Teaching Kids How to Sew

Sewing is a fun way to express creativity and also has a lot of more practical uses like sewing on buttons that have fallen off or fixing ripped seams on clothes. If your little one has expressed an interest in sewing, it is the perfect time to start teaching him about sewing. Whether or not you know how to sew, we have many fun ways to teach your little one, and you may even learn something yourself.

If you are wondering how old a child should be before learning how to sew, your judgement is best. If your child is too young to use a sewing machine, hand sewing can be the perfect place to start. Kids as young as four can hand sew with little worry about poked fingers.

Starting off

As with any new skill, it is best to start off with a simple task. For this one you will need tapestry needles (the kind with dull points and big eyes for easy threading) and some Styrofoam plates or card paper. If your kids are very young, use the card paper and a paper punch to punch holes in the shape of a heart or car or anything that your child likes. Let your child pick out a color of thread, embroidery thread works well for hand sewing and is thicker so it is less likely to tangle. Tape one end of the thread to the card. Show your child how to push the needle through one hole and pull the thread through, then go to the next one and push the needle through. After she is done, start again or tape the other end to the back of the card.

After some practice, move to Styrofoam plates. For this one ask your child what shape he would like to sew and let him draw it on the plate or you can. Again, tape one end to the back of the plate or tie a knot. Talk about the best starting point and let him work sewing the outline of the shape onto the plate in his favorite color thread. You can even put a button on the plate and show him how to sew on buttons.

First Project

After practicing on plates and card stock, if your child seems ready to move on, a small project is in order. Felt is a great starter fabric for hand sewing and can be bought pretty cheaply, most fabric stores have regular coupons. Depending how ambitious your little one is, a small pillow works really well as a first project. Just like with the plates, choose a shape and draw it out in the felt fabric. A simple shape works best for the first project, like a fish, leaf, heart or butterfly.

You may have to help with guidance at this point, but mainly your child should be able to cut out the shapes, thread the needle, and sew the shapes together. Use batting or fabric scraps to stuff the pillow. Help your child with choosing whether the stitches should be close together or far apart and she may need some help with tying knots. Make sure she leaves a space to stuff the pillow before sewing it all the way around.

As sewing skills improve, make layers of fabric, sewing eyes, noses, whiskers, and more on one side of the fabric before making a stuffed cat, monster, or friend. Make sure to cut out all of the shapes needed before starting sewing.

Sewing Machine

Starting your child off on a sewing machine can be daunting for you and definitely for them. Having fingers close to a moving needle is scary, so it’s best to start slow. Between 8 and 12 most kids have the manual dexterity to use a sewing machine. Parents will know if kids are ready to start earlier or should be delayed. If your child is young, you might start off with letting him press the pedal while you steer the fabric. This is a good way to let kids get a feel for the pedal.

After going over sewing safety, start off by teaching your child how to wind the bobbin and thread the machine. Take a single piece of easy fabric, and start by sewing a straight line, then zig-zag. Try out different stitches and talk about when each would be most useful. Practice back stitching and going around corners. After practicing on old t-shirts and scrap fabrics, try sewing something simple like a blanket or pillowcase.

Teaching Your Kids to Sew

Teaching your kids how to sew is a gift that will last a lifetime. It helps with learning to plan, expressing creativity, hand eye coordination, and all of the practical benefits. Teach your children how to sew this week.


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