Teachingartonthecheap's Blog

4/5: Potpourri Sachets

Posted on: March 9, 2010

Creative Reuse Lesson Plan               Fourth/Fifth grade: Colonial America

Written by Keri Piehl for SCRAP /Whitman ES 2009-10

Potpourri Sachets

Cost per student: $.15 (this includes the sewing needles and other non-consumables)

Materials: Lacing cards and lacing, fabric (I cut up a silk upholstery sample book), potpourri, embroidery thread, tiny beads (optional), yarn darners (large pointy sewing needles), stuffing (I used fleece scraps), a few pairs of scissors, all the patience you can muster

Students will use sewing techniques to create a 3-D fabric form

Elements of art: form

Vocabulary: sachet, potpourri, whipstitch, eye of the needle, thread

Unless your students are experienced with sewing, pre-thread the needles and tie a small bead (or knot) on the end of the thread for them.

1. I began the lesson by discussing the hygiene of people in the mid 18th century – not up to our current standards! We talked about how and when the colonists might have bathed. Some colonists boiled flowers and herbs to scent their houses, and some collected dried herbs and flowers and sewed them into pouches to scent drawers, clothes etc. much as we do now.

2. Show the kids how to use the lacing cards to stitch with an overhand whipstitch. This will hold the sachet together much better than a running stitch. As they passed around the cards and practiced I roamed around to make sure everyone was getting the hang of it. As kids practiced, I also passed around boxes of the fabric so they could choose a piece while they waited for their turn to sew.

3. I showed the kids how to fold their fabric in half, RIGHT SIDES OUT, and begin in a corner by the fold – pull the needle all the way through, stop, pinch the thread over the eye of the needle, then pull the thread all the way taut. This way the thread doesn’t slip out of the needle. I chose needles with large eyes and showed them how to lick the end of the thread and rethread the needle if theirs came out.

4. Sew with an overhand whipstitch around 2 sides, then stop to fill the pocket with potpourri and a few fleece scraps if they want it to look plump. I had little bowls for them to fill with potpourri to take back to their seats and fill their little bags. Have them resume sewing until it’s closed.

5. I asked kids to raise their hands when they needed assistance at any time, to avoid a traffic jam of kids wanting help. If you have more than 10 kids in your group doing this, get a second adult to help. When kids were done, I had them raise their hands and I would tie the knot and return the needle to a specific place to rethread for the next class.

Reflections: pretty much every kid loved this; I was surprised the boys were just as enthusiastic as the girls. It took most kids 2 lessons to finish it, so I stored their half sewn projects in envelopes from SCRAP for the next week, labeled with their names. Thread/preknot twice as many needles as you think you’ll need, so when someone gets a horrible tangle you can knot it off and send them off to just get a new needle and thread with no downtime.

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