Hi, I’m Trixi Symonds.
I’ve been teaching sewing to children for close on thirty years. I’m a softie designer and I’m the author of The Zenki Way: A Guide to Designing & Enjoying Your Own Creative Softies, Sew Together Grow Together, and I co-authored Sewing Simple Softies with Deborah Fisher.
The Zenki Way: A Guide to Designing and Enjoying your own Creative Softies is a step-by-step guide that shows you how to make a whole new kind of softie, which I call a zenki. You are carefully guided from the very simplest zenkis to more evolved ones and given all you need to know to bring your own zenki-style softies to life. Sewing zenki-style softies is simplicity itself. They are ideal for teachers, librarians, people running workshops and parents to make with their kids and of course, for young kids themselves.
Sew Together Grow Together offers 20 hand-sewing projects that bring parents and children together through sewing.
I’m also the founder of the worldwide sew-together phenomenon Sew a Softie. My projects have been featured in Simply Sewing Magazine, Country Living, Homespun, Handmade, Casa Creativa, Patchwork and Quilting, Love Sewing, Embellish, Little U from Uppercase, and Australian newspapers including The Herald Sun and the Daily Telegraph. Sew a Softie has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Parade and Uppercase magazine.
I’ve held workshops in Kyoto, Amsterdam, and Melbourne, and in venues all over my home city of Sydney, including the Art Gallery of NSW, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australian Design Centre and the Australia Museum. I was asked to design a simple-to-sew Ugly Doll by the promoters of the UK release of the Ugly Dolls movie and I designed a piranha softie for Aaron Blabey’s book Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas.
Back in 2015 I had this idea: I wanted to spread a love of sewing and to teach children all around the world how to sew. The first step I took, towards what seemed an impossible goal, was to create Sew a Softie.
Sew a Softie began life as a single day in July on which people from all over the world could post a softie tutorial and share their sewing skills with others. The initial response was overwhelming. My one-day event quickly filled up the whole month…and a bit more. I soon changed the name to Sew a Softie in July. And it wasn’t long before Kid Ambassadors were getting in on the act and posting the softies they had made with their friends, often in Sew a Softie parties that they organised.
The next step came in 2019. The Children’s Museum of the Arts, New York City was running a civic values programme. I proposed partnering with them and created the Global Kids’ Sewing Party to raise children’s awareness of community by getting them to sew a softie and gift it to someone or some group in their community. The museum loved the idea and once again the response was overwhelming. Over 140 groups, including schools, scout groups, museums, libraries and sewing groups took part in over 25 countries. And I was constantly being asked by groups who had been unable to participate if they could join in for the following year.
And that’s how the Global Kids’ Sewing Party, which now takes place every March, became an annual event. Sew a Softie events seem to have a life of their own. They never cease to surprise me.
Looking back, I really do think that Sew a Softie is a case of dreaming the impossible dream. I am very humbled by the enthusiasm and creativity that all these people and children show. And I know that I have received as much from Sew a Softie as anyone else.
How to join Sew a Softie in July
Sew your softie and tag me on instagram and hashtag #sewasoftie. You can follow the daily softie tutorials on instagram or in the Sew a Softie facebook group. And if your kids would like to be a Sew a Softie kid ambassador register here.
Important note: it’s not a problem if you can’t sew
The Sew a Softie in July tutorials are made for newbies. Really simple, with step by step photos and/or a video to show you what to do. Also, you can have a look at my videos on how to sew basic stitches.
How to join the Global Kids Sewing Party
Registration for the GKSP 2021 will open in January 2021.
The Sew a Softie facebook group
The Sew a Softie facebook group is a flourishing supportive community where you can ask questions, help others and share experiences.