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Thread: Teaching children to sew

  1. #1
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    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.

  2. #2
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Pillowcases and aprons are a great start.

  3. #3
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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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.

  4. #4
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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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.

    Dayle

  5. #5
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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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!
    Neesie


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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

  7. #7
    Super Member dublb's Avatar
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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.
    Bev
    My initials are BB, so dublb is double B.

  8. #8
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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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.
    Got fabric?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ccorazone's Avatar
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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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    Super Member franc36's Avatar
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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.

  11. #11
    Senior Member pippi65's Avatar
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    I always started the little ones off with a 9 patch. The pillow case is a great idea. Have fun. I love teaching kids.
    Be kinder than necessary,everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

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    Super Member Marilynsue's Avatar
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    Many years ago, our brownie scout leader had each of us make a simple bread basket liner. We were to give them to our Mom's for Mothers Day and so I did. I still have (and use) that breadliner today, more than 60 years later.
    Every Sunrise brings a blessing

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    I totally that anyone under 10 is probably not ready to sew. I tried with my 7 year GD and she was not ready. I thought she could do a 9 patch by hand. I even marked the seam lines and she still wasn't ready. She did enjoy sewing buttons on scraps of fabric and helping sew a large print stuffed animal. She enjoyed stuffing it. I used to teach 7th graders to sew and believe me it involved lots of sewing without thread on lined paper just to figure out how to follow a line and guide a sewing machine. The 8 th grader after practice could probably handle a pillowcase. We used to do a simple stuffed animal in 7th grade.

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    I have been trying to yeah my 13year old grand daughter to sew, but our problem is that while I live in New Zealand she lives in Western Australia, I have cut out squares for her to sew sent samples etc the other problem is that patch workers use inches, and the children in our schools all learn metric. So we have two problems to over come.

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    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    I taught my Girls with squares and made dresser toppers.
    *Rachel*

  16. #16
    Junior Member helenhiwater's Avatar
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    I learned to sew by making clothes for my dolls. Looking back, they were probably awful, but I loved them. My children started with those simple 3"(?) cross stitch hangers with the stamped designs. Doll quilts and sit-upons would be good.
    every cloud has a silver lining but sometimes it is hard to get to the mint

  17. #17
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilovequilts34 View Post
    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.

    Can you find a really simple purse pattern?
    Bad Spellers of the World
    U N T I E

  18. #18
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mucky View Post
    I totally that anyone under 10 is probably not ready to sew. I tried with my 7 year GD and she was not ready. I thought she could do a 9 patch by hand. I even marked the seam lines and she still wasn't ready. She did enjoy sewing buttons on scraps of fabric and helping sew a large print stuffed animal. She enjoyed stuffing it. I used to teach 7th graders to sew and believe me it involved lots of sewing without thread on lined paper just to figure out how to follow a line and guide a sewing machine. The 8 th grader after practice could probably handle a pillowcase. We used to do a simple stuffed animal in 7th grade.

    LOL, I was making all my own clothes by age 10! A child who wants to learn can begin learning at 3 or 4.
    Bad Spellers of the World
    U N T I E

  19. #19
    Super Member dublb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrannieAnnie View Post
    Can you find a really simple purse pattern?
    What about this one?
    Oops I for got the link.

    Here it is.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpst4...layer_embedded
    Bev
    My initials are BB, so dublb is double B.

  20. #20
    Super Member Nanamoms's Avatar
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    I'm teaching my 5 year old DGD to sew and she is eating it up. Last week, she "cut out" her pillow pattern and did an excellent job of it. This week, I began teaching my 7 year old DGS to sew. With just a few explanations, like how to "read" a 1/4" seam, he sewed his first small strips together. Man, that was the straightest stitching I've ever seen. He operated the foot pedal with machine on slow speed and held his fingers just so. He actually used the 1/4" line on the needle plate. I was quite impressed. He was then ready to move on to making a pillow out of a baseball panel but Mommy came early to pick him up. I am so proud of both of them!!

  21. #21
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    I'm working with our 5 year old granddaughter. I gave her lined notebook paper to 'sew' on first, to get the feel of the machine and to practice sewing straight. She was with me when we went to JoAnn's to get some room-darkening drapery lining. As it was being cut, she asked if can get some material to make a skirt! So we got a piece of green fabric with butterflies and we had to make her skirt as soon as we got home. She sewed all the 'straight' seams after I pinned them and pressed the hem and waistband in place. I threaded the elastic thru the casing. She was so proud of her skirt! The clerk at JoAnn's asked her to please come back in and show them her skirt!

  22. #22
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    I learned how to sew at 8 when I started 4-H. I remember sewing on the lines to get the feel of the machine and being told to sew 5/8" seams because that is what garments have.

    The big bags are the big rage - that is what I would start a beginner w/ making.

    I would be careful w/ the girls on the pajama pants because if the girls are not all avg size - then the pants are going to need altering. - if they're short or tall, crotch length will need to be shortened or lengthened. If they're butt is too big, it'll need to be altered. If they don't fit right, it'll be a disastrous..
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  23. #23
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    Here is a fun project right on this board. I had my 11 year DGD here on the 4th and She sewed this.

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/tutoria...r-t193438.html

  24. #24
    Super Member Nanamoms's Avatar
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    I'm teaching my 5 year old DGD to sew and she is eating it up. Last week, she "cut out" her pillow pattern and did an excellent job of it. This week, I began teaching my 7 year old DGS to sew. With just a few explanations, like how to "read" a 1/4" seam, he sewed his first small strips together. Man, that was the straightest stitching I've ever seen. He operated the foot pedal with machine on slow speed and held his fingers just so. He actually used the 1/4" line on the needle plate. I was quite impressed. He was then ready to move on to making a pillow out of a baseball panel but Mommy came early to pick him up. I am so proud of both of them!!

  25. #25
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    I've taught beginners of all ages. For children remember to plan a simple project with a great appeal and immediate results. Hand sewing isn't going to meet this goal for most children. The best project I've found are the popular "hot dog/burrito" pillowcases to get them "hooked" with instant gratification. There are youtube videos- something they are familiar with. Working with a pre-cut kit I've had even 6 year olds thrilled with their completed project (Spiderman, Little Mermaid, etc fabrics). Depending on their age it might be simplest to have them sew one using a seam guide and an adult helper. At another session start to discuss threading the machine, measuring, seam allowances, etc. They can practice sewing along the lines on a piece of paper. It's wonderful to get them sewing at a young age!

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