Scrunchie Sunday

Woman in sweater with handmade scrunchie

This sewing Sunday is dedicated to hand sewing a scrunchie. Scrunchies were in style when I was in elementary school and now they are making a full comeback. You know you are old when you start to see fashions come back in style.

Last week I practiced my backstitching, which is one of the two stiches required to make a scrunchie, in preparation of today’s project.

I found my sewing pattern and steps from the Sew Crafty Me blog. Before starting, I collected my supplies from my friend Heidi and Walmart. I picked out a cute grey and white polka dot cotton fabric from Walmart and borrowed the rotary cutter, cutting square and mat from my friend.

Scrunchie Supplies: Fabric, elastic, scissors, needle, thread, pins, rotary cutter, cutting square and mat.

The blog says that you can hand sew a scrunchie in 15 minutes . . . how long do you think it will take me?

I started my scrunchie at 10:21 AM. The first step was to cut the fabric into a long rectangle. Then you fold it with the right sides together and start backstitching.

Scrunchie Process: Backstitching the fabric into a tube.

After the you have backstitched the right sides together into a tube, you use a safety pin to help you turn the fabric right side out. The next step is to use a safety pin again to thread a piece of elastic through the tube and tie it into a knot.

Scrunchie Process: Fabric turned right side out and has elastic threaded through it.

Last step is to use the ladder stich to sew the ends of the tube together. I should have reviewed the ladder stich one more time before I did it, but I ended up just doing it from memory.

Scrunchie Process: Final Product.

I finished the scrunchie at 11:35 AM.

Making the scrunchie took me waaaaaaaay longer than 15 minutes! The longest part was completing the backstitching by hand. I think if I used a sewing machine, the backstitching would be reduced significantly and I would get closer to the 15 minute mark. One reason why I think it took a long time is that I was trying to make the line of stiches very consistent and straight. I had a really long thread because I didn’t want to have to re thread so I had to go slower so the thread wouldn’t knot upon itself.

Overall, I think the scrunchie turned out well and has been holding up with use. Next week I want to try and make another scrunchie and see if I can reduce my time.

Do you think I would be able to reduce my time?

Next time I want to try and use a time-lapse video to record my process that includes a running timer in the video. Did anyone use that type of video creator already? Any tips?

-Tina

And Sew It Continues . . .

fabric scissors needle needles scissors

The next project I am going to create is a scrunchie because I got the fantastic suggestion from both Alex and Allysia on my previous felt owl post. When I went looking for an easy hand sewing scrunchie tutorial I found Sew Crafty Me. The blog had lots of pictures and easy to read text so I think it will be a useful place to begin.

When I was reading the instructions, they indicated that I will need to know how to do a backstitch and the ladder stich. I already know how to the ladder stitch, but I have never done the backstitch before. So before I start making scrunchies and reliving my 90’s, I need to practice the backstitch.

In my first blog post about stitches I used Dixie’s blog and YouTube Channel
Treasurie. I really liked her style of explaining and showing the stitches so I returned to her YouTube channel.

Here is her YouTube video on how to backstitch:

I used white felt and red embroidery thread to practice my stitches so it would show up well in photos. When I make the scrunchies, I’ll probably use a coordinating thread so it doesn’t show.

I think I am ready to start making scrunchies now! What colours or patterns do think I should make?

-Tina

Those Who Can’t Do, Teach . . .

Brown and green owl patch

As a grade 7 homeroom teacher this year, I am required to teach Practical and Applied Arts (PAA) during the school year. Our school timetables PAA as a week of modules for students to explore. This provides some continuity and opportunity for students to do some cool projects. As a teacher, I get to choose my own PAA module and like a fool, I chose sewing. I thought it would be a great way to really test my developing sewing skills.

“Those that can’t do, teach, and those that can’t teach, teach gym”

– Jack Black as Dewey Finn in School of Rock

This means, that I will be teaching grade 7, 8 and 9 students how to sew for four days straight. I had five hours to teach each class and had a new class the following day. I chose to do the felt owl project as my lesson.

Preparing For the Lesson

In preparation for my lesson, I had to set up my materials. In the age of COVID, I created mini sewing kits for each student with some pins and needles attached to a piece of scrap felt, and a button. I also went to Michaels and grabbed all the different colours of felt, some colourful buttons, and a rainbow of thread.

I also created a Google Slides presentation to guide the lesson. My Google Slides presentation can be found on my Wakelet as well as the other resources I used for creating my lesson.

Teaching Tip: Kids are more creative when they have more options. I was so impressed with their creative colour combinations!

I also purchased some needle threaders, needles, thimbles and extra fabric scissors. Additionally, I photocopied a bunch of owl patterns.

Differentiation

Knowing that I would have a variety of levels within my class, I knew that I had to have an alternative project so all students could experience success. I purchased two kits from Amazon (This One and This One) as an additional option. These kits came with pre-cut felt shapes, with pre-punched holes, and an option of a plastic needle. In each class I taught, I had a student who required this adaptation. The students were able to experience success doing a project that aligned with their peers.

Student’s Adapted Sewing Projects

Teaching Tip: Make sure you think of all your learners when creating your lessons.

The Lesson

The lesson was the length of one school day, 5 hours, so I had to structure the day so students remain engaged and were able to complete their project by the end of the day.

