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Thread: 4 yr old wants to sew

  1. #1
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    Does anyone have any ideas of how to teach (entertain) ab 4 yr old who wants to sew with grandma? I have given him yard and thread to play with, but now he wants to learn how to sew? I have some felt, and all I can think of is teaching him the blanket stitch on the edge. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    My Grandma started me sewing buttons on a scrap of fabric when I was about 3 years old. She said I sewed and sewed and asked for more thread and buttons.

    When my DGD was little, I gave her my cupcake pan and my button box and asked her to sort them according to color. She loved to play with them.

  3. #3
    Senior Member DawnMarie's Avatar
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    I let my daughter stand next to me and push the floor pedal while I'm piecing. She understands that she needs to pay attention and lift up her foot when the needle is approaching a pin.
    I also have let her arrange patches on the floor, like a design wall.
    She loves going through my scraps and picking out stuff she likes.
    I've even taken her to the sit n' sew at our LQS. She picked out some FQs, and I helped her to make a purse.
    I have taught her the technical jargon of a sewing machine so she can identify the parts (presser foot, needle plate, foot pedal, etc.).
    I'm starting my 1 year old on the jargon too. He now knows bobbin, needle, and thimble. We're getting there. :)
    Good luck. Also, remember that at 4, their attention span isn't huge, so little jobs are better to do that ones that take a while.

  4. #4
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    A four year old's attentions span isn't very long, about 15 min. if I remember right. Give him a threaded needle and some fabric squares with the seam line drawn. He'll be busy and interested in spurts. When my grand would want to help me sew and do something different every 20 mins or so I sent her to help grandpa for a while. They just want to do what you are doing no matter what it is.

  5. #5
    Super Member thequilteddove's Avatar
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    How exciting! I wish my GD wanted to learn. She doesn't have use of her feet or legs, so I have taught myself how to sew using my elbow to push the foot pedal, which leaves my hands free so I can still guide the fabric!

    I can't wait until she's ready to learn :) For now she's happy just touching my leg... when she touches my leg, I start sewing. When she takes her hand off, I stop :) Even that doesn't last more than a few minutes and she ready to do something else (she just turned 4 in April).

  6. #6
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    my youngest granddaughter was 4 when she made her first quilt...we started with a little people (toy-singer) it did a simple chain stitch- and was more aggrivation than worth- i went shopping, found an inexpensive Brother machine that had speed control on it...i think that is a very important feature on a machine a child will use.
    she already had her own stash of fabrics...she laid them out on the floor how she wanted them- she worked as if on a design wall- picking up 2 pieces, sewing them together- replacing them, taking next, ect...
    some of her seams were 1 1/2" wide, some were 1/8" wide...i did not criticize- or make her change anything- it was her project...
    it meant everything to her- her daddy had just been deployed and she was afraid he would forget her...
    she even printed her favorite picture of her daddy holding her- onto fabric and included it in the quilt-
    when she got the top done i tipped a dresser onto it's side for her to stand/walk on and she used the long-arm to quilt it
    we did a folded binding (back to front) so she could do that part too...
    the only thing i did through the whole project (took her 4 days) was
    i pressed any fabric she felt needed ironing-
    and i loaded the quilt on the big frame- she was not big enough to help with that...
    she used scissors and cut her own fabrics...
    and 6 1/2 years later- daddy is getting ready to deploy again...and that quilt still travels the world..and is looking pretty good.

    standing on a dresser to quilt
    Name:  Attachment-197728.jpe
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  7. #7
    Super Member AngieS's Avatar
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    My lil girl is 3 and is always wanting to sew. :) I'm afraid to give her a needle yet though. I'm afraid she'll poke herself. Are you all using a special needle or anything?

  8. #8
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    My GD wanted to do what I was doing so I gave then plastic canvas and a blunt needle with yarn helped them for a little while and they lost interest then any time they wanted to do it I just gave them that and the youngest got good at it

  9. #9
    Senior Member sosewcrazy's Avatar
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    Get some burlap, yarn, and a yarn needle which isn't sharp. Draw a simple outline on the burlap and show him how to sew on it. I used to do this with kindergarteners to build up their finger muscles and eye-hand coordination, and they loved it! Put masking tape around the edges to avoid fraying.

  10. #10
    Senior Member redturtle's Avatar
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    why not try the plastic canvas mesh...you can get the plastic needles and let the kids pick out a couple of their favorite colors of yarn...

