My little boy loves forts. Throw a blanket over some chairs, and call it a fort. Done. He’s getting close to 11 and still loves the coziness of fort play. But, we live in a little house, and constantly having chairs in the middle of the floor (and not having any to sit at the table with) is driving me a little coo-coo.
A few years ago I built him a loft bed with a fort under it. It’s half of Ana White’s loft bed plan. She’s the bomb diggity. I’ve been reading her blog since it was itty-bitty and she’s built it into a giant resource and source of inspiration and encouragement for women to build ANYTHING!
I say half of her loft bed plan, because it’s not free-standing, it only has one end and the side you see below (like an L shape) and it’s attached to the wall to save space (and money! 😉 ).
Well, I was informed by DS recently that it wasn’t quite a fort because he couldn’t make it completely dark.
How about we sew some curtains? “Yeah! That way they won’t fall!” The blankets he was hanging strategically would always fall down when he was going in and out of his fort, or once the dogs started to pounce around it.
I love sewing, and if any opportunity to share that with my kids pops up, I jump on it.
So, recently we got the chance to make his curtains. He did much of the sewing. I didn’t point out that I’m counting this as school until we were done, and he was impressed by all the stuff we incorporated into this project.
Shop/math/measurements/home ec, etc.
Previously, DS has only sewn basic stitches, joining fabrics together not worrying about hems or really making anything with a “finished” look. Here are some blankets he has sewn for his bears a few years ago:
So this was new to him, sewing hems and a large hem for the curtain rod. There were also tools involved, not just the sewing machine. 🙂
First, we hung the curtain rods on the inside of the bed wall. He used a level to mark a pencil line a little above the window and door opening.
It didn’t matter how far above, just that it was level. Then he hammered the nails into the wall to secure the hangers.
Then, he could measure the distance from the curtain rods to the bottom of the window and the door. With these measurements he then added a few inches for the hems and curtain rod sleeves. He transferred these measurements to the fabric he chose, and cut on the line measured.
We didn’t bother hemming the selvage, there was going to be enough sewing without doing that. I knew he would probably lose interest at some point before we were done. They also wouldn’t show, so it didn’t matter.
Yup, he abandoned the project to make some pudding for dessert for after dinner…
LOL, then he got back to it. We worked through some difficulties with the machine (tension not set right), and sewing some fabric onto the hem (essentially bunching it up and sewing it onto itself) that we had to un-do and re-do correctly. All normal occurrences when you do any project, right?
Was everything completely straight and perfect? No, but he persevered through your normal project road bumps and got the project done, and it’s good enough. And we’re both happy with them. So, we got some good life lessons in along with all our other school lessons.
Hey, can I come in?
Curtains are an easy project for anyone to do. If you don’t have a fort – here are some other ideas to sew with your boys:
- Blanket or sleeping bag for bear
- Wall hanging
- Curtain for actual real window!
- Curtain for replacement of closet door (ehem, to the left above)
- Dog jacket for un-furry dog (not the one above!)