Sewing isn’t just an old-school, out-of-date, granny pastime. It’s more than just reattaching buttons to shirts (although that is so handy!). Sewing is a skill that benefits all. It can lead to many hobbies and it is therapeutic. You might have a child that will try to repair an old sewing machine. Maybe your child decides that creating designs and patterns is where they find joy. Teaching your child to sew is a lot of fun!
Once you’ve decided to teach your little one to sew I have a few tips that might help:
Start small and simple. If your child doesn’t have any lacing cards, make some using cardboard and a shoestring. Lacing cards are great for early toddlers. They can be used to teach ‘in and out, under and over, front and back’.
Use an embroidery hoop. These come in many sizes. For my kids, we use a 3-inch one. It keeps the fabric sturdy and makes an easily identifiable front and back to a project. They make a great little art piece since the hoop is so easy to hang.
Try different materials. The first material we used in our hoops was burlap. The holes in it made it very easy and a good starting spot. We also use felt. I always have tons of felt on hand but if you don’t then check the local craft store. Thin felt is usually under .50 a sheet. Aida cloth is great too. I recommend starting with 11 count Aida cloth since it’s easy to spot where the needle will come up. If you’re wondering where to find fabric try a thrift store! You’re likely to score funky prints, vintage fabrics, and delicate lace.
Use the right needle. This is where you want to show your child that they can thread a needle even though it seems impossible. At first, I recommend a plastic craft needle just to get familiar. You can move on to a blunt point and then some with smaller eyes as your child progresses. For more information check out Sew4Home’s post on the 5 basic needle types. For thread, we use three strands of embroidery thread in bright colors so the kids can see what they’re doing.
Use the proper scissors. I hear ya, why can’t you just use any old household scissors? Here’s a great write-up on scissors, shears, and why it all matters. I wasn’t aware of any of this when I started sewing and boy did I get sore hands from forcing dull scissors down! While you’ll have to do the cutting, it’s a great time to discuss why we take care of our supplies. Yes, if you only have household ones then they will do BUT sharp scissors will cut through fabric much easier.
Set the mood. A good rule to teaching kids to sew or any other detailed craft is to work in a clean and well-lit surface. A clutter free table with all the supplies laid out creates a stress-free environment.
You’re never too old to learn! You and your child can learn together! There are many local shops that offer classes to children, teens, and adults. Sew Inspired in Encinitas and Little Print Fabrics are just a couple. There’s always YouTube and Pinterest for those that don’t have time to attend a class. Bonus on Pinterest-tons of free, printable patterns.
Did you learn how to sew as a child? Are you teaching your child? What tips do you have for a beginner?