Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fashion Plates?

Before Sylvie was born, I decided to sew the diapers we would use. After tears and screams of frustration, Jason decided it was time for me to have a new machine. That's when this entered my life. It changed my sewing life. When it died a couple of weeks back, I replaced it with the same model. The children wondered whether they might use this motor-less machine as a crank machine. I said sure, and Phaedra set to work.

She has sewed and sewed, spinning the wheel that drives the machine, making a doll many new outfits. I have been surprised by her innovations as she figures out how to assemble clothes. She asked almost no questions once she figured out how to thread the machine and fill a bobbin.

As I watched her, I remembered a toy my grandmother kept for us to use at her house. It was these plastic shapes that you set over a doll form. You could then make paper dolls using these shapes to create paper outfits of different textures. Anyone else remember Fashion Plates? Anyway, I thought about how much she might enjoy that. 

Fortunately, I watched a little longer and realized she was doing something much better. She's learning how buttons and buttonholes work. She's learning how clothing COULD be assembled. And how different fabric acts. And how seams can look. And how to ornament clothes. And a thousand other things. She is not limited to a set of six textures and designs, but instead only to the dribs and drabs of my sewing box plus what she has collected. It's a pretty good selection.

Also, she's feeling empowered to actually sew. There's no pattern telling her she's right or wrong. She's learning the mechanics of sewing with only her doll to please, and the doll continues to smile contentedly.

I'm glad I curbed my impulse to "enrich" her activity.

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