My almost fourteen year old son Alex has always loved having me create little stuffed animals for him from his drawings and descriptions. But recently he decided to do one completely on his own. His main intention was to make a giant squid, because we'd seen a cool program about them not so long ago. He drew with Sharpie marker on some old red flannel sheeting and cut two pieces out. I did help him figure out how to sew the creature up so that the tentacles would be outside rather than inside (tricky the first time you do it). I also had to show him how to sew on the button eye. Hey, that sewing on a button skill is a must-teach survival skill in my opinion.
He took the original red one to school and it was promptly christened a Squabster, since it is somewhere between a Squid and a Lobster. His friends (both boys and girls) went wild for it and requested their very own Squabsters. He's made many many others, here is just one of the innovative ones made out of fake snakeskin with an interesting button eye. It cracks me up to think of all these too-cool-for-school middle schoolers running around with their little stuffed toys
He was crowding me at my sewing workspace so I had to give him my old sewing machine to use at his desk in his room. At first he was complaining about it not having the automatic thread cutter and knee lift, but he soon got used to it and was really happy to be sewing away in his own room, blasting tunes on his stereo. Luckily I have at least two of every sewing supply hanging around my studio, so was able to give him a pin cushion and scissors to use. Because if he steals the ones I always use, it will not be a good thing as I'm really particular about the pins I like to use, and there are only a few scissors that I really like a lot. grrrr, stay away from my stuff. Who knew I was so particular and territorial....
He comes home from school everyday with a new order request for a Squabster which he creates out of my fabric and button stash (hey, at least it is getting used for *something*). One kid even gave him the fabric and a button he wanted used in a little bag. So far he's just giving them away, but I told him to consider charging at some point in the future.
I'm personally quite thrilled about his interest in making stuff with fabric, it is really cool to have inspired this free-wheeling creative impulse in my own kid. My arms are sore now from patting myself on the back (grin).
(Oh and I did ask if I could write about this on my blog, along with the pictures, he said "sure I'm proud of my Squabsters")