I know about machines and fabric and needles - but there''s still a lot to learn and there would have been more without my prior experience!

    I taught my daughter to use a machine when she was still in primary school - she too hated Textiles in HS; we still have unfinished projects hiding in her wardrobe even though she finished school in 2002 and is married and has left home!

    And I agree (even if as an ESOL teacher and former primary school teacher I know I shouldn't start my sentence with "and"); Don't tell me I can't do something!

    I believe it was Frank Sinatra who once said: "The best revenge is massive success!"

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  17. Yay for you! I still remember my high school sewing teacher looking at my feeble attempt to put together a blouse and saying "well it really isn't very good, is it?" I didn't sew again for decades, only starting again when I saw Homespun magazine and the cuteness of the toys.

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  18. How fabulously fun!!! I cannot wait to see what the kids created!

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  19. Such a great idea and I can't wait to see the testers designs , good on you !

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  20. Yay for you! I credit my primary school teacher's aide with starting my own crafty beginnings so it is an important thing you are doing starting these kids on their own crafty journey. I am all for sharing and passing it on (especially as 2 of the crafts I do, spinning and bobbin lace, are full of little old ladies in their 70s and 80s) If we don't encourage and support the younger generations then when we all go to the great craft stash in the sky everything crafty will go with us!
    I'll get off the soap box now. Kudos to you!

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  21. YAAAAAAYYY! HOORAY!!!! I'm soooooo happy that you have made these wonderful sofites as a pattern aimed at school kids. It's a fantastic idea! The last 2 years I helped the grade 6's make softie toys and they just loved it! Both boys and girls had heaps of fun and loved the end results. We needed some basic softie patterns out there so that kids can sew something easily themselves and not get frustrated or put off by the pattern if it's too complicated. Good on you - its just wonderful!!! LOVE IT!

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  22. Good on you Jodie, beginners need well written, interesting patterns. I think this ties into the feeling that some people have that basic, easy patterns should be free, but they often have more information and still take time to be written, tested etc etc.

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  23. Hurray for patterns, and can I stick up for my highschool textiles experience - I went to Loreto and we HAD to go to spotlight, buy our own patterns [within parameters] and fabrics. I don't know if they do that now, but were were certainly encouraged not squashed. I'm sad that not everyone gets good encouragement and creative licence.

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  24. Jodie, YOU ROCK! It's a wonderful idea, and Sarah was so pleased to be a tester. Do you know my first choice for uni was secondary arts and crafts - but my academic score was too low . . . glad patterns are being well received. How was yesterday? Was thinking of you.

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  25. Love it Jodie! I am SO looking forward to seeing what the kids have made!
    I so totally agree with all that has been said, At school we had to make an apron. In calico, everyone's apron was the same. It was so boring.

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  26. I think it's a brilliant idea... so many people have been put off making things (including toys) because they seem too hard..... and having to make something you don't want..... these are just lovely, lovely...
    Hugz

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  27. Hooray - I thought it was just me!! I have fantastically talented stitchers who want to learn being told in high school you are going too fast or you have to do the paper sewing (remember following the line on the paper) for two terms!
    And then they get to do something not remotely interesting - a pillow case.

    Why cant these kids get a chance to have some fun and learn from their mistakes and successes rather than treating them like cattle.

    (I feel better now)

    Thanks Jodie for making some cool starter patterns - have ordered them and waiting onthem with much anticipation!!

    Merrilyn

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  28. Awesome Jodie! Envouraging kids to create - what could be better than that! Can't wait to see what your pattern testers created.

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  29. Go Jodie! That "discussion" made me want to tell the person who started it to get back in her box and put the lid on right after I asked who died and made her Queen of The World, I didn't but boy was it hard not to!!!!....the whole "discussion" was SO condescending and judgmental. I hate to think how many potential wielders of a sewing needle that "discussion" put off...everyone has to start somewhere with something they've not done before whether they be six or 60. I simply exercised my right to choose and I choose not to visit with those bloggers anymore, not that they'd notice. It's awesome that there will be patterns out there that are not only easy to make but give the maker some training in how to go about it and the chance to love creating.

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  30. good on you Jodie....I absolutely hate it when people try to stiffle the learning abilities of others...we all need basic patterns at sometime....it's then up to the maker to make that pattern their own with whatever medium they use....we need to encourage kids (and not so little kids) to attempt things they wouldn't normally try....

    and sometimes those experienced persons like to do some simple things again, and I think we forget about these at times, that keeping it simple doesn't mean you didn't put any thought into it!!!!

