The best way to get them interested and engaged while teaching your kids to sew is to plan some great easy, beginner kids’ sewing projects. You don’t need a special sewing room or a kids’ sewing machine when teaching kids to sew. Whether it is a kids’ bucket hat, or a kids’ fanny pack or learning to sew clothes, you just need to do some planning.
Teaching Sewing Skills to Kids
Our parents and teachers used to think that we had to follow some prescribed list of skills and procedures before we could do anything fun. The truth is, you can incorporate fun into the beginning sewing lessons with kids.
Safety? “Don’t cut yourself with the scissors. Don’t burn yourself with the iron. Keep your feet off of the foot pedal when your fingers are near the needle.” That’s it. Don’t over-complicate it.
Back to the fun part. You should teach the basics of the machine while starting a project. You can teach your kid some basic sewing skills while making a Scrunchie, for instance. Made for Mermaids has a great free scrunchie pattern and tutorial on their website. Yes, within an hour, you can do the safety, an intro to the machine, some basic skills AND you can finish a project.
Photo credit: We All Sew
Kids Sewing Machines?
You need to teach them how to use the sewing machine without wrecking it. If you have a high-dollar machine and you don’t want your kid to ruin it, then don’t let your kid use it!!!
If you feel that you need to, you can buy an entry-level machine at a box store. Or, better yet, go to your local dealer and buy something that they’ve taken in on trade. You can get a better machine for the same lower price. You don’t need all of the fancy bells and whistles. What you want is a reliable machine. A machine that your kid can understand and that doesn’t need constant repairs. You definitely don’t want to spend all of your time fighting with your child about your machine.
Beginner Kid's Sewing Projects
Don’t stress about what to teach. Let your child be the guide. The truth is, there is no standard set of skills or techniques. Sewing skills have been handed down from Grandmothers and favorite Aunts. Even the Home Economics teachers of the past mostly learned at home or at 4-H. And where did the 4-H leaders learn? You guessed it.
Since sewing has basically been a hobby handed down from generation to generation, your child doesn’t have to follow some prescribed set of skills. So, just chill out and enjoy it.
Kids’ Bucket Hats? Kids’ Fanny Packs?
Bucket hats are really popular now. So are fanny packs. Maybe your child wants to make a quilt. They are all good projects for you to do with your kids. But you need to think through the process before you choose a pattern.
For instance, a bucket hat with lining is easier to make than one without. If you don’t have lining, then you have to figure out how to deal with the exposed seams. Plus, unlined garments tend to be more floppy and don’t look as professional as one with a fun lining.
A beginning sewer can absolutely install a zipper. Installing a zipper in flat, straight pieces of fabric is a breeze. But when you add curved edges, it gets harder. Or if the instructions tell you to construct the zipper pouch first and then put the zipper in last, they have seriously complicated the process.
Quilting is a wide world of possibilities. and you don’t have to be a big quilter to help your child make a quilt. It is certain, however, that using 12” squares is much easier than quilting with circles.
Sewing with Kids
Remember that you want the project to be a SUCCESS. You want your child to feel a sense of accomplishment. You want the project to go together fairly easily. And you want it to look ok or to work as designed. Don’t go for perfection.
The quickest way to turn your child off of a hobby is to demand that their work be better than they are capable of doing. So, choose a project with a high probability of success. A cute scrunchie that they wear every day is better than a complicated, terrible looking, anything.
You get the point. Start with actual projects. But not with complicated projects. Every success your child has will enrich the experience for both of you and will increase the chances that they’ll come back to do more.
You should also let your child participate in the selection of fabrics. You should steer them to the appropriate kind of fabric to increase a successful outcome; but let them choose the colors.
Photo credit: Earth and Sky Play
A word about indie patterns…
I definitely use some independent patterns. But you’ve got to be careful. There are many, many people who know how to use computer software, and how to market their items. Neither guarantees that the seller knows how to sew or how to actually draft patterns.
If they don’t provide photographs of completed items, you have no way of knowing that the pieces will go together well. And be wary of reviews. If you don’t know the skill level of the person reviewing the pattern, then you don’t know how seriously to take their review.