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  • Patterns

    Ormen Lange Bargello

    Pattern for the Ormen Lange bargello quilt

  • Mosaic Circles

    Downloadable pattern for Mosaic Circles

  • Bargello Flame

    Downloadable pattern for Bargello Flame

  • Bargello Dancing Flames

    Downloadable pattern for Bargello Dancing Flames

  • Somerset Pillow

    Downloadable pattern for Somerset Pillow

  • Nine Patch Kameleon Quilt

    Downloadable pattern for Nine Patch Kameleon Quilt

  • Downloadable pattern for Autumn Bargello

Designing and Sewing with Boys

Lately I have been working with a very young designer on a new quilt.

He has long been dying to lay his hands on granny’s sewing machine, as he knew he would be permitted to do when he turned five. (The older brother was five when he first sewed, so we had to be fair).

However, there was a huge time span (for a five year old, that is,) between his birthday and their next visit to our house, and since he also wanted granny to make him a new quilt, he started the design process while he waited.

First, he thought about what figures he wanted to have on his quilt. He decided on an octopus, an egg, and a car, which he drew on paper. He also thought the car wheel and speedometer should be included, and a (self made) road sign would also be appropriate.


After drawing these shapes on paper, he decided to make all of them in fusible plastic pearls (nabbi), and then tape the pearl shapes on top of the drawn ones.  A very wise decision, since this made the shapes to stand out very clearly.

It was also important to make notes of the sewing sequence.


While working on this, he also composed a song (lyrics and melody) about the quilt. Sadly, this was forgotten by the time he finally came to granny’s house.

Before the visit, I had acquired a photo of the design sheet, and had made some enlarged drawings on paper backed fusible web.


But first things first.  Before we could go on with the quilt design, or food, or anything, he had to try out the sewing machine. Here is one happy child 🙂

After a while, we managed to choose some fabrics for the quilt. The figures were easy, as he wanted the same colours as the pearly shapes, but the background was a bit more difficult. Blue with silver suns and stars was finally chosen for the background, and some green, turqoise, beige, and red for the quilt blocks.


After making all these decisions, and watching and helping with cutting and fusing the figures, he could finally work on a little project of his own. The leftovers were all his, to do what he wanted with.

Then the quilt was put on the back burner for a while, because he wanted to make himself a bag.


So he gets free access to granny’s fabric resource center (aka stash), and has a great time rummaging through lots of plastic bags.


Oh, the joy of finding a perfect, lovely fabric 🙂


For the bag(s) he decided on a rosebud pattern, – perhaps because it was available in several colourways, so he could make many similar bags. He (and granny) managed to make three during that first weekend. Note that one of them also has a pocket for his future mobile phone.

There are still two more colours of this fabric, so I guess there will be more bags before long.


He also decided that he wants a fabric collection, and it is going to have at least a hundred fabrics. Of course, granny’s resource center provided a few to start with. He first counted 31. Then he cut some of them for one of his small projects, collected the leftovers, and when he counted again, there were 37.

Useful lesson learned: Fabrics multiply when you are supposed to use them. There will be 100 in no time.


As for the older brother, he goes for quality rather than quantity. This is a quick sketch of the design for his bag. Orange is his favourite colour.


And here is the result, which he can be very proud of.  Sewing all those squares down took some time, even if they were fused first. And there are squares on both sides.

The quilt?

It was finished a few weeks later:


The white, musical fabric was a favourite, and it reminds us that there once also was a song about the quilt. The designer and recipient was happy with the result.

Now, there are some Pokemon drawings waiting to be turned into another quilt, for another young designer.




10 Responses

  1. Mammaen er kjempestolt og kjempeimponert! De er så flinke, alle saman ❤

  2. Eldrid, I always enjoy your blog and, even better, I always manage to learn something. Sometimes it’s something important like…life. This is not only an adorable post, but a good lesson – slow down, the entire creative process is meant to delight. Indulge in dreaming and be happy amidst all the many decisions to be made.

    Juggling work, parental caregiving and the demands of home management had recently robbed me of the “simple joy” of sewing. Instead of looking forward to my projects in motion, they had become a burden – just something else I was behind in.

    Thanks to two beautiful, talented (and fortunate!) young boys and their bestemor, I got a needed attitude adjustment. : ) I loved the results. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Jamie, how very kind of you 🙂 Thank you very much!

      I guess there is a window of time in a child’s life when this kind of activity is exciting and interesting, – so we have to grab the moment. In four or five years other things will be more important to them, but at least they will have learned that many things can be made by themselves instead of ready bought, – I hope 🙂 Then there is the joy of achievement and mastering of skills, of course.

      Thanks again, and best of luck with all your tasks 🙂

  3. I love teaching little kids to sew and make things! I am grateful to my mom who passed sewing on to me, and my sons are proud to be able to sew as well. Thanks for sharing this lovely piece!

    I see a future fabric designer in the making. – Mary

    • Thank you, Mary.
      Trying to “plant the seeds” here as well 🙂 You never know, – maybe there will be a fabric designer some day, or something totally different. Anyway, learning skills are never wasted 🙂

  4. Flinke gutar og bestemor 🙂

  5. Every quilt tells a story and this one is especially sweet. My grandsons have frequently enjoyed digging through the thread and button boxes, sitting on my lap while I sew or helping me cut fabric. You are right when you say that there is a window for this in a child’s life and we have to seize the moment. Lovely post and lovely grandsons Eldrid 🙂

    • Thank you, Amy Lynn. It is nice to see our grandchildren enjoying the same things that we do, and also make their own discoveries. The joy of grandparenting 🙂 🙂

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