    (use to hate it in school when the textile teacher would try and tell you that's way too hard for you to try! so what...if it's not perfect...it's a learning experience...and I think we all need those!)

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  31. Oh Jodie, what a great idea and new venture! I've just been teaching my girls to sew this summer (Becca just turned 9 and Jessie is 6) and this would be so great for them. I'm about to do a post on their first sewing stint, would love to give your patterns a plug if you'd like. Let me know!

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  32. Well done Jodie! Brilliant, as everyone has to start somewhere - and even the most experienced can learn from the basics.
    As far as I'm concerned there are no rules in the world of sewing just guidlines to try and tweak and stuff up and ignore.
    Those that have strict rules can bugger off and make way for the rest of us.

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  33. Oh thank goodness for people like you Jodie. I have been sewing for many years however I often find that I have to stop midway through making something from a pattern to google how to do things. Too often there is too much assumed knowledge in patterns and unfortunately when I was learning to sew, there were no good beginners patterns available, so a lot of the basic knowledge really wasn't learned. I would be most grateful if you would make a beginners pattern that incorporates a zipper........over fifteen years of sewing and I don't even know how to do that! I rock at zig zag stitch though lol

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  34. Jodie I think this was/is a FABULOUS idea!! I agree wholeheartedly about the whole 'snobbery' thing when it comes to quilting and crafting. I can't wait to see what your young friends have been making!!
    Fantastic stuff!!!
    Hugs! Vikki xoxo

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  35. Oh god this comment box isn't big enough to contain my agreement with you.

    Quite aside from how much it shits me when people make judgements about what you should or shouldn't make sell do blah blah, I know as a teacher and a pattern maker how often I get pulled up by people asking how to do something that to me seems so easy and obvious I would never have dreamed explanation was required. But MY BAD (as Amy would say).

    How defeating is it to say something is too easy to deign to explain it?! How many soldiers are missing from the craft army because they couldn't get going on something us more experienced folk couldn't be bothered explaining? How many comrades must fall by the wayside as we march toward the goal of a wholly handmade world because no one explained every seam must begin and end with a back stitch? That you don't cut your pattern piece off grain or in the centre of your fabric?

    Oh the humanity?!

    I tell you, we will never win against the manufactured plastics of this world if we don't seize each and every opportunity to win support for our cause. To shine the light on each every principle and hard won habit we have acquired, every trick and every joy of sewing we have up our sleeves.

    Don't be mistaken people, this is a war we're fighting and too hard patterns and crappy textile class projects are just the kind thing that is letting our side down. That and polyester fabric and acrylic craft felt.

    So I applaud you Miss RR, nay, I award you the purple heart for services rendered in leading us to the promised land.

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  36. Loved your rant Jodie,
    Simple patterns are necessary to learn. I love softies, but am not sure how to proceed, so easy is good. Your patterns also show that easy doesn't have to mean dull or boring (often something people seem to think). I think everyone is free to make what they want, afterall no one is forcing anyone else to do it.
    Hugs, Sharon

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  37. Perfect rant to read on a Sunday, thanks Jodie. I absolutely agree that there needs to be beginner patterns, because many patterns out there now would be off-putting for a new sewer. I was lucky enough to have the worlds best textiles teacher and got an excellent grounding in 'the basics', pattern terminology etc. But if I hadn't I would find a lot of terms in patterns not explained very well, or at all.
    My 5 and 7 year old girls currently make softies out of paper, a stapler and stuffing (The 7 y.o.'s design) but when I upgrade them, your patterns would be perfect.
    Anyone who has time to criticise people who are trying to make it easier for newbies to join the fabulous crafting world clearly doesn't have enough fulfilling projects of their own happening.

    (And that hair story has randomly popped into my head since I read it and usually leads to me scaring people with my sudden, private fit of giggles.)

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  38. Quilters, softie makers, knitters, crocheters and dress makers have been making specialised fun, simple beginners (and children's beginner) patterns for a very long time. You are just another in a very long line of people who have done this before you.

    As for the war against too hard patterns. There is no such thing as a too hard pattern, just techniques you haven't bothered to learn yet. Sometimes the pattern, regardless of the required level of experience needed, is badly written.

    With regard to the other comments, you start off with something easy and then progress. Otherwise you can stagnate.

    My understanding is that these experienced quilters, softie makers and pattern writers are thoroughly fed up with being told that they are no longer relevant in the industry and that the newbies have reinvented the wheel - or have just added white.

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  39. What a great idea Jod - I can't wait to show them to Minx, as she's cope better with following a pattern than following her mother's attempts at instruction!

