The week before the party, all the little machines arrived and we all began unpacking them. I personally set each machine up and loaded the bobbins and threads. Luckily, they all received a mini sewing kit with each machine so nothing had to be purchased. I was relieved to discover all machines working.
The mom, Angela, purchased cute printed fabrics for the kits and we decided it would be age-appropriate for them to make a small square purse. I requested that each girl have at least one adult assistant attend the party. Angela decided she would serve pizza and box juice in addition to the cake. The cake she supplied was adorable and in keeping with the purse theme. Purple and pink were the desired colors of the day.
The day before the party, I set up the tables, plugged in the machines and cut all the fabric squares for the girls. I also gave them a small scrap of fabric to practice with. I arrived a few hours early the day of the event in order to set up my video equipment and lay out all the little goodies they would receive. When 1 o'clock arrived, the moms and attendees began to arrive. Even though 12 girls rsvp-ed, only 10 arrived and after waiting about 45 minutes, I decided to begin the lesson.
I explained via Powerpoint, how the purse would go together, demonstrating mostly to the moms what was to be expected. I laid out the ground rules such as only adults could use the irons and no food or drink around electrical equipment. I had the girls repeat what I was saying in unison for assurance they had been listening, and I instructed them of the operational basics of the machines. Working on practice pieces, we began sewing. Ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk, to the 10th power. Picture ten assistants giving direction at the same time while girls happily pushed the tiny food pedals to make the machines work. I said a quick prayer that none of the machines would break and practiced breathing techniques to keep myself calm. Then I signalled them to stop.
Next, a lesson in how to pin the fabric together. I announced the most important thing to remember is, YOU NEVER SEW OVER A PIN, and had them repeat it out load. Okay, so that wasn't very difficult. Again, they began to sew. Ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk they went, diligently stopping just before each pin to remove it, and then stitching resumed. They made it through both edges of their purse outers. Sweew! No blood, no tears...a very good sign. Then, I had them repeat the procedure on the lining fabric. I demonstrated how to turn the upper edges under and the assistants pressed them in place. I explained how to position the lining inside the purse outer and they pinned the layers in place. Straps were inserted between the two layers and pinned in place. I decided that the little machines wouldn't be strong enough to sew through 4 layers of fabric and the straps, so I asked the assistants to sew them together using my machines while the girls had refreshments.
The girls hungrily devoured their pizza and then they sang Happy Birthday to the birthday girl both in English and French, since the girls all attend The French School at Audubon Elementary. Each girl left with their little machines, which were quite a surprise to them, their little purses, a goodie bag, and a well-deserved dose of self accomplishment for having participated in such a wonderful day.