For many families, a classic Fourth of July picnic features a bright stack of paper plates, napkins, and lots of plastic tableware. But in today’s “green” conscious world, more and more folks are turning to washable, reusable alternatives to minimize waste.
Here’s a project for kid who enjoys measuring and sewing. These "green" picnic pouches makes for a great gift that the family can use for years. It’s also a great chance for your child to practice mathematical measurement, a skill that remains important even beyond elementary school!
What You Need:
- 1 20” square of cotton broadcloth in bright, patriotic colors
- Matching thread
- 1 1/3-1/2” snap
- Sewing Machine
What You Do:
- Using your ruler and scissors, cut the edges of your fabric evenly so that you have an even, 21” square.
- Iron it flat. If your fabric has a “back” and “front” side, turn it so that the back side is facing up toward you. Use your iron to press all four sides of your napkin inward, ¼”. Then fold them over one more time (this is called a “rolled” hem), and pin the edges down.
- Sew around all four sides of your napkin to secure the hem.
- Take your napkin back to your ironing board, and turn it again so that the back side is facing up toward you. This time, fold the fabric 7” from the bottom of the napkin, and press the fold down securely. It should like this:
- With your ruler, mark 4 parallel lines, 2” apart, starting from the left-side seam of your napkin. Sew along these lines to make three pouches for silverware (one each for fork, knife, and spoon), like this:
- To use your pouch, you’ll load it up with the silverware, fold the top edge down, and then roll everything into a package, moving from left to right. Once you’ve finished sewing your hems and pouch dividers, load up a sample serving of silverware, and roll up the napkin. Use a pencil to mark where the outer edge falls on the fabric when it is rolled. Once you've marked the location, sew on a snap to use as a fastener, like this:
- When you’re all done, you should have a colorful, practical picnic pouch that you can use for years to come. This activity is not only a great way to to celebrate the Fourth of July, but it's also a great way to keep your child's mind active during those long summer months.
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.