Get Ready #6 for Row by Row Junior      TRAVEL • COLLECT • LEARN

School may be out, but summer 2017 will still be alive with learning when kids hit the road to participate in Row by Row Experience’s brand new program, Row by Row Jr. It’s for kids ages 6 to 14 and follows the same schedule as adult Row by Row. Kids travel along with an adult, collect free row patterns designed just for them to make, and learn to sew at home with family help and support from Find participating shops here.

We created free downloadable materials and tutorials to make this summer experience the best ever. We’ll be adding more daily as we approach June 21, the first day of Row by Row Experience 2017.

Find Road Trip Journal writing here.  Activity Sheets part 1–Drawing What You Saw and Thread Collection here.  Part 2–Rover and his swatch sweater here.  Part 3–Let’s Sew Curves and Sewing Dot to Dot here.  See the five official Row by Row Junior row prototypes here.

Kids can!  All they need is opportunity, practice, a few good tools, and a willing adult.

The Row by Row Junior Tool Kit can be found on the back cover of all Junior patterns. It’s a list of common tools and notions kids should have available when working on Junior projects. Most of these tools can be found at your favorite local quilt shop. Some shops might package them together for your convenience and label it as a Junior Tool Kit. These will make nice gifts for any beginner learning to sew, not just kids.

Here are the tools we recommend. In some cases we have identified specific brands but these are only suggestions. You are free to use any brand tools and notions you like and are familiar to you.

A sewing machine in good working order (not a toy) with Schmetz Microtex Sharp Size 80/12 needles. This size needle is fine enough to pierce today’s quality quilting cottons efficiently yet it’s still easy to thread for young fingers–and aging eyes.

Fine sharp pins and a pin cushion. We’ve tested quite a few pin styles for kids and found that Clover’s Silk Glasshead Boxed Pins 1-1/4″ long Size 30 (Art. #2501) with the red and white heads are best. This size is large enough to pick up easily but fine enough to glide through fabric layers and–warning–sew over easily. Yes, I do recommend sewing over pins, even for kids. Tip–take only 20-25 pins out of the box and then put the box away out of reach.

A pin cushion is recommended over a magnetic style dish. The action of putting the pins in a cushion reinforces “pincer grasp” development. This is important for proper pencil grip and handwriting. Shown is an older style “Ewesful” pin cushion made from colorful felted wool.

A good seam ripper. We recommend Clover’s Brown High Quality Seam Ripper (Art. #463). It’s size fits small hands well but it’s fine point and sharp edge fit under stubborn stitches best. Treat yourself to one of these seam rippers. They’re so much better than the one that came with your machine.

7″ Bent Handle scissors for cutting both paper and fabric, especially for cutting out applique shapes that have been fused to fabric. 5″ blunt point scissors for snipping threads after stitching a seam.  Keep these smaller scissors next to your machine. Fiskars makes very good versions of these sizes. Look for beginner scissors that have a circular thumb hole and a larger side finger opening.

A 1″ x 12″ clear ruler for measuring and drawing diagonal lines from corner to corner.

A 9-1/2″ square clear ruler for measuring and squaring up blocks. NOTE–all rotary cutting is done by an adult when using Row by Row Junior patterns. Having this ruler available to the beginner is important for visualization of the finished block and the concept of designing within a space. Creative Grids is an outstanding brand. Buy one for yourself too!

A Purple Thang is used for Rover’s ears and tail. It’s such a fun tool.  Everybody needs to have a Purple Thang of their own. Kids can understand that somebody invented it to solve a problem and make a task easier. It’s never too early to plant the seeds of curiosity, creativity, and invention in a young mind.

Blue painter’s masking tape for securing patterns when tracing, marking quarter inch lines on your sewing, “basting” bulky trims, and many more uses where things need to stick together temporarily and not leave a sticky residue.

Ordinary mechanical pencil for accurate pattern tracing and drawing diagonal lines.

Paper backed fusible web like Heat n Bond Lite and a stabilizer material like Stitch-n-Tear are used many times with Row by Row Junior patterns. Heat n Bond Lite tested best with kids because it reacts fast–only 2 seconds for first fuse and 6 seconds for the next–and was easiest to remove cleanly from cut applique shapes.

An iron and an ironing board. A lightweight travel iron is easier for younger kids to handle. Lowering the ironing board to kid height is a good idea too. Junior patterns have quite a bit of applique fusing. It’s a good idea to use an applique pressing sheet or cover your good ironing board with scrap cloth to protect against fusible “leaks” around the edges.

I hope you enjoyed our Junior Tool Kit review.  Remember you are free to use any brand tools and notions you like and are familiar to you.

Our Row by Row Junior mission:

We want to enhance your Row by Row Experience with “kid friendly” educational materials that foster the love of fabric and machine sewing, strengthen inter-generational family relationships, and support local quilt shops everywhere.”

Kids can!  All they need is opportunity, practice, a few good tools, and a willing adult.  

Learn more about the Row by Row Junior Program here.

Let us know how you like Row by Row Junior.  Share your experiences with us.  Leave a comment below.

Jeannette Kitlan, your Row by Row Junior author and designer.