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Advice on teaching sewing to young girls

Advice on teaching sewing to young girls

Old 08-29-2014, 09:05 AM
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I've taught children from 3yr to 93 ys. For the young ones I like to stat with stitching without thread on card stock paper that has lines, curves and zig zags which they learn how to set the needle and make a turn. Then I use dot to dot pictures where they have to follow the numbered dots to create a picture, After they are comfortable with using presser foot, sinking needle to make turns, we Learn how to wind a bobbin, and thread the machine. My GD are already good with using a scissors so I have the cut out a simple elastic band skirt pattern for their first project. It takes two lessons to complete this. I Also have them help with the Ouch Buddies that are given to the local Children's hospital. A small quilt using a quarter inch foot helps to gain experience in ironing as well as matching seams. Aprons or doll clothes for younger students is nice. The 7yr old like making her pencil bag learning hoe to sew a zipper, but older students like making fashionable tote bags, mom might like a reusable grocery bag. Keeping it simple is the key and keeping lessons to an hours seems to work for me. [ATTACH=CONFIG]489542[/ATTACH]
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:30 AM
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gvolle44 - how precious is that little girl !
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:46 AM
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A friend and I taught a sewing class, we started with 14 and ended with 9, 6 to 14 year old girls, turned out to be more baby sitting! Glad to hear the moms will be in your class. I would save maint. and cleaning for later. We started with pillow cases. We learned quickly that our students had almost no hand - eye-foot coordination! The lefties had issues! LOL For the second class, with markers I drew straight and wavy lines and circles on 18'' squares of muslin . The circles overlapped and each was a different color. The lesson was =Safety first! then bobbin winding , treading the machine (white thread) and then sewing on the lines over and over with a straight stitch and zig zag while trying to keep an even speed and light touch while guiding/steering the fabric.
We learned right off the girls did not want lectures they wanted machine time . Cheap machines are a real pain! Thread tails, sudden and fast starts, pushing the fabric. None of our girls had ever touched a sewing machine before and they were fearless! They are girls and love to chatter and see what everyone else is doing WHILE THEY ARE SEWING! and they have no patience! So.... no rotary cutters, set machines up with a longer stitch length so ripping out is a happier experience, bring a magnet to pick up the several times spilled pins. A few mom or grandma helpers are a good idea. Bring craft/sewing/quilting magazines to foster ideas and excitement for what they can learn to make, they were all astonished when I showed them blouses and quilts I had made. Include a list of supplies they will need in their basic basket. Shiny, sparkely and slippery fabric pillow cases are fun but NOT for beginers. Put a little distance between the work stations. For complete beginners = 3 students per teacher is a workable ratio. 1 hour is not enough, with the set-up, visiting / show and tell, lesson and clean -up , plan on 2 1/2 to3 hours or even a Saturday or Sunday 1/2 day if their attention span and desire to learn is high. After school is not the best.
Our class was after school until 5 pm during the school year. The different ages/grades kept them from showing up at the same time so snacks and visiting while we waited helped them focus. By the end of the school year they had made pillow cases, tote bags, placemats or doll size quilts, and pillow case dresses or tops and elastic waist skirts, button sewing and a few embroidery stitches. None wanted a class for the next school year, they missed their softball team. 5 will probably sew and embroider often , I think most will take it up later in life but our 3 oldest girls, home schooled and sisters, entered sewing projects and embroidery in the county fair! We are so proud of them!
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Old 08-29-2014, 11:30 AM
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I have taught many kids (and some of the best students were the very young boys!). The first thing you need to find out is how many are there to learn and how many are only there because their mom wanted them to be there - that will determine a lot about what you teach. I wouldn't spend very much time on machine maintenance. You can work that in as you progress. With kids I use the analogy of walking to school for the threading of the machine. Meaning that you always move forward, maybe taking a few side turns but continuing in a forward path.
Practicing on paper lines is a great thing to do. And when you have them pivot and turn corners until they have made a square, they really get happy. Pillowcases are good to get used to the machine, but the reason so many sewing classes start with pajama pants is that it is an opportunity to learn patterns, altering a pattern, layout, cutting sewing, and a waistband without too much concern over the fit and using cotton it is relatively cheap. I hope you have fun, I love working with kids and seeing how good they feel about themselves when they complete a project. Another word of caution. We tend to start sewing and forget time. Kids can only go about 2 hours without getting fuzzybrained.
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Old 08-29-2014, 11:52 AM
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This is so enjoyable reading about others experiences....SEW ON!
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Old 08-29-2014, 04:28 PM
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A rag quilt could be good. They are easy to make and fun as well. Pillow cases are good too. I made can coosies with my DGD the first time. Then we made pajama pants. She loves to wear them and tell her friends that she made them. A tote bag would be another project. Humbug bags are nice when they advance to a zipper. Ask them what they want to make. They will have ideas, I'm sure.
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Old 08-29-2014, 11:28 PM
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I love this approach, because it presents sewing to the children as a skill they can learn to allow them to achieve their OWN dreams. For me, seeing children realise and expand their own competence is a joy.

Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
In our little sewing school we started with threading the machine and winding a bobbin...left cleaning, maintenance till after first completed project. We started with pillowcases and draw string pants. The kids had to draft, size their own pants and even the 7 year olds loved this. After those two projects the kids each chose their own next project to be given to someone as a gift... 3 of the boys made quilts and pillows for their moms, the girls made purses, totes with box corners and skirts. One ambitious young man (he was 10) made his dad a pair of pants and a Hunting / fishing vest -- lots of pockets, zippers,buttons... His dad was in tears... They even fit ! The kids really enjoyed creating things they felt were (useful) . they were not very interested in (quilting) until second/third year, exception the occasional gift quilt... New baby sister coming, mom's birthday... They wanted to make toys, clothes, fun... We had creative sewer's from 4 yrs old on up to 80...the kids classes were set up (4-11) (12-15) and then (16- up)
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Old 08-29-2014, 11:46 PM
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This reminds me of a sad memory from my childhood. At school there was at one time a practice for girls to sew while the boys had extra math class. It makes me angry even now. Girls need those skills too! And science, and finance, and all those other things. It opens career options but more importantly it equips them to be a better citizen- to inform their voting choices, protect themselves as consumers, manage their own finances and investments. I was almost turned away from sewing permanently by having it presented as this type of choice.

Thankfully I later had a teacher that ensured the boys also got the benefit of needlework classes, so we could all share the joy of learning together!

Originally Posted by fmhall2 View Post
Back in the 90's I did the same thing. Had probably 9 or 10 home schooled girls and their mothers and their grandmothers. They wanted hand sewing, so that is what we did. Loved it. At the same time my husband taught the boys. He had maybe 6 or 8. They started with aviation, since he was a pilot, then they went on to other things that they wanted to learn, such as cartooning, finances, politics, physics -- basically anything they asked about. I still teach one homeschool mother sewing in my home, and a college grad on two separate days.
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Old 08-31-2014, 07:36 AM
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Making pajama bottoms could be a project for after the pillowcase. Lots of neat cottons for that. How about a draw string bag or fancy hems on a plain tea towel.
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