    I totally agree with your rant about the patterns. We all have to start somewhere and actually even an experienced crafter can learn a great deal from something simple. It's far too easy to get sniffy about newbie level projects.

    As for the quilts thing, I see no problem with making the same quilt several times as it's as much an exercise in colour as it is in showing off your radical quilting skillz!

    Now for the textile teaching thing...I was blown away by the textile work at Monster's soon to be new school and I can't wait to help with the homework on that one!!

    xxx

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  40. GO jodie - you are doing good.

    Pleased you followed your gut feeling.

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  41. We should all try to remember when it wasn't easy and we had no idea what we were doing, I have grandchildren that remind me of that constantly....thank god!!
    Lizzie
    xxx

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  42. Great idea, great patterns, great post. 'Nuff said.

    Fine

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  43. Well said. Totally fantastic.

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  44. These are awesome. I have two girls that would love to dive into these projects. When will they actually go on sale? Also, just a suggestion... sometimes newbie crafters feel better with a kit, you know, where all of the materials and stuff are already pre-selected. Not cut out, but just that they don't have to wander into the fabric store with a list and hope they get exactly what they need, cut to the right length, without getting clobbered by outright snobbery. It happens to my girls when they want to sew a project, feeling intimidated by the clerks because of their age (and sometimes treated poorly too, sigh). As if they aren't the future consumers of that store after all, eh?

    Anyway, I just thought I'd throw out that idea of making patterns with an optional kit.

    Best wishes!
    charlotte

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  45. We all have to start somewhere, and it really helps if we start with something fun.

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  46. Oh! These people must forget what it was like to be a beginner themselves..... to hold a needle and thread and wonder how they go together..... to look at fabric and be almost fearful of cutting...... either that or they were born with the gift of intuitive creating and never a lesson needed to be learned.

    Over years I have bought many a book and pattern often never cutting into them or following directions to the letter but always leaving with inspiration, dreams and many ideas for future crafting.

    Well done to you my brave friend for joining the ranks of the inspirers!

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  47. I love this idea. When I was at high school I had a great home economics teacher who realised that I was a sewer so she let me have a bit of freedom. I had to do the required projects but if I got it done I was allowed to make something that I wanted to. So I made a pencil case, glasses case and teddy bear in my first year. This meant that I loved Home Ec and was really enthusiastic about sewing, craft and that area.
    Thank goodness there are people in the world like you who see a need for patterns, create the pattern and then allow young people to find them and (hopefully) develop a life long love of craft/textiles.

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  48. Jodie is a RockStar, Jodie is a RockStar!

    I quite agree with you about beginner patters and the need to show the way in. And that they be something worth making - you got that covered ;-)

    My gripe is not with the Beginner and progressing level patterns. It's the whole Quick and Easy concept. Like the only craft worth bothering with is something you can shove together in an hour - having spent a large amount of mone on pre-prepared materials. I got an email from the big-box craft supply shop over here recently the proudly proclaimed such and such a product as "no skill necessary". Ugh. Yeuch.

    There are a number of new magazines out in the UK recently and a very experienced crafty friend and I were looking at one and I asked her what she thought - "perfect for my Brownies" was the reply. Could be taken two ways that. I thought the projects were indeed aimed at beginners and the new to crafting - I'm not that, so it's not for me, but should it be out there - absolutely. As long as it's not patronising or badly done - we need more people - as Sooz said - to join the craft army!

    We all had to start somewhere.

    And some of us - in toymaking - haven't actually progressed all that far!!

    So, uh, yeah. What you said. :D

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  49. Hang on! Sooz awarded you a purple heart. Did your injury relate to the 'hair incident'?

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  50. Utterly ace.

    Pickle looks relaxed. I like his style.

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  51. Fabulous - great idea! I so believe in what you are doing! Keep up the good work!

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  52. Good on you! I have been teaching my 10 year old daughter to sew, and a lot of it has been showing her basics, like sewing fabrics right sides together etc. But one of the really important things to learn with sewing is how to follow a pattern. From there we can all learn how to wing it, but even now, I am scared of patterns. She LOVES pickle btw. Don't listen to others out there...if there is a market for something, people will buy. And I do think there is a market for this.

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  53. 1. I love you.
    2. that should be all, but
    3. there's an anonymous comment up there somewhere that is a bit snarky and well
    4. I reckon they're one of the ones bitching about people having a go and finding their own little plot in the crafting world, so
    5. Back in your box anonymous. If you're too gutless to put your name on the comment then don't comment at all.

