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Thread: Help and advice needed from anyone who has been there

  1. #11
    Senior Member mtngrl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Stuck in a Canadian Winter
    My grand daughter started with a favorite scrap from my bag of scraps with a needle and thread. Later she wanted a cat blanket so I helped her sew it on my machine, set at lowest speed. She kept making little bags with long handles to wear over her shoulder... hand sewn. When she came to visit and we had time she would try a few seams on my machine. She is now using her mom's machine and still sewing bags she can wear over her shoulder. The latest one had a zigzag stitch to hold the fold over on the strap, she is creative and learning on her own. Next year she will be in home ec and they will tell her the proper way to do things, meanwhile we are letting her find her own voice and enjoy herself. I have a cousin who was taught at home ec and hates to sew because they didn't let her do anything her way. It's ok to experiment and enjoy the learning process. It doesn't have to be perfect, it has to be fun so they have a love for sewing. Need for Perfection attacks us all eventually.
    "An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail." Edwin Land

    Blessings! Ruth

  2. #12
    Super Member joysewer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    A friend and I had a sewing camp one year at church for 2 weeks....3 days each week. We started with the basics of going over all the machine parts and patterns and had them sew on paper first to get the feel of the machine. Then we helped them make basic things like a bag for their sewing supplies. We helped the older group make pajama bottoms for themselves. When they had extra time, they made pillowcases to donate to Conker Cancer.

  3. #13
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Delmarva Peninsula
    Blog Entries
    I would have her pick colors from your stash, and cut them into 5-6" squares. Have her lay them out in a pattern about the size of a doll blanket (4 X 6 squares). I would use a foot with a 1/4" guide, and put the machine on the lowest speed possible, either you drive with her on your lap. Have her practice on 12" squares first.
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  4. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    One thing I think might help, buy a 1/4 inch with guide presser foot for your machine. Thank way, your grandaughter won't have to be so concerned about a 1/4 inch seam. It will happen automatically when she puts the fabric up to the guide,all she will have to do is keep the fabric next to the guide and just sew. I have a 1/4 inch presser foot with guide for al my sewing machines. Just a thought!

  5. #15
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Mableton, GA
    I did much the same as many above with granddaughter. She was about 7 with her first venture where she picked out fabric and I cut it, and she sat on my lap. This year, she is 9 1/2 and I showed her how to use the machine, what 1/4 inch seem looked like and set a guide and she did it mostly herself. Of course her seams were wonky and sometimes she forgot to put the presser foot down, but she was mighty pleased with herself. I glue basted it for her and she quilted it, next to the ditch. I put the binding on and she sat with me while we sewed it on the other side. I let her make her own mistakes and didn't want to discourage her with looking for "perfect". "Good enough" was good enough for us. I kept telling her she would get better with practice and there are no "quilt police", and just to have fun. She doesn't live near me so our efforts are few and far between.

  6. #16
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    This book, DVD and pattern is great for teaching a child to quilt.


    I cut the fabric and then guide them with quilting. Besure to let her pick out the fabrics. Also I let the child sew but when they feel done I don't push them but let them. then the next time we work on it again.
    Anna Quilts

  7. #17
    Senior Member Lois-nounoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    When my 10 yr old granddaughter came to visit for 2 1/2 weeks in July I taught her to quilt on my mother's 70+ yr old sewing machine with knee peddle! She had never seen a sewing machine before much less sewed on one. I didn't tell here what I had in mind for her to do while she was here. First day I had her do an easy Sudodu puzzle. Next day she picked out nine of her favorite fabrics. Next day I cut each of them into 6" blocks. Each day we did a row and you know where I'm going. I had it worked out that in the last three days I would help her sandwich and machine quilt her own quilt and the last day before she left I wanted to bind it and have it all finished for her to take home. Unfortunately I broke my arm a couple of days before she left but we did manage to get the top all done and I gave her enough 2 1/2" strips to have someone else help her finish it for her. I was so dissappointed that it couldn't be me but at least we did the project together. She lives in Florida and I in Maryland but we do keep in touch. Other grandkids are all boys and they have no interest but so be it. I have my memories and Lici has her quilt. LOL

  8. #18
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Cadillac, MI
    Blog Entries
    I would never start with a quilt again. My GD is a high strung perfectionist and there were too many traumas. As seldom as you have your precious GD, I'd start with a pillow so she can have the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a finish, then progress to the quilt.

    My 9 yo GS is working on a pillow here. A 9 patch with a feature fabric in the center on each side. His is military - imagine that. The first side he used my 301 with its small handwheel as a handcrank. He wasn't comfortable with the electics. Friday night he switched to the motor. I do think handcranking it gave him a feel for the 1/4" without worrying about zooming around. My only machine I can slow down is not a good quilter - she eats edges.

    Uh, this one isn't sitting on my lap - he weighs more than I do.

    Enjoy your time together.
    Last edited by irishrose; 11-18-2012 at 02:47 PM.

  9. #19
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    I always start with tool safety and use. It is not a lecture as I get them to use the tool(s) to make a little sample. then we join the samples all together and thus form a quilt. They get to do bigger stuff later if they show interest - the skill part comes with practice. I don't get too critical of their efforts but encourage them to make something that will not fall apart. I was 7 when I was machine sewing and I have instructed sensible kids who were younger. They don't get to sew with me if they behave in a dangerous way to themselves or others. They like it better if you don't dominate or do the work for them.

  10. #20
    Super Member WMUTeach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Portage, Michigan
    I started with my almost nine year old grand daughter this summer and believe it or not she loved to iron. While she ironed scraps and I cut standard cut squares we began to talk about colors and why it was important to have straight edges. We then went to my stash and picked out 9 fabrics that she liked and made 12 inch blocks for a simple nine patch. I used some scraps for her to practice sewing a straight (well, almost straight) seam and to lean how much pressure to put on the pedal. We do all of this so naturally because of our time invested in sewing. She needed some experience. For me the hardest part was allow her to sew without my hands guiding her. One rule that I have found with teaching anyone anything is....when they get tired let them stop. My GD would stop and I could see her losing tired slumped shoulders, so we stopped and I would sew on my project for a while. She would see me being persistent with my work and she would return and work on her quilt a little more. The end result was a joyful little girl who made the 9 patch, I quilted it and she and I worked on the binding together. A little hand sewing by her and I together. She is so proud of her project! I am looking forward to her coming back next summer for a new sewing project.

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