Sunday, April 3, 2011

What do ugly neckties and snakes have in common?

Let's see...they both have eye-catching designs and each can be frightening upon an encounter, especially when around one's neck.

After some research on-line to find a clever snake-themed art project for my preschoolers, I came across a fabulous idea to sew a snake from re-purposed neckties. But to my dismay, I went to click on the instructions and the author wanted me to PAY for them! As if! So I thought, "I don't need no stinkin' directions! I'll figure it out myself!"

So here is my version of a snake necktie. And by all means, freely use my instructions!
STEP 1: Open up the seam of the necktie. Iron the seams so they are open and lay flat.
Remove the lining and set aside. (You may want to cut it up and use as stuffing.)

STEP 2: Fold the tie over so the ends touch. The "right" sides of tie should face each other.
The "wrong" sides of the tie should face out. Pin in place. Can you see where the snake is?

STEP 3: Sew the snake together, leaving an opening at one end for stuffing.
Cut off excess fabric and set aside.
(NOTE: If you don't trust yourself to freely sew the shape, draw an outline as part of Step 2.)

STEP 4: Use the opening to turn the snake inside-out.
Double-check your seams to make sure none are popping open.

STEP 5: Stuff the snake with old pillow stuffing, shredded paper, or fabric scraps.
This part is fun for the kids!
(NOTE: You may need a long stick or dowel rod to help push the stuffing down.)

STEP 6: Pin the opening closed. Thread large needle with embroidery floss. Help your child to stitch the opening closed. Let your child select buttons for eyes and cut out a felt tongue. Help her stitch them on as well. OPTIONAL: Use more buttons or sequins to sew on snake scales.

VOILA! Your snake is complete!
I should note that after sewing 20 of these, this seemed more like an adult project than one for my students!

But that said, I brought my sewing machine to class and the kids took turns sewing (with help, of course) to make a class snake. The children learned how a sewing machine works and believe me, they were mesmerized! They were very impressed when I pointed out the stitching on their clothing and told them this is how clothes are made before they go to stores for us to buy.

After the children participated in the sewing demonstration, they each selected a "snake". Several of the children had brought in ties from home which they used. We assisted the children as they stuffed and sewed the snakes over the course of a couple classes during their self-directed play time.

I really loved this activity - it was worth all the advance preparation!

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea. You might want to pop back over to my blog and enter my Easter giveaway :)


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Yes, peas are delicious - and funny!

Yes, peas are delicious - and funny!
Our little guy at 15 months, February 2011.