    It's almost 3am. Can you tell?

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  54. Oh rant away jodie... I'm 100% behind you. Actually, I'm kicking you off the soap box for just a minute so I can have a little rant of my own.
    As a teacher in my own craft studio, I know the hardship of finding the right pattern for students of all levels. Bring on those easy beginner patterns!!
    As for the snobbery... sadly it exists in all areas of arts and crafts... but the beauty of blogland is we can hit the 'goodbye' button when we stumble upon it. Not so easy out in the real world.
    Jumping down from the soap box now [giggle]. K ♥

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  55. Exactly! When you are trying things out, sometimes you just want a list of items and instructions on what exactly to do just so you can experience it. You'd rather not get hung up by steps that need to be research before you get to the next step. Well done, Jodie!

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  56. totally with your Jodie, beginner patterns are the first step for most people!
    and the patterns are dead cute but that was to be expected :o)

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  57. I love a good rant and totally agree. Gemma and both my nieces who didn't even go to the same school and who are years apart all made the same things at school. A pencil case and a pair of boxer shorts. One niece had the fabric going one way on one side of her boxers and the other way on the other side. She passed, not quite sure how. Your idea is fantastic I think we should be encouraging the younger generation at every opportunity, with fun project that might inspire them.

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  58. Bugger forgot LOVE the sweater bird.

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  59. Oh, that was a good rant. I'm with you.
    When I was in elementary school our music teacher just yelled at us and made us sing really stupid embarrassing songs. How did she keep that job so long? It would have been cheaper to buy records and just let us have a few peaceful minutes to listen instead. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. Your post brought it to the surface. I feel better now. :)

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  60. As a young high school textiles teacher the problem is that there is no 'young blood' coming through with exciting new projects to teach basic skills. There are lot of 'older' teachers doing the same old thing. At my school textiles is thriving and I put it down to our enthusiam, energy and vibrant modern projects using funky fabrics. If youwould like any information about what we do drop me a line ! kellyevans06@hotmail.com

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  61. Everyone starts somewhere. And most of them want to follow a pattern. You are a giant among women, and my favorite blogger ever. Seriously, the encouragement you give is incredible. Can't wait to see the kids versions!

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  62. Good for you Jodie. Late bloomers like me LOVE an easy pattern, and having a basic like that means we can spiral off and create from there.

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  63. This is an excellent topic Jodie and I am so glad that you are exploring it. I absolutely agree with you that no one should be told when at to craft or when they have 'grown out of a skill/hobby'. Some people enjoy doing the same things over and some people like to chop and change or indulge in a challenge. Crafting is fun, it should always make you feel good. I also think that what seems easy for one person can seem difficult for someone else. Softies are SO hard for me, I would absolutely never even try one without a pattern no matter how basic it looked, and I really enjoy good instructions.
    Your new easy range of softies are beautiful, and the appeal for kids and adults is ingenious. I am so glad that you have given this the amount of thought that you have because it will be so beneficial and encouraging for new and old crafters alike.

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  64. You are spot on as usual, Jodie. I hate to think how many youngsters' potential life-long love of crafting doesn't eventuate because of boring projects offered at school, lack of encouragement at home/school and a lack of patterns that are interesting and easy to understand. Simple is good. Your new patterns are fabulous; I am planning to buy the Sally and Smith patterns when they're available for my lovely SIL in Wellington who wants to start sewing for her littlies. Well done you!

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  65. The new patterns are fabulous Jodie and I have some beginner-sewers who would love to make them so you've really hit the spot - especially with Pickle - he's adorable! Dot has chosen to do textiles for her GCSE exams over the next two years so it will be interesting to see what she has to do. Her projects over the last 3 years have been fairly basic but she has added some of her skills picked up at home to make them more interesting and she has incorporated stitching into quite a few of her art projects which has surprised and impressed her teachers.

    Keep designing lovely patterns for us! I'm off to sew some monsters with the children as I have finally sorted out my sewing room!

    Locket xx

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  66. This is great, I wish there were more like you around to do this sort of thing. If there were more people being able to reach that "sense of achievement" (as you so beautifully put it) I'm sure this world would be a better place. :-)

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  67. Great post as usual Jodie. Ms Anonoymous should go back in her little box. I've got one excited 8 year old here who can't wait to geqt started on pickle. Well done

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  68. I totally agree with you. Children should be encouraged to learn, awed by what they can do with thier own hands and brains, no bored to death with routines and predetermined results. And, IMHO, teachers who are bored with what they are teaching should find something else to do. Or maybe go to your library and borrow a craft book.

