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Teaching sewing

My girls have always been fascinated with sewing. They began begging to learn at an early age. Not a surprise, of course! Now they love it so much I want my machine back! Teaching litle kids isn't as daunting as it seems!

First teach safety. Yada yada.

Next teach how to raise and lower the foot, backstitch, press the foot pedal, etc.

Finally, give him or her a scrap and let them scribble sew. Easy!

I don't see the point in restraining their creativity while they are young. They don't need to think sewing has to be a certain way with straight lines and perfect corners. In fact, they'll probably surprise you by what they come up with!

This is a typical scene from my sewing machine. My 3 oldest and the neighbor girl. All taking turns digging through scraps and sewing masterpieces. 

Teaching sewing-9182

And after an hour of uninterupted time my oldest had this.

It is a double sided quilt. I call her my fabric artist. Now what if I had told her how to actually make a "real" quilt? Or told her she has to sew right sides together? We wouldn't have this beauty! 

Do you let your kids have free reign with the sewing machine? What do you think is a good age to learn?


  1. Amy G says

    When my daughter was little 8 years old (and now 27) I taught her to sew first by sewing on paper. I would draw with a Sharpie lines and curves. Setting the machine on a long stitch – first without thread to get the feel for the pedal and machine, then with a 90 needle and very bright colored thread. Knowing she could follow the curves on the paper really helped her confidence. When she was in middle school years, she made a pair of camo cargo pants that were such a hit. She sewed a lot of her clothes in middle school letting her artistic side shine THEN…. Abercrombie moved into the mall Freshman year and than was the end of her sewing. She is moving away to California on September 4th for a job promotion and she is taking her sewing machine with her – that makes this Mom very happy.

  2. says

    I love this Andrea! I really need to let Chloe go at it – I don’t know why I think she is going to get hurt. She will be just fine. Your daughter’s masterpiece is exactly that. well done!

  3. Denise M. says

    I bought my daughter a 3/4 size sewing machine when she was 6 1/2. She loved stitching lines on scrap fabric. I made a few projects with her (mostly me doing the sewing) but now that she turned 8, I signed her up for a kids sewing class where she made a beautiful tote bag! The ladies told me that kids really don’t have the hand coordination to do everything on their own (cutting fabric, etc) until they are about age 10-12 but I think that it doesn’t hurt to practice even if it isn’t perfect. I think that your daughter’s quilt is beautiful.

  4. says

    I have kept my old sewing machine thinking I would let my kids adopt it as theirs when they are old enough, but I am finding that my computerized machine works so much better for them. It has a start/stop button (no peddle needed) and variable speed control, and the needle down and thread cutting. It makes for a surprisingly good child’s machine.
    I like that you just let her have at at sewing. I wonder what my kids would come up with if I did that…. I tend to be a little more hands on, but they seem to enjoy it.

  5. says

    I love this and I agree completely with you! I’ve been taking a similar path with my 5 1/2 year old and she loves it. :)
    Rules are great and sometimes there is a reason there’s a “right” way to do something. But if we never step outside what we’re supposed to do, we’ll never learn anything new. :) Keep up the creativity!!

  6. says

    My daughter keeps asking but I’ve been nervous. She just turned 5 two months ago. I bought her one of those chainstitch sewing machines for Christmas last year but she gets frustrated because it’s not real. I have let her push the pedal while I sew, but she wants to try more. I love that she’s so interested but am still nervous that she’s too young to let her go it alone just yet. How old are your girls Andrea?

  7. Brittany says

    I love love love your approach to this! There are so many adults who are afraid of sewing because they think everything has to be perfect. Just jump in and do something!

  8. Rachel says

    I love that you just posted this! I have been wanting to let my girls (and son) try the machine but haven’t yet. I am going to dig out my old machine and let them try.

  9. Debbie says

    Lol, I have to laugh because I did just what you’ve done with my two granddaughters. They have their own sewing machines in their own space in my sewing room. They’re 7 & 8 and I’m really liking the idea of a threadless machine for the younger one.
    She loves to cut and sew, but she keeps unthreading her machine and then rethreads it incorrectly.
    Awesome post and I love the pictures. How sweet they all look gathered around the sewing machine like that. Those are memories they’ll have for a life time.

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