Fun with Fabric Collage

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Inspiring future quilters, one scrap at a time!

What do you makers do on Mother’s Day? They make, of course! And what better way to foster the next generation of quilters than by starting them young with a project you can easily create together.

In Quilt Giving: 19 Simple Quilt Patterns to Make and Give, author Deborah Fisher shares tips on encouraging creativity and introducing kids to quilting through fabric collage. Although the idea was inspired by a project for her daughter’s preschool class, it’s easily adaptable for any home with a scrap basket. And chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve got one! Here’s an excerpt.


fun-with-fabric-collage-project-1Deborah Fisher’s Fabric Collage with Kids

We, as makers and sewists, have materials. We have scraps, bits of ribbon, buttons, whatever. We have the stuff of making. And in turn, our children, grandchildren, and their friends are exposed to those materials for making. I am always amazed to be reminded that many people are not. They do not walk around with thread stuck to their shirt. They are not daily, weekly, or even monthly makers. It is our job to expose them to those materials. Remember that superpower?

To get kids started, encourage them to make a fabric collage. Fabric collages are a great project for all ages and can be made by an individual or a large group. You can work one-on-one with your favorite kid or create a mural at a party.

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When my daughter was in her last year of preschool, it was my job one month to do something special with her class. Huge bags of scraps in my studio turned into a wonderful fabric collage! The colors, prints, and patterns had the preschoolers entranced. The theme that month was buildings, so we made a huge cityscape collage that hung in the classroom for the rest of the year.

How you structure your collage time will depend on your situation, location, and participants. To introduce kids to quilting, you may want to have a quilt theme and make quilt-block collages. Or leave the project open to the imagination of the participants. Whatever you decide, be sure to join in the fun. You may come up with a new quilt design in the process!

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To encourage creativity, cut fabric ahead of time so kids are inspired to use what’s available

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What you need:

  • Fabric scraps pressed and cut into geometric shapes. Squares, rectangles, and triangles are all that you need, but you could cut your fabric scraps into other shapes as well. If you have a fabric die cutter you can make multiples very quickly. I like to have all of the fabric already cut for use and do not supply any scissors. This encourages creativity in using what is available. It also reduces frustration in trying to cut fabric with scissors and little hands.
  • Glue, such as white school glue, brushes, and bowls. The natural impulse seems to be to put the glue on the fabric, but this creates a gluey ball of fabric and ruins the enthusiasm for the project. Instead, brush the glue onto the paper so the kids can apply the fabric on top.
  • Paper for the collage background, such as sturdy roll paper for murals and smaller paper for individual collages. The only skills you need are the ability to cut fabric scraps, add paste to the background paper, and let the kids get messy.

So go ahead, set out some paper, glue, and those beloved fabric pieces you’ve been saving for a special occasion. This is one project you’ll treasure forever because you made it together.

Happy Making,
Jodi

PS: Take another peek between the pages of Quilt Giving with Deborah’s easy-to-follow instructions for how to hand tie a quilt.

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