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  69. You are super ace Jodie I totally agree.
    I have a quilt shop and the most simple patterns are our best sellers. They attract new people into the patchwork world without scaring them. Giving them something to create that they think they can achieve by themselves. If we didn't have those simple patterns we wouldn't have new customers, simple as that.

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  70. Oh I'm loving this discussion! I'm a textiles teacher at an Intermediate in NZ and my goal is for kids to fall in love with sewing in my classes. When I was at Intermediate, my textiles teacher made me cry almost every day and in the end, it was my Grandma who taught me to sew. My teacher was the text book example of what NOT to do and I have resolved never ever ever to be like her.

    I am constantly on the hunt for books, magazines, patterns, internet freebies... anything that will spark excitement and creativity in my kids. I teach both boys and girls and I have to say that it's Australian books and mags that give me my best ideas. I bought my daughter your zipper mouth monster pattern and she had a blast making them for all her fiends, especially customizing their 'mouths'. My classroom is filled with samples and photos and fabric like you wouldn't believe and we have a ball every day. Shhssh don't tell the govt but I can't believe they pay me to do what I do! I would do it for free if I didn't have a mortgage :-)

    I love the idea of an educational licence... many patterns that I've thought would be perfect for school, designers have asked me to buy a copy for each child. While I guess that's fair enough, it's their pattern after all, $22 a pattern plus postage for 375 kids is a bit out of my budget.

    We're already chomping at the bit in my household, waiting for your patterns to be available.

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  71. Is it me or does everyone have a highschool textile's teacher horror story? My sister got a D for her pillow case in Year 8 ... well sewn but her choice to use contrasting dark blue cotton on her light blue pillow case was not well received ... I say out to the craft nazis and in with some basic, inspiring patterns ... you are spot on Jodie!!

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  72. I think there is an obvious need for easy patterns, as you said we all have to start somewhere. And I truly believe that no-one should be telling you what to do; make what you want, sell what you want and if people buy it then 'Hipphip Hooray! I am sick of people trying to influence others into what is cool too, 'so what' I say. Do it Jodie, we all started somewhere and that was with the 'easy stuff'.

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  73. Everyone has to begin somewhere, not everyone is born with a needle in hand and I admire anyone who encourages children to have fun with textiles, pens, pencils and paint!

    A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do...and good on you for standing your ground.

    Warmest hugs,
    Sandi

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  74. Hi, I'm a teacher too and I've often had this debate with people at work. Is it 'art' if you're telling the kids to make X exactly like you tell them. What's art and what's a craft? I think you need to have a nice balance of teaching techniques and also letting the kids have some freedom in what they create.
    Otherwise, I think their creativity suffers.
    So keep up what you're doing! :)

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  75. Thank you! I am scared stiff of softies and I need! instructions. I am sure i am capable but these may just give me the confidence to 'have a go'!!! And for the kids - so much better than the A-Line skirt we made in sewing in year 7 that NEVER was finished!!!

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  76. This is my first time to your blog...itz pretty great!
    My Noni (grandma) has been sewing since forever and she taught me how to hand sew and gave me scrapes to make my own barbie clothes. I periodically used the sewing machine and loved watching her lay out homemade newspaper patterns on the dining table, watching a garment come together. When I was in 7th grade we were given instructions for a lunch bag and I was pretty excited that I'd get to be Noni! Welll, I had a little trouble and the teacher talked down to me so badly that I felt ashamed I wasn't like Noni. It hasn't been till this point in my life that I've felt confident enough to touch a sewing machine and continue Noni's sewing legacy. (bringing up this memory makes me want to cry.)
    I will be in need of simple/basic patterns and i'm glad there are people out in internet land who acknowledge the needs of beginners :} Thanx a bazillion!

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  77. Oh I am so with you. Midget has found textiles at school very frustrating and the teachers she has had not with "it" in terms of designs and process. They took one term to make one bag which she could have done at home in an afternoon.
    A few times we have had some of her friends over and set up their sewing machines at the dining table and had a sewing day. The goal is that each girl will have at least one completed item to take home with them at the end of the day.
    I know she and her firends would love to try these patterns.

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  78. the new toys are fabulous Jodie absolutely adorable. I must add too that even though I have been sewing since I was about 13 I PREFER easy softie patterns and quilts for that matter as I don't have the patience or desire for fiddly hard patterns, so I am sure there are lots of peeps wanting easy patterns without the need to move onto harder and harder ones

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Hellloooooo !!!!