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A Mini Sewing Lesson

My girls have done lots of handwork when it comes to sewing.  They’ve made pillows, dolls, stuffed animals and embroideries.  But up until recently we haven’t ventured onto the sewing machine.

It’s not for lack of interest.  They’ve probably asked to learn every time they’ve seen me sewing for the last 3 years.  That’s more times than I care to admit.

I must admit to feeling a little worried about it.  I am usually good at sharing (thanks mom and dad)… but this is my sewing machine we’re talking about!

Despite feeling a bit possessive, a few months ago I bucked up and gave the girls each a lesson.  We talked about how the machine works, what the knobs and buttons do, how it is threaded, and a little safety lesson.  We also talked about how to guide the fabric.

Of course we learned what 1/4 inch seam is.  Just as my mom taught me, I talked about watching the side of the presser foot to achieve your 1/4 inch seam and not to watch the needle.

Needless to say, learning to sew on “Mom’s sewing machine” was pretty exciting for the girls.

One of the tricks to teaching a child to sew is to find projects that are quick and easy and that give them a great sense of accomplishment when they are done.

The flag bunting for my girl’s birthday party was the perfect project for a mini sewing lesson.  I used my own tutorial for a flag bunting found here.  Since there were 7 flags, I made the first flag to show the girls proper technique.  I showed them again how to create a 1/4 inch seam.  I also showed them how to turn a corner by leaving the needle in the down position, and how to take the single stitch at the point using the handwheel.  I also showed them how to clip a corner and turn their flag using a chopstick.

Then they each got to make 3 flags.  They helped layout the flags and I sewed them into my homemade binding tape (which took a little more control sewing right along the edge).  It was a great beginning project and they were so proud of the results.

Next project I’m thinking of having them sew cozy pants or a simple skirt…. they’ve done so well, I think they might be up for it.

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11 Responses to “A Mini Sewing Lesson”

  • What a cool memory to have documented. Can’t wait to teach my daughter.

  • I love this! I had my six-year old son, Jack, sew on his valentines just last month, using my sewing machine for the first time. (I have NO attachment to my machine though–it’s a 13-year old Kenmore.) He loved it, and I loved helping him do it. I was thinking a simple bag next for him–he has an embroidered Batman he’s been working on, and I think it could work as a bag embellishment. Way to go letting your girls play!

  • Three cheers for kids learning to sew! I learned to sew on my mom’s machine and then for my 8th birthday I got a machine of my own! (I’m pretty sure it was second-hand).

    The bunting looks great! A simple skirt or lounge pants or even a simple jumper dress would be a great next project!

  • It’s great to learn things like this at a young age! It’s a skill that will stick with you forever and be very useful! Awesome!

  • Janelle:

    My oldest son(12) & daughter(almost 8) have been learning to sew – but I sent them to basic youth sewing classes at a local fabric store. I homeschool, and for some reason, I don’t seem to have the patience to start from scratch with sewing. They’ve made envelope-style pillows, simple PJ pants, and the oldest has moved into a more difficult pair of cargo shorts. NOW that they know how to thread, make a bobbin, sew a straight line, cut a pattern (I did teach them that), and use a seam ripper, I feel like I can work with them on projects.

  • Alexa:

    My 2nd grader just came back from a sewing birthday party at the local quilt shop! They made little shoulder bags, and I must say hers looks as good as your bunting.

    Now she’s asking for a sewing class. I have the same attachment to my first-ever, really nice (to me, anyway) machine, but I’m also too frugal to pay for a class I could teach myself. You give me strength to let her learn at home. Perhaps we’ll make some bunting to hang over her bed.

  • I braved into new territory by letting my 10 year old daughter and her friend use my most treasured Babylock for some projects they’d been begging to try. Quick lesson on safety and they were off and running! They made tiny stuffed animals out of fleece and some accessories for their American Girl dolls. They had a blast having free reign in my sewing room picking out the fabric they wanted and sewing to their hearts content!!

  • elsa:

    My Dad taught me to sew when I was 8 years old. I started to make my own clothes about then. Sometimes when I see little girls that age I wonder how I ever did the things I did, they are so little.
    How exciting that your daughters want to learn!
    I taught my son to sew when he was 11 so he could alter his pants and t-shirts. He’s pretty good at it!

  • How nice. At what age did you introduce sewing to them? What were your first projects? My girls are 4&5, just not sure when and where to start. Thanks!

  • Lana:

    Oh how I wish I had the courage to do this with my older girls. I was always so afraid they’d sew their fingers. Ugg. My 21 yr old has a sewing machine and we are going to do this TODAY! She is getting ready to move out and we need to get her going on this. Now my 3 yr old…we will wait a couple years but I will certainly have her sewing earlier.

    Ahhh gotta love getting older. :)
    Thanks for the simple project to start with.

  • Curious, now that you are 1.5 years later – what additional projects did you do for the kids? I typically start with bean bags of various shapes.

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