Sewing with kids…..and a sewing machine
“I’m a little worried!”
“A little worried about what petal?” you ask.
“I’m a little worried that we’re embarking on creating a generation who don’t know how to make clothes, house accessories and….erm….fabric doorstops!”
Ok as world problems go it’s not right up there in say the top 5, but even still it’s a very real possibility. In the days of our parents and our grandparents there was the need to be a little more self-sufficient, and again we find ourselves in times where cuts have to be made and perhaps a new dress or jacket isn’t first on the list for this month pay packet.
It’s more than that though, it’s about being a bit more individual too, wouldn’t you love to give your kids the ability to choose how they look, to let their imagination be creative and run free, I’m not saying let them wear only hemp clothing, but you get my gist.
So what better way than helping them out by teaching them to sew. As Evie is now 6 years old, that’s the junction we find our lives at. Encourage or dissuade, it’s an easy choice really.
I’ve written up some of the tips to help teach children to sew…So here goes nothing:
Tip 1: Pick the project carefully
– Start with something simple and something that they will be interested in, you could make a personalised pillow case or make a simple blanket
– Squares or rectangles are easier to sew than curves
– Draw a picture of what you plan to make, so you are both clear on what you are doing
– Safety first!! But don’t bore them, I know Evie ignores me after the 3rd time of saying. Oh and there’s no need for high-vis jackets and pointing out fire exits!
– Make the important rules clear and easy to understand (e.g. only sew with an adult, ask for sharp things as they need them)
– Keeping hands and fingers clear of the needle
– If your machine has a variable speed set it low to begin with
– Ensure feet are clear from the pedal when handling the fabric or presser foot levers
– Scissors only not rotary cutters (they’re super sharp)
– Bright pins so they can easily be spotted and consider a magnetic pin holder to prevent missing pins
– Cutting mats to protect surfaces (so you can focus on them and not the table)
– Sit them comfortably on your lap if they’re tidgy or at a table & chair that’s height appropriate.
– Be strong and let them take some control, mistakes will happen but that is how everyone learns. You can always step in to help your little stitcher get back on track and then let them continue stitching.
– Try driving the pedal yourself to begin with and getting them to give you voice commands, slow, fast, forward, back, stop.
– Hand stitching is great too, plus it helps concentration and fine motor skills.