When my two children were little, our family enjoyed playing the Memory Game—which consisted of matching pairs of sturdy cards with images like a goldfish, slice of pizza, bicycle, ice cream cone, teddy bear, etc. To play, when all the cards are placed image side down, players take turns turning over two at a time, trying to remember where all the cards were. If players match a pair, they get to keep the pair and take another turn. The person with the most pairs at the end of the game wins. Once the children learned the game, one of them usually won with their fresh, young minds!
Laraine, one of my co-workers, made a set of fabric “cards” from flannel for her young granddaughter. She learned about the idea from Lindsay Wilkes’ blog, The Cottage Mama, and her tutorial for an “I Spy” Fabric Matching Game. To read Laraine’s blog, please click here.
Since I have a large collection of novelty prints gathered over the years – many from Connecting Threads – I selected lots of prints from which I could fussy cut two matching 4-1/2″ squares (4″ finished size). I cut lots of 4-1/2″ squares from the conversation prints, batting, and one fabric for the backs.
When my grown daughter visited this weekend, she helped me make a set. I asked my daughter, the engineer, how many we should make. Her immediate answer was enough to make a grid such as 5 x 5 or 6 x 6. Needing an even number for pairs, we chose 6 x 6 = 36 = 18 pairs of matching novelty prints. She selected 18 pairs of prints she liked and we set up an assembly line. While I sewed, she did the pinning, clipping, turning, and pressing. What a team!
First, we laid the batting, back fabric RS up, and front fabric (with image) RS down and pinned them together – so I would not need a walking foot. I sewed a 1/4″ seam allowance on all four sides leaving a small opening on one side for turning. Backstitching at the beginning and end of stitching helped to secure the opening when the piece was turned RS out.
Third, I sewed around all four sides – a 1/8″ from the edge and closing the opening. I tried to make sure the green fabric for the back completely covered the front fabric so none of the front would show from the back.
Here are some of the finished game pieces – each part of a matching pair.
The next day, my grown children enjoyed teaching two young cousins how to play the Memory Game— not surprisingly, one of the young ones won!
The fabric game pieces worked well, with one exception. While we were making the game, I told my daughter that if I was playing, I would look at the fabric visible on the sides to give me a clue. She said she hoped that when the children played, there would not be a cheating adult playing as well. As soon as the game started with the children, it was obvious the 8 year old (the eventual winner) was good at remembering the locations of specific pieces. When asked how he could remember so well, he said “Oh, I just look at the color on the sides.”
I have a lot of 4-1/2″ squares of holiday-themed novelty fabrics all ready to sew. I think it would be okay to make the game pieces the same way because being able to see some of the front fabric from the side really did not detract from the fun of the game. Often guesses were wrong despite using this trick – it would be funnier because they were so sure! Sewing a small frame of back fabric around the front fabric image would eliminate this problem. It would add a lot of work to a very simple sewing project, but I may do that on the holiday set
If you are interested in making a Memory Game, be sure to check out the Connecting Threads fabrics for fun novelty prints. A FQ would usually be plenty to get two 4-1/2″ squares with matching images. Some fabrics will provide multiple pairs of images such as the ones below; a 1/2 yard cut or more may be needed. Click on the image for a link to the collections.
This Memory Game is a fun family-friendly, inter-generational activity. Here are some variations for different ages and skill levels:
- Very young children can start by learning the names of the animals and things depicted on the game pieces.
- Place pieces front side up and play “I Spy” (I spy a rabbit skiing, an ant on a red checked cloth, etc.)
- Place all the pieces front side up and let the player find matching pairs.
- Place one of each pair front side up and give the player the others to match with ones on the table.
- Play with seniors to promote memory skills.
Hope your family enjoys this game as much as ours did this weekend!