I recently started teaching my boys to sew. I was a little nervous at first, but it ended up being a really great experience for all three of us. There were a few things I was scared of before we started:
- That the kids would break my machine
- I wouldn’t have the patience to deal with them learning, and therefore going slowly
- They might fight with each other and not take turns appropriately
- The 4 year old might get frustrated if the 7 year old was better at it because, as a result of being older, he is more coordinated
- And seriously, that they might break my machine
I’m happy to report that none of those things happened! And at the end of 4 days of lessons, both kids had a wearable first project.
On day one we started with the basics – like how to lift and lower the presser foot, how to thread the bobbin, what some of the different stitches are, and this little gif on how the sewing machine works.
Then we went over some ground rules:
- If mom says “stop” we stop immediately
- Nobody touches the machine without permission
- Nobody threads the machine without supervision
- If anyone whines we take a break
And then we started with just a basic straight stitch, I let them do two lines each on a scrap of quilting cotton.
After that I let them practice a bit more on some more scraps and explore some of the different stitch types.
Day two we decided on a project. I had recently made myself a hooded t-shirt, so they wanted to make their own t-shirt hoodies. I quickly took some measurements and drafted a pattern in each of their sizes. I let them pick out fabric from my stash and we talked about the different types of fabric and how we need to use knits for a t-shirt.
We started with the shoulder seams, adding a bit of faux coverstitch topstitching (more on that later) to make them look a little neater.
At each step, I would pin things together properly and then let the boys sew the seams. There were a couple of areas, like the very curvy part of the armscye and attaching the sleeve cuffs where we would sew together with my hands over theirs, but they did quite a lot themselves. My 7 year old even attached his own hood, despite a fair amount of curve.
When all was said and done, both kids had totally wearable tops! The 7 year old sewed about 85-90% of it completely on his own, the 4 year old was closer to 70/30. Both of them did a fantastic job, nobody (myself included) got mad at each other, there was virtually no whining, and I’m really glad to say that my machine is in the same condition it started in.
And most importantly, I ended up with two very happy kids who will hopefully cherish this memory when they’re older and who now have a life skill for the zombie apocalypse…or regular life…one or the other.
(The little one is a zombie, in case you were wondering)
Do you sew with your kids? Tell me about their projects!