Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sewing Projects for Children

I often get asked by friends and sewing students about what they can do to help teach their own  children to sew.  You do not need to be an advanced sewist to teach another person how to sew.  Just start with the basics like someone did with you at the very beginning.  I will be focusing some of my next few blog posts on this topic and helping your child get started in sewing.

"Does my child need a special kid's machine to get started?" - When I taught sewing lessons for kids, I had several parents buy their children the inexpensive, "toy" machines that could be found in the toy dept.  These machines were often difficult to sew with as they lacked speed control and bounced around a lot on the table when being sewn with.  I would encourage you to let your child use your machine.  After all, I recommend the same sewing machines for beginner adults as I do for beginner children.  I would just give them a little talk before hand about how it is not a toy, it is expensive, treat it with care.....etc.  You will need to still help with threading the machine and winding the bobbin but kids can understand though how to lift the presser foot, change the stitch, follow seam allowances, and reverse stitch.  These are the basics that you want to start off with.

When I taught kid's sewing lessons, our first project was a travel tissue holder.  This also gave them practice on how to cut out the fabric and use pins to hold their paper pattern.  There are several great tutorials out there like THIS one and THIS one.  (You don't have to include the ric rac on the first tutorial if you don't want too.)  One tip I will give you is to print out a paper pattern for your child in the size the tut asks for.  You can go into Word or Publisher and make a box the size that you need the fabric to be.  Print it out and cut out the rectagular box and have them use this paper piece as their pattern to practice pinning and cutting their fabric. 

Here is a travel tissue holder that my daughter Emma (age 9) made recently:

And don't just have them make one, ask them who they can make them for as gifts.  Practice is a GREAT thing for them in sewing!  Even if they think it was super easy and they are ready to move on, if they are a beginner, it helps them to be more comfortable with the machine and confident in their pinning, sewing and cutting skills (I have adult students who still need more confidence in those areas).

I will be posting more projects that are geared towards younger sewists and if you have any questions about helping a young person to sew, please feel free to leave it in the comments below!

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