Year four pupils at Billingshurst Primary School have been working with their very own sewing celebrity Lynda Lewis from BBC 2’s The Great British Sewing Bee 2014 to revive the art of quilting.
With a history dating back to the 12th Century when crusaders introduced quilting to Europe, the craft was particularly popular in Victorian England when quilts were frequently given as commemorative gifts to be handed down from generation to generation. Once considered an important and large part of a family’s life due to the time and effort involved in creating a quilt, many consider it a dying art in our modern and hectic times.
As part of the year group’s term project called ‘Under the Sea’, Lynda Lewis came up with the idea of combining painting and sewing to enable each pupil to design and create a unique sample that could be used to embellish the quilt. Each child was given a piece of fabric which they painted, using Brusho fabric paint, before sewing their designs on. Mrs Lewis over-locked the edges of the fabric and the children stitched their designs in place, adding beads, buttons and sequins to finish them off.
The finished quilt contains 90 different pieces of work, of varying sizes, representing over 100 hours of work by staff and pupils making this work of art both unique and treasured by everyone involved. Quilting offered an ideal opportunity to effectively display the new skills the pupils have acquired.
Mrs Lynda Lewis comments: “I’m always looking for an excuse to get children sewing, and everyone seemed so enthusiastic.
“When I was at school, sewing and knitting were part of the curriculum and I feel that children don’t always have enough access to these basic skills within this computer generation. Aside from the obvious benefits of improved fine motor skills, I believe that sewing and knitting are almost meditative and can have a positive impact on children’s emotional wellbeing. The children were delighted with the result. It was lovely to see the look of pride and delight on their faces as they found and pointed out their own contribution.”
Report by Kate Clifford on behalf of the BPSCA . Picture contributed by Billingshurst Primary School.