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Teaching children to sew

Teaching children to sew

Old 07-04-2012, 09:19 AM
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Default Teaching children to sew

Last weekend a friend asked me if I would teach four or five little girls how to sew. Their ages are 5, 8 and three in the 8th grade. I taught first year 4-H sewing years ago, but I need some "modern" ideas of things for them to make. They are eager to learn how to sew, crochet, knit, and embroider, so I need some basic project suggestions. I will have two sewing machines for them to use and plenty of sewing supplies. I am so excited about helping teach these girls some lifetime skills Thanks for any comments and suggestions you might have to make this a successful experience.
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:22 AM
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Pillowcases and aprons are a great start.
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:36 AM
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I taught my 5 year old niece to sew and her first project was a rag quilt. Fast, relatively easy (for those with low patience of a 5 year old) and she loved it.
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:24 AM
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If you are working with younger girls who have never had a needle in their hands, I would suggest some plastic canvas work (like needlepoint, but easier). You can work up to cross-stitch on gingham from there.

I helped a 9 year old neighbor girl this summer, and our first sewing project was a "scrunchie". The only hard part was the last seam - a cross seam that included the elastic. But it was a short seam, so that helped. It was a quick project where she could see the results and have something she could use right away.

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Old 07-04-2012, 10:45 AM
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I'm teaching my 9-yo granddaughter to sew and her first project is a simple, backed quilt top ("summer quilt"). She chose the fabrics and I cut 12 squares, 13" (to allow for 1/2" seam). I posted pictures, not long ago, of her progress. The next time she comes over, she'll sew the backing (flannel) right side to the top, then turn and top-stitch. It's a simple project, even though it's 36" x 48". I chose this because I wanted her first project to be something of which she'd be very proud . . . and can use.

I had planned to also teach two 6 year old girls to sew. After watching them tackle another craft (bead pets), my DD and I both decided they need to develop their fine motor skills a bit more, before handling a sewing machine. As Dayle suggested, it'd probably be best to introduce the younger children to something simpler, first. A year can make a world of difference, as far as fine motor skills are concerned. Some children develop very early, some not. It's an individual thing and has nothing to do with intelligence.

Have fun!
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:48 PM
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I just finished a week teaching at a 4H sponsored beginner's sewing camp- 3 hours Monday thru Friday. Ages ranged from 8 to 12. The first day we introduced the parts of the sewing machine, gave them a set of 5 papers to stitch on without thread (the last two pages were complex straight and curved lines) and had them stitch on a paper pattern with two fabrics right sides together to make a small star pillow to stuff. Then they moved on to a tote bag, 9 patch pillow, and pajama pants. Every child completed all of the basic projects. Those who quickly caught on were able to complete purses, more 9 patch pillows, a T-shirt bolero, and pillows in the shape of letters. The last day was a "fashion show" with relatives in attendance and the kids each got up to talk about their projects. There were 16 kids and 7 teachers....the younger ones really need the one-on-one instruction. I was absolutely exhausted by the end of my shift but seeing the pride as each project was completed sure brightened my day.
The intermediate sewers made 3 tiered skirts and purses to match...absolutely darling.
If you can, I suggest you make kits for the first couple of projects. Then the kids can focus on mastering the sewing machine and not have to deal with pinning, cutting and dealing with a pattern
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:00 PM
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I started learnin' embroidery at age 4. I don't think that I ever finished those ducks, but my DM bought me new embroidery things ta do regularly. At age 12 I could out stitch her. I remember embroidering, quit a difficult design w/ mushrooms, butterfly's, flowers, ect..., onto the back of a shirt. At about age 7 DM bought me toy sewin' machine & I made doll clothes. I made my first dress at age 10.
What I'm saying is keep givin' 'em things ta do! They will soon be doing quit well.
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:01 PM
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Be sure you have plenty of adult help. My guild does beginner classes for girls but we learned real quick the ones under 10 are not focused enough and try our patience. We voted not to do classes for anyone under 10 after the second time with them. LOL. We do the magic pillowcases and the one yard tote pattern for beginner classes. Nine patch for the second beginner class.
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:37 PM
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Some of my memories of first learning to hand embroider was making kitchen towels and hankerchefs.
My mom would iron on the design and taught me the basic stitches. If a mistake was made it reqlly didn't matter, it was going to be used to dry dishes and get laundered many, many times.
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:56 PM
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I am teaching my granddaughter and her friend, aged 11 to sew. We started out with pillow cases. Then they made mug rugs. Next my granddaughter made pajamas while her friend made a dress with a zipper. I really enjoyed working with them.
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