Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sewing Drawers

I've really tried to focus on something unrelated to my Montessori life during this Christmas vacation - really, I have.  The thing is, I can find something "Montessori" in just about anything!  Such was the case when, in an attempt to clear my mind of all things Montessori-related, I revisited my old hobby of counted cross-stitching:

Revisiting a favorite hobby - the beginnings of my latest endeavor...
While enjoying the simple quietude of this pastime, it came to me...  sewing drawers for the classroom, of course!  And with that, while removing some of the rustiness of having not cross-stitched in over a decade, I began formulating my plan for some sewing lessons in the classroom.

Enter the sewing drawers - I've started with three, but have ideas for at least three more:

Sewing Drawers

Drawer one:  Sewing with yarn on white shelf-liner.  Embroidery hoop with shelf liner; blue needle is hard to see in this photo, but it is directly behind the two choices of yarn; scissors.

Drawer two:  Sewing on burlap with embroidery floss.  Hoop with burlap; several choices of  embroidery thread wound on clothespins; small sewing scissors; needle.

Drawer three:  Cross-stiching.  Hoop with gingham (ideal for introducing cross-stitch); color choices of embroidery thread; scissors; needle.
Next to the drawers will be three baskets for the child to gather the necessary materials from the drawers and bring to a workspace.  Each drawer is set up so that only one child may be using the materials from any given drawer at a time.  These lessons will come after much practice with the preliminary sewing lessons such as the lacing shapes, sewing block, Threading a Needle as seen HERE, and working with pins:

Transferring straight pins.
I can hardly wait to introduce the lessons in the sewing drawers to my students.  Later, for some variation, I plan to change the yarn, fabrics, and add beads for the children to embellish their sewing creations.  Also, I have plans to add more drawers for learning to sew buttons and make small pillows...  But first we'll start with these first three sewing drawers, and I'll be reminded of how inspiration came to me when I least expected it - I'll let you know when I finish my latest cross-stiching project!

Montessori Monday Link-Up

Montessori Monday


  1. What I have been pondering all day is where should I put the sewing works due to lack of space?

    I decided to take a breather and browse the internet.

    Then I see this post in my reader!!

    I wish I could give you a big hug right now!!

    I love how you set up each drawer. They say copying someone's work is the greatest compliment. I will have to do this just like you this is so perfect!! I will definitely give credit where credit is due whenever I post about this work on my blog, or receive a compliment from a parent.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    Have a Happy New Year!!

  2. LOL! That is great! :) I'm so happy this came to you at the right time and that it will be so useful for you and your classroom. Best of luck and Happy New Year to you as well!

  3. This is a wonderful idea, Sasha! I love sewing activities for children, and your ideas for organizing and encouraging sewing activities are awesome! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page:

    Have a very happy New Year! :)

    1. Thanks so much, Deb! Happy New Year to you as well!

  4. I remember doing all of the same kind of needlework when I was about 12 yrs old. I have to admit that a lot of the needles used are quite small & I would be somewhat concerned with very young children being exposed to anything similar.

  5. HI Niamh,
    Thanks for your comment. I understand the concern about the needles - the ones in the sewing drawers are child-friendly, plastic sewing needles. The straight pins are always introduced with adult supervision and due to the nature of the activity, close supervision is always necessary.

  6. Love your sewing drawers! I am going to have to try the gingham fabric for cross stitching! Can't see what your kids make with them.

  7. Thanks, Amie! There has been a lot of interest in sewing these days thanks to the new set up. I am loving how I can fit more sewing lessons in a small amount of space - this is something I've tried to figure out for a long time, so I'm glad to see it's working...
    Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hi there! I'm a high school home ec teacher but am finding Montessori really interesting. I wish all primary schools taught sewing (on top of everything else I know). But I just wanted to say that my high school students have always loved transferring pins, it's a really calming activity for them to do and something that they 'just do' automatically.

  9. Sasha,

    I'm curious about the procedure for the hoops. After a child has used the work, do you or your assistant go ahead and prepare the hoop for the next friend or wait for a friend to ask for help? Does the child receive a lesson on how to prepare the hoop?

    I know I always ask you take time to answers question and I thank you so much that you do!

  10. Hi Heather,
    Preparing the hoop for the next person is part of the initial lesson. The last step of the activity is to "make it ready for the next friend," and the child fills the hoop.

  11. Hi, Sasha! Now that you've had a chance to use the drawer system for a while do you still like it, or do you think shelves would work better?

    I have been using Winky Cherry's, My First Hand Sewing Book, to teach elementary kids in my home studio for a couple of years. I am not a trained Montessori teacher, but have admired the method for years and yesterday I discovered that Winky was a Montessori teacher.

    Thank you for this lovely post. I'm going to try to set my studio up to be much friendlier for the kids by fall. :)

  12. This is beautiful. I'm so glad I found your blog.

  13. Would you mind sharing how you model appropriate length of yarn to use and tying a knot? thanks!

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