A local school district recently had a teacher in-service day focused not only on mandated training but also on wellness for staff. The concept was that staff could explore interests and hobbies during pockets of the day when not in their training sessions. Offerings included archery, walking, essential oils or succulent workshop, and reiki session. I originally attended this “wellness day” back in February of 2020 and it was one of my first teaching gigs. Now that the bulk of Covid is over, I am largely back to work hosting these types of small event workshops, as well as residencies and other longer-term teaching engagements. I was so pleased to be welcomed back again this year.
I was scheduled to offer two workshops during the day, each totaling just one hour. When you teach, you know the total teaching time is actually 10 or so minutes less than the scheduled class time. Those five minutes in and out are eaten up waiting on arrivals and having everyone settle in, then the time to clean up at the end. 50 minutes is not very long to demonstrate a craft and then allow time for people to execute, especially when it is hand sewing. However, I think I came up with an interesting project that fit the time allotment well. The project used a heavyweight bright white canvas as the foundation fabric for a handsewn pouch. Admittedly, the canvas was difficult to hand sew through, but participants only needed to complete a small amount of sewing to close the pouch. Since the edges of the canvas did not fray, it was a good choice of material otherwise to make a sturdy little pouch intended for earbuds or small items that might otherwise get lost in a larger bag or purse. I thought this would be a useful and appealing item for the teachers to make, as well as small enough to work on in the time allotted.
First, I demonstrated how to fold the square into an envelope style with the bottom three corners coming together in the middle of the pouch. The folds created two angled sides they needed to sew closed. To complete the sewing, I had pins to hold the fabric in place as well as an assortment of embroidery floss and sharp embroidery-sized needles. I demonstrated a running stitch for the group but encouraged them to sew the pouch closed in whatever stitch they wanted.
Second, the participants were encouraged to decorate the canvas with ink to create a unique project. I had brought along an assortment of polymer and block stamps for the participants to decorate the otherwise blank canvas of their pouch. The canvas was very tightly woven, making it hard to sew, but excellent at accepting the ink for printing. I was extremely pleased with the legibility of even some of the fine text stamps on the canvas. The quality of the inks no doubt definitely played a big role in the success of the stamping. I would highly recommend the Paper Person inks which come either individually or as a package. They are excellent value inks for the money, especially when they work on sewing projects as well as paper ones.
The final step of the project was to add a snap closure to the top and centerfolds of the pouch. I tried a snap setter tool but found it didn’t work well for me at home, so I didn’t pack it for use in class. I always try to troubleshoot projects before I present them which increases the participants’ ability to complete the project successfully. That strategy also lets me know what issues may arise before I am up in front of a group. Preparation is the key to success for all of us!
I, therefore, brought the traditional snap setter metal tool, a hammer, and an old cutting board to bang those snaps into the pouches. Most participants were happy to let me set their snaps, not feeling confident enough to do it themselves. That’s totally fine, and the reason I am there, happily setting snaps for the masses.
Overall, both classes went well and participants were able to finish their pouches in the small amount of time allotted. Overall, everyone seemed to enjoy the opportunity to use the stamps and inks to create their own fabric designs on the pouch. Some were very personalized or had a central theme, but some were more simplistic using a few stamps here and there.
The class was split between some people who sew and craft regularly, and others who scarcely used a needle. It was fun for me to be able to support and encourage the newbies. Perhaps they have even been spurred to start a new sewing hobby!
I hope everyone enjoyed their relaxing “wellness day” and I hope to be invited to return next year and continue the opportunity to spread the joy of creativity, sewing and fun!
Thank you for reading about the DIY Stamped Envelope Pouch and Wellness Day event! Happy stitching and stamping, friends! Janice
If you create a stamped canvas pouch, please leave a comment below or share a by tagging me on social media @laruedefleurs. I would love to see your project! All written work and photographs are original content and are copyright protected; kindly give due credit by linking back to my website if you use or share.
(©2022, Janice Bailor // laruedefleurs.com)