  11. #11
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    my youngest granddaughter was 4 when she made her first quilt.
    i was unhappy with the aggravation with a little kids' singer- so i purchased an inexpensive brother machine with speed control...
    that is the one feature i feel is important on a childs machine.
    she already had her own fabric stash--
    she laid her quilt out on the floor, picked up 2 pieces at a time, sewed them together- layed back out- continued until she had the quilt top she wanted- some of her seams were 2" wide, some were 1/8" wide-
    it was her project- i did not criticize or make her re-do anything...
    the only thing i did for her was iron a couple pieces of wrinkled fabric she felt needed to be ironed-
    she used little scissors to cut her own fabrics when needed.
    when she had it pieced i took her shopping for a back= then we tipped a dresser on it's side for her to stand on and she quilted it with the (big-machine)
    it was very important that she make that quilt- her daddy was being deployed and she did not want him forgetting her.
    now, 6 1/2 years later- he is again getting ready for deployment==and the quilt is all ready to go...it is still holding up great- and we all look at it as if it is the greatest quilt that's ever been made.
    she has (on her own) continued to sew- and her seams are getting better all the time- she is learning- every thing she makes is PERFECT! her 2 older sisters sew too- they like making purses more than quilts, only the littlest one seems to have the (quilting gene :-D )

    so , long & short--- girl or boy---any child who shows an interest should be given the opportunity -
    i have a nephew who learned to knit in second grade....his class made their own knitting needles, then all knitted scarfs...the boys in that class spent the rest of their school days walking the halls with knitting needles click, click, clicking away :thumbup:

    standing on a dresser to quilt
    Name:  Attachment-197732.jpe
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  12. #12
    Super Member calla's Avatar
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    Make sewing cards, empty ceral box, make shapes, circles, triangles, etc, or animals, houses, boat.........whatever, with an awal, punch holes.......taa taa...........sewing cards........with yarn, and blunt needle............have her go to town........calla

  13. #13
    Junior Member Madan49's Avatar
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    I learned how to sew on an old treadle machine when I was 4.. and never stopped sewing. Yes, needles are scary for a mother when in the hands of a little one, but I don't think the "danger" outweighs the benefits! You may have an ardent future stitcher on your hands.. I'd encourage it!

  14. #14
    Kelly R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngieS
    My lil girl is 3 and is always wanting to sew. :) I'm afraid to give her a needle yet though. I'm afraid she'll poke herself. Are you all using a special needle or anything?
    Poke or stab? If you're really afraid she'll do serious damage (like, say, poke it in her eye), then wait til she's older. But if you're talking a regular needle prick, then I say poking yourself with a needle is a pretty good way to learn how to be careful with a needle. My 4-year-old son has been using a needle and thread to sew scraps together for almost a year. He's never hurt himself.

  15. #15
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maryb119
    My Grandma started me sewing buttons on a scrap of fabric when I was about 3 years old. She said I sewed and sewed and asked for more thread and buttons.
    And when this is complete, it would make a fantastic wall-hanging for lasting memories

    :-)

  16. #16
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    My youngest two used plastic canvas and needles. They made pencil boxes for the entire family - dad first, of course, tissue holders for their rooms, etc. It satisfied the need to create without being too close to what is potentially a dangerous piece of equipment. I can guarantee my Elna couldn't tell the difference between leather and fingers. I embedded a needle in my own finger one night.

    If I had a young child who truly needed to quilt, she/he would only do the planning, laying out and pinning.

  17. #17
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    There are kits made for young children. There are also very big needles without sharp points made for children that you can use with a project that use make up yourself. When I was teaching I used those needles and a project made out of felt for my young students. You can cut out a shape like a bear, a dog or some easy pattern and put holes around the outside show him how to thread yarn through the holes. After it is sewn together, it can be stuffed. The little ones loved doing those and the finished items. Have fun. :) Some kits are available at JoAnn and probably other craft stores, possibly even WalMart.

  18. #18
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thequilteddove
    How exciting! I wish my GD wanted to learn. She doesn't have use of her feet or legs, so I have taught myself how to sew using my elbow to push the foot pedal, which leaves my hands free so I can still guide the fabric!

    .
    I just purchased a Singer 99 and was pleased to see on e-bay that I can add a hand crank to the wheel. You by pass the electrical and just turn the crank. She would be able to work that by herself.

  19. #19
    Super Member Country1's Avatar
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    My DGD sits in my lap. We have a ball. She's in love with my embroidery machine.

  20. #20
    Super Member MinnieKat's Avatar
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    Maybe he can help you make some bean bags ... then he'll have something to play with when he gets bored with the sewing.

  21. #21
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    Can you let him sit on your lap and sort of guide the fabric as you do the foot peddle and really do the guiding of the fabric? That you you can sort of control where his fingers are,

  22. #22
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    I would go with the sewing cards myself. It will help his eye/hand coordination. Many small kids do not have the fine motor skills needed to handle a regular needle and thread. As he becomes more adept, teach him to hand embroider simple shapes.
    When i was taught to use a machine my sister drew shapes on paper and i had to be able to follow them using the unthreaded machine. not until i could follow the lines was I allowed to actually sew. When the time comes that he is ready to use a machine I would use one that has a speed control so he has to sew slow.
    Personally I would be uncomfortable with a 4yo and a machine but I don't know your GS.

  23. #23
    Senior Member sosewcrazy's Avatar
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    I forgot all about sewing cards! I haven't seen them for quite a while.

  24. #24
    Super Member Chele's Avatar
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    How exciting seeing the younger generations have an interest! Teach 'em well, quilters!

  25. #25
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    I was sewing well at that age and doing embroidery. I had to practice the stitches from an old book my grandma had. By the time I was seven, I was making stuff on her old treadle. So I would suggest simple embroidery on check material such as easy chicken scratch or needle weaving embroidery on huckaback material so that he can keep track of the lines and size of the stitches.

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