Did you know that sewing is coming back in fashion? hahaha, that was definitely pun intended.
But really! Kids are becoming fascinated with sewing and the opportunity to be creative with everything from bags, items for their room, gifts for their friends, and their clothing!
I have 5 children who have shown varied degrees of interest in learning how to sew, and I thought I’d share some tips if you’re thinking about teaching your kids one of your favorite skills!
Know WHEN to start
Fine motor skills are still developing in little ones, but thats no reason to exclude them from the creative fun! Here is my recommendation of ages you might start different sewing projects:
Age 3-4 – Up and down embroidery. Start with no pattern or picture, but help them learn how to go up and down. Use a cross stitch fabric and a plastic needle to make this safe for those who haven’t quite developed their fine motor skills all the way yet. This will build confidence and help inspire their creativity, as well as helping them feel a part of the group. You’ll likely have to undo their stitches when they sew around the hoop (it happens a lot at first, but they’ll get the hang of it) Slowly build up to tracing a shape or path on the fabric and have them follow it with their stitches. My kids love hearts, or sunshine, or even their initial.
Age 5-6 – Basic embroidery. At this point they can learn how to follow the line more closely, so pay around with different shapes and pictures, or letters! Embroidery could be a great way for kids to learn their alphabet, and they can do their names, and move on to their favorite animals. There are great free and easy embroidery patterns online! You could also teach them simple stitches.
Age 7-8 – Embroidery, Cross Stitch, and Mending. Show them the wonders of hand sewing! Have them help embellish knee patches on their pants, fix their favorite stuffed animals who’s seams have popped, and they will thrill at the idea of what thread can do when you do fancy stitches, you could even add beads to their embroidery or other embellishments! Make it fun! They can make gifts for their friends, or even open their own etsy shop! You’re never too young to learn about entrepreneurship!
Age 9-12 – THE MACHINE! This is the perfect age for them to start on simple projects with the sewing machine because they can finally reach the pedal, and they have developed the fine motor skills to maintain control. I have taught my kids on my machine, but some parents like to gift their children a simple beginner sewing machine for them to learn on. THIS is a good option that is relatively inexpensive, but I’ve heard good things about it.
Age 13+ – The Sky is the Limit – They can learn about patterns, have them choose their own projects, pick their own fabric, and as they develop their skills you can teach them about basic pattern adjustments and hacks. At this point they can learn right along side you and the student may even surpass the master!
Make it Accessible
You know how you feel when you want to sew something and you have to haul all your materials, tools, and machine out of the hall closet behind all the winter coats? It’s not very encouraging, is it? This is the same for children. Make sure they have tools and materials that they know are ok for them to use, and make them as accessible as is safe. I have labeled certain things with “KIDS” so they know they can use them, and we have all our sewing supplies low on the shelf, where they can reach them anytime. Even better would be a basket on the side table so they can see them when they pass by and feel inspired.
Be gentle as they learn new skills, help them undo and try again when they make a mistake. teach them how to take out their own stitches, and show them how easy it is to do it over again. And be sure to be honest with your own sewing blunders when they happen, and laugh at them together!
Once they have learned their new skill, then THEM be in charge. Don’t try to take over, choosing their fabric, or correcting them as they go. Let them make a mistake. That is what the sewists friend is for! (A seam-ripper of course) They will take ownership of their work and learn so much more! Of course you can be there for help when they ask for it.
Make it FUN
Provide beautiful materials, threads and fabrics. Choose projects that are useful for them that they will be able to use, and love on a daily basis, and maybe even show off a bit to their friends! Another great way to up the fun factor is have a sewing club! My kids are still young but we love bringing out our embroidery when friends are over and they immediately want to try it too! We have extra hoops and needles and my girls and I show them how! It’s such a great shared experience.
“My First Sewing Kit”
My daughter is 8 and wants to take ownership of her own own sewing. So I put together a simple sewing kit for her very own.
Her kit has the most useful tools, pins, needles, scissors, thread, a retractable measuring tape, and of course, a seam ripper!
Of course it has her embroidery hoop and thread for her current project. Of course I have a whole collection of colors, but this is what she’s using right now.
It also has a variety of fabric that she can use for anything she dreams up. I also keep a scrap box for the kids to use for anything they want. They can cut it up, tie it up, stitch it up, or even use a stapler (just keeping it real here folks)
I hope this was helpful and encourages you to teach your little ones (or not so little ones) to sew! If you do, I’d love to see your efforts and their creations! Just tag me on social media @pleatsandruffles or use the hashtag #PRteachkidstosew