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Creating Native American Cushions with Year 5

08 May 2018

As part of Year 5’s Theme: ‘Land of the Free, Home of the Brave’ the girls created a cushion cover in Design Technology. We started by researching Native Americans and looked at the Haida Tribe, from the South West coast of America. They positioned Totem Poles outside their homes to represent their family and its history. Every animal totem has a specific meaning and so each girl chose the animals for their family Totem Poles carefully, to reflect the members of their own family.

Each girl then chose one animal totem as the design for her cushion. The girls used their animal design to create a stencil, which they cut carefully out of laminate, using a Stanley Knife. This required accurate cutting and resilience, to ensure the stencil followed the original design. Using sponges and fabric paint the girls then used their stencils to create their animal designs on calico (the first step to making their finished cushion cover.) Haida artwork traditionally is just completed in two colours: red and black, occasionally some designs include green. Using a contrasting fabric for the back of their cushion, each girl used a sewing machine to sew their cushion cover, paying close attention to seam allowance and accurate sewing.

The girls chose the closing method for their cushion cover from large poppers, velcro, buttons and loops or ribbons to ties. We were lucky enough to use the brand new sewing machines donated by The Friends. This allowed us to complete a professional looking cushion cover. Each cushion also includes some hand sewing, from buttons and sequins to pom-pom braid. I hope you’ll agree the finished cushions look amazing and reflect the girls' dedicated hard work and resilience.

It is such an amazing resource to have our own set of Junior School sewing machines and we would like to thank the Friends for this wonderful contribution to our school.

Miss Gurney

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