I structured the day as below:

  • Attendance and Introduction
  • Sewing Safety
  • Cutting out Pattern
  • Sewing Buttons
  • Break and Snack
  • Running Stitch
  • Clean Up
  • Lunch
  • Blanket Stitch
  • Break
  • Owl Creation
  • Clean Up and Dismissal

Reflections

After four days of teaching students to sew, as a beginner myself, I learned a lot of things! First, students are really bad a threading needles and tying knots! I should have purchased 10X more needle threaders because they break soooo easily. I ended up tying and threading lots for my students. Secondly, teaching students to sew requires more than one adult. Some days I had an Educational Assistant to support the students and those days went way smoother. The students were fantastic and I was blown away each day with their creativity and skill. A few students worked really quickly so they even created a second owl or a creation of their own. Lastly, teaching students how to sew really challenged me to know my sewing technique. I watched and re-watched the videos multiple times so I could feel confident when teaching the students.

I know our learning projects were not supposed to directly relate to our teaching careers, but if you had to teach you learning project to students how do think it would go?

-Tina

Riding the Wave

Body of water

This week’s challenge was to utilize a new educational technology tool to support our learning projects. Based on Amanda’s strong suggestion, I decided to ride the wave and try Wakelet. I created a Wakelet of my various sewing resources and videos I have used to help me thus far. To check out my Wakelet click here.

What is Wakelet?

Wakelet is a free digital curation tool to save and organize various types of media related to a topic. You can add links, Youtube videos, tweets, text, PDF, or embedd your own Flipgrid videos. You can make your Wakelet public, private, or unlisted and invite collaborators if you want.

First Impressions

My first impression was “This is giving off Pinterest vibes” . I was adding links I liked to board to save them for future reference. You can collaborate with others on Pinterest, but Pinterest is limited to pictures and short videos. On Pinterest you use the photos as a placeholder for a link to an external site, like a bookmark.

Then I started looking at the educational examples on the Wakelet site, since that would be my primary use. Looking at the examples of student work reminded me of another tool I have used before, Glogster. Glogster is an interactive poster creator that allows you to embed videos, photos, accompanied by text and other graphics. Wakelet is more linear compared to the visual heavy Glgogster. Glogster is also a paid service.

How To Use Wakelet

Wakelet is super easy to use. Once you create a free profile you can start with your first collection by selecting the big green plus button.

My Wakelet Profile
Blank collection that appears after you select “Create New Collection”

From there, you would start adding content by again selecting the green plus button.

Adding Content from the Web Based Platform

You can add content a variety of ways:

  • Pasting a web address
  • Text
  • Images
  • Bookmarks
  • PDFS
  • Apps – Tweets, Flipgrid, YouTube, Google Drive, One Drive.

After you add content to your collection, you can customize the layout a bit, add a header and background photo, and share with collaborators or onto a new platform.

Wakelet for Education

Wakelet can be used for a variety of ways within the classroom. Wakelet should not be used for anyone under the age of 13, so it best to be used in grades 8 and up.

Ways to utilize Wakelet from their Educator’s Guide https://training.wakelet.com/

I found this Wakelet in the Showcase that does highlight how you can use Wakelet in schools. Also check out Paul West’s blog post dedicated to using Wakelet in classrooms.

Evaluation

Wakelet Evaluation from https://www.commonsense.org/education/website/wakelet

One the Common Sense website, Wakelet has a 3 star learning rating, a 4 star community rating and only a 57% privacy rating.

The safety rating is lower because Wakelet does show personal information, personal information can be shared with third party sites, and moderation or filtering of content is unclear at the moment. To read the full safety evaluation click here.

After reading the Common Sense website and my own exploration of the platform, I have summarized the pros and cons into the following chart.

ProsCons
Free serviceNot suitable for individuals under the age of 13
Easy to organize and annotateLimitations on organizing content
Linear layout lacks excitement
Upload a variety of formats including Flipgrid, YouTube, Google DriveStudents will come across inappropriate content in the public collections
Distracted in the public collections not related to assignment
Easy to share and collaborate on collections
Available on multiple platforms (web, extension, app)
Students who post their own collections publicly open themselves up to some risks especially if they link their social media accounts to their collections
Immersive reader embedded within the collections to support studentsDoesn’t show a a true reflection of student learning rather content they curated
Teachers must design assessments to evaluate learning rather than product.
Good for professional development PLC groupsDependent on teacher presentation and guidelines to be a pelagically sound tool
Summary of pros and cons of Wakelet from the Common Sense website and my own exploration.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I had a great first experience with Wakelet. I think it would be very valuable for online learning and for high school projects. Due to the privacy concerns, I would not use it in my current grade 7 classroom. If I teach senior science again (crossing my fingers!) I would utilize the tool for the student directed studies that they are to complete. When it comes to large projects I do like to give students choice in the platform they use for the final product, but this would be a great way to start organizing their research.

Prior to using Wakelet for a final product or as an assessment, I would have to do some more research on the evaluation component. If you have used Wakelet before, what was your assessment or evaluation that you provided the students? Or if you have not used it, what things would you consider before utilizing it with your students?

Sewing is a Hoot

assorted color sewing machine

I decided to change Sewing Sunday to Sewing Saturday this week because of Super Bowl! We are a pretty big football family and I want to be able to concentrate on all the snacks tomorrow – I mean the game . . .

Last week I practiced various types of hand sewing stitches. I wanted to practice those stiches again, but I wanted to actually make something this time. I spoke with a colleague of mine, Lynn, and she directed me to a cute felt ornament from this blog.

I had left over felt, thread, and buttons from my previous two weeks so I gave it try. I was so into the creation that I forgot to take pictures along the way. . . so I had to make another one. The purple owl I made was my first attempt and the green owl was my second attempt.

How does my owl compare the picture from Aurora’s blog?
https://juicy-bits.typepad.com/juicy_bits/2009/12/131-give-a-hoot-for-the-holidays.html

What do you think of my owls? What should I try to sew next?

-Tina