image credit, Amy Hackworth
I think sewing is another great method for kids to express themselves creatively. I love this thought of teaching our children to sew as a means of being a “stabilizer” in their lives expressed beautifully by former first lady, Grace Coolidge:
“Every girl should be taught to sew, not merely for the sake of making something, but as an accomplishment which may prove a stabilizer in time of perplexity or distress. Many a time when I needed to hold myself firmly I have taken up a needle (a sewing needle, some knitting needles, or a crochet hook.) Whatever its form or purpose, it often proved to be as the needle of the compass, keeping me to the course.”
So here are some ways to get them (or you!) started:
One fun way, especially with really young kids, is beginning-level lacing cards. The ever-popular eeBoo has some adorable choices.
If your kids are a little older and you want to make your own sewing cards, check out Marie’s patterns at Make and Takes.
In The Creative Family, Amanda Soule suggests simply giving your children some fabric in a sewing hoop, a needle and thread, and letting them go.
We’ve also had success with my daughter drawing a picture and taping it to the window. Then she lightly traces it onto plain fabric, and stitches over the traced lines. A very simple way to let them capture their art in another form.
For another very simple project to do with your kids, Oliver + S offers this free download for an easy child’s skirt. I am no expert at sewing clothes (still a little scared of zippers and sleeves) but this one is totally do-able. And cute.
Really, you can do this. And it doesn’t need to be perfect. Keep it simple, but at the same time, let them run with it. Don’t be afraid to let them (or yourself) make mistakes. Your kids will love anything they have a hand in, and it will give them a ton of satisfaction to see a finished product that they accomplished with their own hands. Hopefully it will do the same for you too!
15 thoughts on “5 Easy ways to teach a girl (or boy) to sew — By Guest Mom Amy Smart”
thanks for this! i recently purchased a “mini” sewing machine for my 6-yr old son who has been begging me to teach him to sew and quilt. we’re waiting for nights without homework so i can sit with him and show him how to use it.
Amy, thanks for using my image to introduce your post about sewing! I love your ideas and can’t wait to get my boys sewing. This post is a great reminder that we can start simple.
this is great! I too, am an avid sewer and am always overwhelmed when trying to coordinate fabrics …do you know where I can buy these fabric packs online?
I started working with my soon to be 5-yo daughter with embroidery this past winter after reading a children’s book called “Abbie in Stitches” we got in Williamsburg VA. It was a great door opening and got my daughter’s interest piqued. At this point I let her come and go to it as she pleases, but I probably need to sew more around her myself so it becomes more natural.
This reminds me of how in all of the queen’s rooms in old Tudor England used to spend a lot of their sitting time, sewing! Definitely a stabilizer for them during those times. Perhaps I’ll learn how to do it so that by the time my daughter is old enough to learn how, I’ll be able to muddle my way through. :)
I forgot to say how much I love this quote! Oh, the stabilizing power of sewing. It’s so true.
I’m really enjoying Amy’s posts.
Thanks for offering a wide range of guest moms, Gaby!
This post is so timely for me! I just got some easy-sew hand puppets (think “lacing card with a purpose”) from Michael’s for my 5 year old to start on. I can’t wait to try these ideas!
I love those lacing cards, perfect for my little kiddies. And thanks for featuring my stitched cards!
Kari, I would just google “Moda Charm Packs” and you’ll find a ton of places that sell them. Everywhere from etsy sellers to bigger online retailers.
I’m really enjoying your posts Amy…thank you for the great tips.
I have been sewing with my girls for the past year. They just turned seven. They both love fabrics (like me) Some projects they sew themselves and some they help me sew. Their favorite recent project was making dolls inspired by Ugly Dolls. I posted the how to on my blog: http://makeitdo.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/make-your-kids-something-ugly/
The best part was having my girls design different dolls… they really caught the vision that sewing can be about imagination.
My son loves sewing cards and watching his grandmother sew and embroider. He thinks it’s magical and that she can make and fix anything. His requests are hysterical. Sewing is for boys and girls, men and woman. Thank you for including boys in your title.
You are a life saver! Thank you for this bit of advice. I just blogged about getting some ideas to keep my 4 year old busy while I’m sewing. You should see what she did to my pincushion!!!
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