Leggi questo post in: Italiano
During the lockdown in past months, quite a few of my friends have told me that their bored children have expressed an interest in learning to sew and have asked me for suggestions for beginner projects. Everyone knows that kids love drawing and I’ve found that children love seeing their drawings transformed into sewn cloth. So today I’m sharing a kid embroidery project that starts from their own drawn lines: a hand-sewn backpack nametag!
These name tags are part of this month’s Sew a Softie initiative. Sew a Softie was created to help children learn to sew, creating simple but fun stuffed items. This project is particularly exciting because it uses the child’s name, but is also practical!
What better way to go back to school, especially after months of lockdown, than with a totally unique nametag? And how proud will your child be to tell her friends that she sewed it herself?!
Another cool thing about this handmade name tag is that it also works as a stress reliever. School can be stressful, even more so after so many months of absence, but when your child is nervous or not feeling sure of himself, he can squeeze this backpack tag until he starts feeling better.
This kid embroidery project only uses two really simple stitches (which I’ll show in the instructions), making it a perfect first embroidery project!
Watch the video below or continue reading for full instructions for this fun kid embroidery project!
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- 5″ embroidery hoop*
- two 8 x 8″ squares of thin craft felt* (one for the front and one for the back)
- a strip of felt (about 1/2″ x 10″)
- a Pilot Frixion pen* (The ink in these pens disappears with heat, so they’re perfect for embroidery designs.)
- masking tape*
- embroidery needle*
- embroidery thread (I like this DMC size 8 embroidery thread* for beginners because the strands don’t unravel.)
Embroider the name
1. Tape the top piece of felt to the table with masking tape. Mark off a space less than 5″ wide (so as to fit in the embroidery hoop) in the center for the name.
2. Have the child write his name with the Frixion pen*.
3. Unscrew the embroidery hoop and place the inside circle on the table (A). Place the felt (without the masking tape) over the circle (B) and put the outer circle over it, pulling the fabric taut, and tighten the screw (C).
4. Embroider over the name with the backstitch.
If you know how to sew the backstitch, you can skip down to the “Sew the kid embroidery project” section. If you don’t know how to sew the backstitch, watch this video of mine or just continue reading below the video for a step-by-step:
Embroider a name with the backstitch
Thread your needle with no more than an arm’s length of embroidery thread (see my video on how to use a needle threader) and tie a knot at the end. Start with a letter with straight lines, if possible.
1. Stick the needle in the fabric from the back, with the tip coming out near the end of a letter, and pull the needle through. (E)
2. Stick the needle back in at the end of the letter and pull through to the back. (F)
3. Push the needle back out to the front on the other side of where the needle had come out in picture E, the same distance from where you put the needle back in picture F. This will ensure that your stitches are of uniform length. (G)
4. Stick the needle back in exactly the same hole as where the needle came out in picture E. This is the key to ensuring that your stitches will look connected. (H)
This is the backstitch. Let me show you a few extra tricks to make it easier and better looking!
If you’re embroidering a straight line, hold your work so that you work from right to left. Stick the needle in to the right of where the thread comes out of the fabric (H) and then pass the needle under the thread. Push up on the needle with your left finger from under the fabric so as to help the needle come back out to the left of the thread (I). Then push the needle through in one step, rather than in two.
(This is possible on curves, too, though I don’t suggest beginners try it.)
When you get to a corner, pull the needle up directly at the corner. Push the needle through in the hole left at the previous stitch to the right (J), then push it back out on the other side of the corner (K), remembering to keep the same distance to keep the stitch size the same. Then turn your work so that you’re again working right to left and continue embroidering the backstitch (L).
When you finish a letter, just move the needle below the fabric and come out at the next letter, a stitch’s length from the end of the letter (M) and continue sewing (N).
In the pictures below you can see the thread stretching between two letters on the back of the fabric.
When you want to cut your thread, pass the needle under the last stitch on the back of your work (O). Pull it all the way through, then pass it under a second time, but leaving a small loop. Pass the needle through that loop (P) and pull the knot tight, pinching the stitches between finger and thumb to keep them from stretching out of shape. Then cut the thread.
