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Thread: Teaching Children to Sew -- What about Cutting and Pressing?

  1. #1
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    Teaching Children to Sew -- What about Cutting and Pressing?

    I have posted before about working with the neighbor girls, teaching them sewing skills. One is 10 years old, and the other two are getting close to 8 years old. We have had some good discussions on the board about this.

    I am interested in hearing experiences and opinions about working with children and the iron, as well as cutting tools. I don't think I will let these girls near a rotary cutter for years. Right now I do all of the piece cutting. They awkardly clip and trim with scissors.

    This will be the first year that the girls enter any items of sewing in the fair. I know people who do all of the rotary cutting for their children or grandchildren's fair projects. When I was in 4-H, my mother made sure we did everything on our projects ourselves. However, even in quilt shows, people have often used pre-cuts and some send their binding out to be done.

    Any thoughts and ideas on these subjects would be welcome.

    Dayle

  2. #2
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    I think you are correct in not letting them near a rotary cutter at this point. Those things are dangerous. Maybe some pressing for the older one? I was probably about that age when I was given the chore of ironing hankies - oh my, that dates me, doesn't it???? Anywho... I also get having the kids do all of their own work for fair projects. Some tools that are used at this point are just not tools that children should be handling. I'm not sure that boys of the same age group would be using power tools (beyond maybe a sander) if they are submitting wood working projects???? Just a guess.

    I know my friend and I both do the piece cutting for her 16 year old daughter for her quilting projects at this point. Perhaps if I had a safety glove for her I'd give her some direction and oversee the process with her but not without the safety glove.

    Good luck with your sewing lessons.

  3. #3
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daylesewblessed View Post
    I have posted before about working with the neighbor girls, teaching them sewing skills. One is 10 years old, and the other two are getting close to 8 years old. We have had some good discussions on the board about this.

    I am interested in hearing experiences and opinions about working with children and the iron, as well as cutting tools. I don't think I will let these girls near a rotary cutter for years. Right now I do all of the piece cutting. They awkardly clip and trim with scissors.

    This will be the first year that the girls enter any items of sewing in the fair. I know people who do all of the rotary cutting for their children or grandchildren's fair projects. When I was in 4-H, my mother made sure we did everything on our projects ourselves. However, even in quilt shows, people have often used pre-cuts and some send their binding out to be done.

    Any thoughts and ideas on these subjects would be welcome.

    Dayle
    I was doing a lot of my own sewing by the age of 10. SO! Yes, a kiddo can be taught to cut and press. Instead of a rotary cutter, you might have the child make the lines with a making pencil and slowly cut out with a scissors. But, even at 10, a she/he can learn safety with a rotary cutter.
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    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    I taught 3 siblings to sew last summer. Two boys 13 and 10 and their sister, 7. We started with string blocks (no rotary cutting needed. I had the foundation blocks precut and I trimmed up the blocks when they were finished.) and moved up to pillowcases at the end of the summer. Even the 13 yr old had a great time. We made the blocks for a Quilt of Valor. I told the kids if they made a pillowcase for QOV, they could pick out fabric for their own pillowcase. A trip to the fabric store, pizza and a day w/o mom there was the highlight of the summer. They did great and had fun. I told the boys next summer we will play games instead! No rotary cutter needed.
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    I started ironing hankies, pillow cases and tea towels when I was small enough to have to stand on a chair. I would guess I was 5 or 6.

    I cannot see a reason for 8-10 year old kids to not use the iron. I was in 4H in grade 3 (8 years old) and was using scissors, iron, sewing machine there.
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    I have the smaller kids use my small iron (the one I take to classes) as it fits their hands better.

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    Senior Member QuiltNama's Avatar
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    Taught all of GC how to sew. I did the cutting with rotary cutter and taught them how to use scissors the right way. They all learned ironing, sewing on the machine and hand sewing by time they were 8-9-10. We had a lot of fun.

  8. #8
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input on pressing especially. We have been pressing. In fact, the first project requiring pressing was done on simple fabric postcards. With the 7 year olds I am always at the ironing board with them. Their 3 year old sister sometimes joins us with their mother after her nap, and she wanted to help with the postcards. I had her put one hand on the pressing cloth far away from the action to help hold it in place and held her other hand in mine to keep it still. My other hand was ready for action if needed. However, recently I experienced a bad burn on my hand while helping the 10 year old pressing a 9 patch. It was nobody's fault. We collided in mid air.

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    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    When you do start teaching them rotary cutting skills, you might want to purchase one of those cutters that automatically closes when it's lifted from the cutting surface.

  10. #10
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by francie yuhas View Post
    I have the smaller kids use my small iron (the one I take to classes) as it fits their hands better.
    Good thought ... plus some of the irons are so heavy it would be harder for the children to work with.

    I can understand hesitations towards the children using the rotary cutters. It's important for them to learn how to use scissors and this would be a good place to start. As they progress and you see how well they are cutting, and how safe they are around scissors, then you would know when the right time would be to introduce them to a rotary cutter.

    An important safety factor for both ironing and scissor or rotary cutting, would be to have them working at an appropriate height. The shorter the child, the more important to adjust to their height ... just as each of us have discovered our tables are too high/low depending on our own height.
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