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Thread: Advice on teaching sewing to young girls

  1. #1
    Senior Member MarthaT's Avatar
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    Advice on teaching sewing to young girls

    Next week I will start a sewing class for four home schooled girls (and their mothers). The girls range in age from 9 to 16. I will start with a class on machine cleaning and maintenance, explaining some basics about fabric choices, etc., and give them some print outs with designs to practice stitching on the lines and beside the lines (i.e. top stitching). Class 2, we will make coasters with 5 in. fabric squares and pocket tissue holders. Very basic cutting and sewing. Class 3, we will make one of those pillow cases demo'ed on MSQC. From there I will see what interests they have in sewing a simple garment, doll clothes, ragged quilt, or even a simple pieced quilt. I only know the 16 yr. old, so I have no idea how far the other girls will take this. The 16 yr. old is very quiet and quite creative. She could go far with this.

    Have any of you taught a similar class? What dos and don'ts did you learn from your class? Any ideas for simple projects for those in the 10 yr. old range?

    I'm excited about passing on my love of sewing to the next generation. I just hope I don't overwhelm (or underwhelm, as the case may be). Any advice would be appreciated!
    Thimble and Thread

  2. #2
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    I think I would skip the coasters and tissue holders and jump to pillow cases or tote bags.

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    My first thought would be to hold off on machine cleaning and maintenance for a lesson or two. Definitely spend time on how to thread, working of needle, safety, etc but start them on using the machine. The design printouts are a good idea. I just think young girls would be eager to get to actually using the machine earlier. The projects you have planned sound good too.

    Good luck in your lessons.
    Sally

  4. #4
    Super Member SewExtremeSeams's Avatar
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    It sounds like you are off to a great start. You have quite an age range. They could take off at varying degrees of interest. A book bag, simple pencil bag or a small wall hanging/doll quilt are also some straight line sewing ideas. Here is a photo of my 6 year old granddaughter sewing tiny pillow which she then learned to hand stitch the opening closed. I have been working with her for 3 years now. She handles the machine with Grandma sitting next to.

    Years ago I taught a homeschool group of 6 girls ranging from 1st to 3rd grade. They loved it and have all taken off with sewing except my daughter (who was in the group). I started them off with drafting their own pattern out of newspapers of a butcher style apron. Things I stressed were raising the needle to its highest position before pulling the fabric out to cut the threads and holding onto the thread with a finger while they stitched their first two stitches when beginning to sew again. I had to hold my hands behind my back to keep myself from not reaching around them to do things myself. Verbal coaching is better than doing it for them. You are doing a great thing for them. I enjoyed both teaching others to sew and homeschooling. Have fun!!!!

    PS: I agree with Selm, hold off on the cleaning the machine. That could be used for those who take off faster than perhaps the younger ones. Also, an advanced skill would be to learn how to thread the machine themselves (stressing having the needle up in the highest position so the tension discs are separated when threading it) and then how to thread the bobbin.
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    Last edited by SewExtremeSeams; Today at 07:50 AM.

    Linda

    Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.
    [John Newton (1725-1807)]

  5. #5
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    my first thought was putting the machine maintenance later. my DGKs loved just sewing squares together to make a small quilt... they were so proud. they loved choosing the fabric themselves from a supply i cut in advance.
    Nancy in western NY

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    Super Member calla's Avatar
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    I started with the maintenance and fabrics as you did, I also included tools. Not to overwhelm them........I also had them sew without thread on the lines of notebook paper. That helped build confidence with sewing straight, speed control and becoming familiar with the machine.

  7. #7
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    Also - when threading the machine - to have the presser foot UP -

  8. #8
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    I agree with holding off on the cleaning of the machine - it doesn't take much to lose your audience. When we had 5th & 6th grade girl scouts we did book bags. We started with them decorating with the puff paint and the next week we sewed them together. It was surprising how many of them actually used them. Pillow cases could be a similar reaction. The idea of sewing on paper would be a nice starter - but not too long, they will lose interest.

    Will they all be using the same machine? Model?

  9. #9
    Senior Member MarthaT's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice so far.

    Hmmm....maybe maintenance would not be a good start. I didn't think I'd spend much time on it, mostly just cleaning around the bobbin case/feed dog area. Not completely taking off the top, oiling, etc. I purposely have not cleaned mine for awhile so they can see what builds up.

    I have samples of the projects to show that first day so they will have an idea of what fabrics they want to buy. I was thinking coasters because it also involves learning to use the iron (fold 4 of the squares in half and press), simple straight stitching, and pivoting at corners. Bags are a good idea too.
    Thimble and Thread

  10. #10
    Senior Member MarthaT's Avatar
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    They are each bringing their own machine. I want them to learn on their own machine that they will be using at home. And I don't want them to have to take turns using my one machine.
    Thimble and Thread

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