Project 2 Humbugs- Sewing Corners

This is the 2nd project in our Teaching Tweens to Sew Series by Elizabeth Hill

Bucket of Humbugs
          Young people love to work with scraps once they learn the basics of sewing. This fun and easy project allows them to have fun and master a basic skill in the process.  While making the humbugs students will be making corners. It takes practice to get the rhythm of “slowly approach the corner – stop – needle down – raise the presser foot – turn fabric- lower presser foot – resume sewing.”  Making a bucket of Humbugs will give young students plenty of practice and a fun game as well. This is a great project to make and take on a baby sitting job. Toddlers love to throw humbugs.
Skills: Pinning paper patterns, Proper use of scissors, Straight lines, Corners, Clipping corners, Hand sewing.

Material needed

          Scraps of fabric at least 5 inches square

          Dual Duty XP™ Thread to match fabric


          Polyester Fiber Fill 




          For each humbug:

1.      Pin paper pattern to two layers of fabric scraps right sides touching. Cut 2 squares of fabric (5, 6, 7, or 8 inches) Graph paper is an easy way to make paper patterns for different sized Humbugs. For young sewers use a paper pattern instead ofrotary cutting squares.

TIP: Students need the practice of pinning and cutting fabric. Thetemptation will be to pick up pinned fabric with their hands to cut. Stop bad habits before they start.  Fabric will naturally pull from the paper pattern with uneven cutting as a result. Demonstrate how to hold scissors and cut fabric with one hand resting on the fabric while you navigate around the fabric.  Students need to stand while cutting.  Fabric is not glued to the  table so it can be moved by gently sliding it along the cuttingsurface. Avoid picking it up off the table. Picking up fabric andpatterns isn’t a major issue with small projects but it can really make a difference on larger pieces.


TIP for LEFTIES:    Can you tell from this picture that I am left handed?  What’s the give away? The direction of my pins. Most right handed peoplepin from the outside in while it is more comfortable for a lefty to pin inside out.  A note to teachers: if you have left handedstudents practice pinning and cutting with your left hand. It’s achallenge. As a left handed teacher I have had to learn how to cut, etc with my right!
2.       With right sides together sew three sides of the squares using a ¼ – inch seam allowance.

Slowly approach the corner – stop – needle down

Stop with needle down

 Raise the presser foot- turn the fabric-

Raise the presser foot, leaving the needle down.
Turn Fabric.

Lower presser foot – resume sewing

Lower presser foot.

TIP Have students repeat with youseveral times the steps needed to navigate a corner. It may sound silly but it will help them remember this important step.

3.      Match side seams from opposite sides of squares. Pin in place. Start sewing from the left side. Backstitch and stitch ¼ of theway across the Humbug.
4.      Start sewing from the right side again ¼ of the way across.  Backstitch at the beginning and end. This will leave an opening in the middle of the seam for turning the Humbug right sidesout.

Stitch 1/4 of the way across.

 Before turning clip the bottom corners outside the stitching.

TIP  Explain the reason for clipping is to reduce bulk inside the  corner. Demonstrate how the clip is made outside the stitching.

5.      Turn right sides out and stuff Humbugs with polyester fiber fill just like making a pillow.  For a heavier Humbug for outdoor play use dried beans instead of the polyester fiber fill.


6.      Whipstitch the opening closed. Now you have a pyramid shaped Humbug.

7.      Purchase a bucket or basket from the dollar store to go withyour Humbugs. Make up your own rules for a tossing game. Different colors could be worth different points. Have fun.  
Next week:  Learning to sew curves. The project will be this colorful sun visor.


3 thoughts on “Project 2 Humbugs- Sewing Corners

  1. Cindi Reply

    I absolutely love this series. I’m teaching 8-10 year olds. The projects need to start off with something they can finish quickly so they can feel like they accomplished something. And the pride they have in showing it off…The “look what I did” grin, is so special. We did simple tote bags, headbands, etc. These suggestions & patterns fit right in! Thanks

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