Introducing Your Child to Sewing

Have you been wanting to encourage your child to start sewing? Here are some tips and advice on introducing your child to sewing!

Have you been wanting to encourage your child to start sewing? Here are some tips and advice on introducing your child to sewing!

Introducing Your Child to Sewing

Guest post written by Holly Jessen.

With so many of us staying at home right now, it’s even more important to find ways to keep your children busy. What if I told you all you needed for a simple and fun sewing project, was scissors, a needle, and some thread?

This is a good activity for anyone, regardless of skill level and even without oodles of supplies on hand. The best part is you don’t even need to leave the house to buy supplies or wait until they arrive in the mail. With a little creativity and recycling what you have on hand, anyone can begin to do sewing projects and learning to sew for little or no money!

Notions

Use What You Have to Sew

For inspiration, I look to pioneer women, who reused everything from flour sacks to make curtains or dresses to worn-out clothing for quilting pieces. These days, I like to sew with fleece recycled from old pajamas, pants, sweatshirts, or blankets because they are soft and easy to work with. Old buttons, ribbon and cotton stuffing are also fun to have on hand. Really anything you have on hand will work.

–Here are some more ideas for Where to Find Cheap Fabric.

Children can start learning to thread a needle, cut out patterns, and make simple stitches at a young age. Not only can it be fun, but it’s a valuable skill that will serve them well later in life. Don’t worry about crooked stitches or lopsided, irregular patterns, those things will improve with practice and experience.

Even if a child is too young to actually cut material or use a needle, they can help with tasks like selecting the fabric, design decisions, and more. They can also learn simply by watching you work.

No-sew activities require only a pair of scissors. A basic braided tug of war rope can be made with not much effort at all. Scraps of fabric can also be cut up to make superhero masks and capes for dolls or teddy bears, as well as diapers, blankets, or other types of accessories. If you have yarn at home it can be used to make many fairly easy items, including braided yarn dolls, pom poms, or yarn wrapped balls.

–Want to make more simple toys at home? Learn How to Make Yarn Dolls

Sewing Notions

One uncomplicated sewing project is a bean bag. The legs of children’s pants are just the right size to cut into rectangles, with the bonus of two seams already completed. Stitch up the two sides, leaving space to fill with dried beans or rice before completing the seam. I chose not to hide the seam, but simply hand-stitched across the top of the material and then cut a fringe along the edge to distract from my imperfect sewing.

When she was about four years old, my daughter started asking to make teddy bears, her favorite toy. I envisioned fully formed bears with arms, legs, and facial features, like you buy in the store, and felt unable to tackle the task. So I suggested we sew a small cloth bag for one of her existing stuffed animals instead.

We cut up one of her old sweatshirts and made a tiny bag, just big enough to hold one of her stuffed animals. She was able, with my help, to make some of the design decisions and even do some of the stitches.

Let Your Child Take the Lead

Sewed Bear

Just this year, when she turned 6 years old, I finally realized she wasn’t asking to make complicated stuffed animals, just simple two-sided shapes. So we tackled our first teddy bear. My daughter drew a paper pattern, which I simplified a bit while still using her basic idea. Then I helped her trace it on fabric and cut two sides.

From things we had on hand, she chose buttons, beads, and a felt sticker to create the face and embellishments. Other things that would work include a permanent marker, googly eyes, or colored thread. A hot glue gun can be helpful, but not required.

While my daughter usually asks for help completing certain tasks, I’m surprised by how much she can actually do on her own. She can now thread a needle by herself and is learning how to knot it. Her stitches are still irregular and she needs help periodically, but she can sew independently for periods of time while I cook or clean.

One day she attempted to sew something out of a green scrap of a fleece blanket all by herself. The end result was a balled-up snarl of fabric. Not discouraged, she added a red scrap for a cape and declared it was a super broccoli!

The more I allow her to work independently, the better the projects seem to work out. If I make too many suggestions sometimes things get too involved and pretty soon I’m doing everything. In the end, those don’t usually get finished. The most successful projects we’ve done have been based on things she has taken the lead on.

Some ideas to get started with include reusable shopping bags, aprons, pillows, or Christmas decorations. Another tip is to utilize existing elements of the recycled material, such as trim, pockets, buttons, or zippers.

My daughter recently made a heart-shaped stuffie with trimmed edges of the sweatshirt as arms and legs. I sewed a Christmas stocking out of a man’s plaid wool shirt, cutting the material so the buttons and pocket adorned the front of the stocking.

Your homemade, recycled material sewing adventures may not win any awards but they will provide hours of entertainment and learning.

 

What are some of your tips for simple sewing projects? How are you trying to start introducing your child to sewing? Pass on your ideas in the comments.

Holly and her nurse husband have one child. She is a journalist who quit her job three and a half years ago when her husband became a travel nurse, making her a stay-at-home traveling mom. In that time they have lived in five cities in four states.

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4 Comments

  1. Oh! I love this! My girls can definitely do this. My oldest has been interested in sewing but I’ve been afraid to let her with actual needle and thread. I can start her off with making a tie dolly. We’ll do this tonight! She’ll love it.

  2. Love receiving your emails and reading and trying your ideas…thank you so much for taking the time to share your frugal living…Cathy

  3. I am so glad I learned sewing as a child. I was self taught, making things for my dolls. Encouraging my sister to sew, too. Then, we moved to an old sewing machine, bought from a neighbor. We made some of our own clothing.

  4. I love this! My granddaughter has a great interest in sewing! I, myself am a new to seeing. I have only done functional hand sewing. I think this will be great! Thank you!