When embroidering curves, the stitches need to be shorter in order to form the shape properly. See the difference in stitch length in the letters above.
Sew the kid embroidery project
1. When you’re done embroidering the name, remove the fabric from the hoop and iron the felt with an ironing cloth to protect the embroidery and fabric. The heat of the iron will make the Frixion ink disappear.
2. Place the top fabric on top of the back fabric (Q) and draw lines to cut on (R). (I used chalk.)
3. Pin the layers together (S) and cut out along the lines (T).
4. Fold the felt strap in half and position it on one short side of the tag (U).
5. Put the ends of the strap between the two layers and pin in place (V).
6. Sew around the edges of the tag with the whipstitch, leaving an opening on the short edge opposite the strap.
If you don’t know how to sew the whipstitch, watch this video of mine or just continue reading below the video for a step-by-step:
1. Start at the short end opposite the strap. Push the needle into the top layer only and pull, leaving the knot hidden between the two layers (W).
2. Squeeze the two layers together and push the needle in from the back a little to the left (in this picture, it looks like it’s above) and pull it out in the front (X).
3. Continue working your way around the edge, making sure the stitches are the same distance from each other and that you always push the needle in the same distance from the fabric edge (Y).
4. Work all the way to where the strap is. (These are my hands, but the work is my daughter’s!)
5. Continue sewing the whipstitch, pushing the needle through the strap right at the edge of the main fabric (A), pulling the needle to the back, inserting it through the back (B), and pulling it back out the front (C).
6. Then continue working until you reach the other short end. Leave most of the short end open for stuffing.
7. Press the stuffing inside the opening, using a pen to help you (D).
8. Pinch the fabric layers closed and continue sewing the whipstitch to close up the tag (E).
Tie a knot in the embroidery thread
9. Pass the needle under another stitch on the back of the project (F). Pull through once completely, then pass it under a second time, this time leaving a small loop. Pass the needle through that loop (G). Pull the knot tight.
10. Push the needle back inside along the edge, near where the thread came out last (H). Push the needle through the center of the stuffed project so that the tip comes out in some other part (I). Pull the needle all the way out and trim the embroidery floss close to the fabric so that it pulls back inside the project.
And you are done! Isn’t that adorable?! I love how the name looks EXACTLY how it did written. It’s definitely my son’s handwriting!
Attach the name tag to a backpack
Put the strap/loop under the part of the backpack you want to attach it to (J). Squish the nametag so that you can squeeze it in the loop (K).
Pull the tag gently, and your child’s handsewn embroidered nametag is now safely attached to his schoolbag!
What a perfect way to go back to school! Your child will be proud to show all his friends what he sewed all by himself!
If you’d like to try another kid sewing project, check out my tutorial for Sew a Softie last summer: a DIY neck pillow template for sewing the most comfy accessory for summer travel!
Or this very sweet hand sewn plush heart pillow with a pocket for leaving notes to the people you love most!
If your child wants to try a slightly more advanced kid embroidery project, make these super fun embroidered portrait bookmarks!
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Click here to save this kid embroidery project on Pinterest!
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3 thoughts on “Kid Embroidery Project: Sew a Backpack Tag”
Stylish and unique sew backpack tag and this is great piece of art, we can make this easily at home with different colors.
Lisa, FYI In the US, names on backpacks have led to strangers approaching children and calling them by name–not realizing they were only reading the name on the backpack. Use a shape or design instead. Your child would recognize the design and know that his/her backpack.
Thank you, Cora. This is definitely a cultural thing, then. Kids where I live (in Italy) aren’t even allowed to leave school unaccompanied (when I would be more than happy to let my child walk unaccompanied the two blocks home. And young children here have to have their name on their bag in an obvious way so that teachers can tell them apart. (On my daughter’s very first day of nursery school, one teacher took her brand new backpack and wrote her name across it in huge pen letters.) But I do understand what you’re saying. Thanks for bringing it up!