Two days before Allie's birthday, Emma and Noah cooked up a plan to make her some type of present. They came to me to tell me about it, and started with, "Well, first we need you to sew her a dress...". I had to inform them that, while it was certainly a lovely idea, I was probably not going to sew her a dress in the next day, and that their plan should maybe involve more effort on their part, instead of all the effort on my part. Emma asked if they could give Allie a shirt instead, and if she could sew it herself.
My initial feeling was that I didn't trust Emma to use my sewing machine and that it would probably be better if they designed the shirt and I just sewed it myself. I then started to remember when I was a kid, probably just slightly older than Emma, and my grandma let me use her sewing machine all on my own to make whatever I wanted. For a long time, my little brother proudly wore a satin-y, red, sleeveless shirt with no hems that I had sewed for him, and I'm pretty sure the handle of my grandma's garage broom is still sporting a couple "broom covers" that I sewed. One time, my friend Nicki and I spent the night at my grandma's house and stayed up most of the night, sewing "pajamas" for ourselves. I use the term pajamas very loosely, considering that our "patterns" were made by laying on the fabric and tracing around our bodies with a marker. Still, I remember having a lot of fun sewing at my grandma's house, and I think it was awesome that she let me use her sewing machine when no one else trusted me enough to use theirs.Keeping all that in mind, I decided to let Emma sew the shirt herself (albeit with plenty of supervision). I helped her trace one of Allie's other shirts to make a pattern, and then once she had cut out all the pieces, I showed her how to use the sewing machine. With the exception of a small amount of sewing around the arm holes and ironing on the applique, she made the entire shirt by herself.
Allie was so excited when she opened it, and has worn it several times already. One time in particular, she wore it three days in a row, only finally taking it off when she managed to somehow drop a huge glob of guacamole down the inside of it. In the end, I'm glad that I let Emma sew the shirt because it's a cute present regardless, but definitely much more meaningful because she made it herself.