daughter Yiscah first started sewing when she was three. I
vividly remember how she used to peek into the room whenever I was teaching a
class so she could watch the older girls sew. After every class she’d ask me
why she couldn’t join in. Being the wise parent, I told her that she was too
little just yet but she always insisted she wasn’t. One day I decided to let
her sew something simple and to my surprise, she did a pretty good job… and she
altered forever my ideas about when a child can begin to start sewing.
still find people who believe, as I once did, that children have to be a bit
older before they start sewing. Not true. So here are some tips to help you
maximize enjoyment and minimize problems when your child begins sewing at a
are lots of ways to get your child excited about sewing. Showing them a book of
projects and letting them choose what they wish to make is always a good idea …
as is letting them choose their fabrics and the colors of their embroidery
floss. The basic rule here is simple: the more they do by themselves, the more
they’ll enjoy it.
if they can’t manage the sewing on a project they’ve chosen, just watching Mum involves
them more deeply than we might suspect and is a sure way to ignite their desire
to sew something all by themselves.
2. Using good quality materials
materials are essential for a good experience. Sewing supplies are not
expensive, so make sure you choose good quality felts, fabrics and embroidery
felts are the least expensive but they can feel a bit hard and scratchy to sew
with. I personally love using wool blend felts as they’re soft, easy to sew
with and reasonably priced.
instead of using regular sewing cotton, I prefer to use embroidery floss, and I
recommend using a brand like DMC as cheaper products tend to break. Recently I've started using Aurifil cotton mako thread and love it.
embroidery needle with a large eye that makes it easy to thread. Make sure your
needle isn’t blunt. Sewing with a blunt needle can be difficult and
frustrating. And it’s a good idea
to first sew a few stitches yourself in order to check that everything works as
3. Stressing safety
to your child that scissors and needles are sharp and can be dangerous if not
used sensibly. In classes I stress that needles have to be put back in
containers and we always do a floor search to check for needles that may have
dropped. Scissors are always closed and put point down in a jar after sewing.
doesn’t really matter what safety behaviors you decide on, what matters is that
your child sees that you treat these
things with caution and knows that this is what you must do when you sew. I’ve found that when children really want to
do something that requires responsibility, they have no difficulty behaving as
4. Accepting that wonky is ok
Young children begin
to sew with large, wonky stitches and their sewing lines are often crooked. With
a little practice, however, their stitches rapidly improve. Don’t do the work
for them. Let them sew their own stitches and they will be proud of what they
children’s work becomes messy simply because they forget to look at what they
are doing. A gentle reminder to look at their work while sewing can bring about
a miraculous improvement. Hand sewing doesn’t require excessive concentration
and the modest demands it does make will actually help to improve your child’s ability
5. Making the projects your own
There’s nothing wrong
with copying a project exactly as it’s given but this never really compares
with the feeling you get when you make a project your own. So don’t be afraid
to adapt things, to change them, and to make them to suit your own and your
child’s interests and wishes.
You can also drop in
to Mollymoo Crafts where Michelle has adapted Baby in a Pouch. The original project
is small enough to fit into the palm of a child’s hand but Michelle and her
daughter wanted something that could be hugged, so they made the baby and her
pouch much larger giving the project a very different feel.
This post is part of a series done in conjunction with Lisa Press who blogs at PhoebeandEgg.com.
Part 2 of the series will be simple projects to start your child hand sewing or machine sewing.
Have fun sewing, Trix
P.S If you'd like to sew some projects with your kids have a look at my book Sew Together Grow Together