Sunday, January 3, 2021





ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:

In Stitch and String Lab for Kids, art teacher and winner of the Netflix bake-off show Nailed It! Cassie Stephens presents 40+ inventive projects that explore everything from simple sewing, embroidery, and weaving to string art, needle felting, and yarn crafts.

Stitch and String Lab for Kids leads children, step by step, through a huge range of sewing and fiber art projects. As they go, they will learn a variety of techniques, develop dexterity and coordination, and enjoy making a variety of creative projects. Kids will employ simple embroidery stitches to embellish a sun catcher, wall hangings, and an appliquΓ© animal. Sewing projects include a drawstring bag, a sketchbook jacket, and custom plushies. Children will learn how to make custom looms to weave bookmarks, bracelets, and even a mini rag rug. They will also experiment with string art, needle felting, shibori dyeing, pompom animals, as well as finger knitting, yarn art, and cool wrapping projects.

Each project includes a materials list and illustrated steps, and the book is filled with useful tips, tricks, and shortcuts. Stitch samplers will teach the basics, and templates are included for plushies and stuffies. Kids are encouraged to make variations and personalize the projects to their own style and personality.

These 44 creative projects offer a broad and rich sampling of sewing, fabric, and fiber crafts—Stitch and String Lab for Kids is perfect for keeping kids busy with educational activities at home, learning techniques and experimenting at school, or having a ball at camps and parties. Parents, teachers, homeschoolers, and facilitators will appreciate the easy, illustrated instruction and the curriculum-friendly format, with projects that can be completed in any order.

The popular Lab for Kids series features a growing list of books that share hands-on activities and projects on a wide host of topics, including art, astronomy, clay, geology, math, and even how to create your own circus—all authored by established experts in their fields. Each lab contains a complete materials list, clear step-by-step photographs of the process, as well as finished samples. The labs can be used as singular projects or as part of a yearlong curriculum of experiential learning. The activities are open-ended, designed to be explored over and over, often with different results. Geared toward being taught or guided by adults, they are enriching for a range of ages and skill levels. Gain firsthand knowledge on your favorite topic with Lab for Kids.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from Amazon}: 

Cassie Stephens lives in Nashville and teaches art in the Franklin Special School District. She has taught art to children in kindergarten through fourth grade for the last 20 years. When not coming up with fun projects for her students and sharing them on her blog and YouTube channel,, she's sewing up wild and wacky ensembles to wear and enhance her student's learning experience. Cassie--who was the winner of the Netflix bake-off show Nailed It! in Season 3-- also has a podcast where she shares her experiences in and out of the art room. Her podcast is titled Cassie Stephens. She is also the author of Clay Lab for Kids.


My Thoughts:

This book is filled with clever art projects involving sewing and stitching, but the main reason I enjoyed it so much is because of the multi-cultural projects the author shares with readers.

The book begins with an in-depth introduction of supplies, tools, and materials and moves into the basics of working with fabric and thread. There are lots of colorful photos and the models include girls and boys from diverse cultures, which guarantees this book will appeal to readers from many different groups.

The projects are divided into four units:  Embroidery, Hand Sewing, Fiber Arts, and Weaving & String Craft. The projects are called 'labs'. In total, there are 44 labs. The author has included safety tips and tips on how to use recycled materials learners can find around the house such as toilet paper rolls, paper cups, and plastic bags.

The projects include stuffies, personal accessories, soft toys, home dΓ©cor, and sewing accessories (pincushions). All are colorful, whimsical, and appealing to middle-graders.

As I mentioned earlier, I really appreciated learning about the multi-cultural projects in this book. Lab 25 is a yarn wrapped worry doll based on a small hand-made doll from Guatemala. The author shares with readers the origin of these 'healing' dolls and then provides stepped-out photos and instructions for her adaptation.

Lab 28 is an ojos de dios (God's eye) which originated with the Huicol people from Mexico. These indigenous people created this project to watch over people who prayed. I remember making many of these projects when I was a child, tween, and teen at Girl Scout camp, vacation Bible school, and Young Life camp. It was fun to become reacquainted with the meaning behind these vibrant yarn projects.

Lab 35 is colorful Shibori fabric which is a method of folding, binding, and dying fabric originating in Japan. The author suggests that learners approach this project like origami paper folding which is also from Japan.

Lastly, Lab 44 is a lesson in Kumihimo, a Japanese method of braided cord making. The term kumi-homo means 'gathered threads'. The author mentioned that these braided cords were used to lace the armor worn by the samurai—talk about capturing the attention of middle-graders!

Highly-recommended for teachers, scout/youth camp/club leaders, and for families and adults who enjoy crafting and learning something new.

I borrowed this book from the local public library.



Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog.


  1. Why didn't they have such great books like this when I was a tween/teen. This book would be a great gift book for teens who are artistic and like to create. Great share today!

  2. I know a bunch of kids that would like the activities in this book! :)

  3. What a neat selection of projects! I can imagine many kids would enjoy working on the labs in this book. Thanks for the great review!

  4. I love books like this, and you keep finding such good one. Thanks for telling me about it. My library has it, so I can look at it soon.

  5. It's great that the labs include several multicultural projects. I have a niece who would love this book. Thanks for sharing it on today's MMGM.

  6. Ooh, this book sounds fun. I'll keep it in mind for a gift for any kids I know who like sewing.

  7. I did a mini course at school on sewing, and spent most of the time threading needles for students. They couldn't do it! And tying a knot... I hope more parents teach basic sewing at home, because this book would require skills most of my students don't have!


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