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Thread: teaching children?

  1. #1
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    teaching children?

    What is the youngest age you would teach a child to sew on a machine? Do "children's" sewing machines have any special safety features you can't get on a regular machine?

  2. #2
    Super Member klgls's Avatar
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    I'm teaching my 7 year-old grandaughter to sew on my machine (Janome 6600). She is doing fine. One of the first things I stressed was to keep her fingers away from the needle and I'm trying to show her that by example, but I have some very bad habits.

  3. #3
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    A great deal depends upon the maturity and attention span of the child.

  4. #4
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    That would really depend upon the child. My 8 year old (now 19) granddaughter made two quilts using a sewing machine. I too really stressed the importance of keeping her fingers away from the needle. She enjoyed learning and has since purchased her own machine.

  5. #5
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    It depends on the child-how well do they follow directions, motor skills. etc.
    I wouldn't go younger than 5-6 myself. I think 8 is probably a good age to learn. At this age the can focus more and should have experience following instructions. As far a what's sold as a "child's " machine- They usually do a chain stitch only and just frustrate the child. I would rather wait a bit longer till they can use a real machine.

  6. #6
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    ​You might be able to find a needle guard to fit your machine on the net. Someone mentioned them on QB a while ago.

  7. #7
    Super Member leaha's Avatar
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    I have twin girls, age 9 I am teaching a 4H class to, and they used my Pfaff 7570, and are now on my FW221s no problems yet, I make sure fingers are kept away from needle, and that they pay attention while sewing. So far I do the rotary cutting.
    dare to dream

  8. #8
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    i was 8 yrs old when i started sewing...53 now.
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  9. #9
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    I have a child's machine, vintage, that has a guard around the needle. The guard is clear plastic tube that the needle goes up and down in. Perhaps you could fashion one if you cannot find one.

    delma

  10. #10
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I would check into the finger guard. I think it depends on the child.

  11. #11
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    When my Mom taught all of us to sew ..we started out on regular machines... but sewed on paper (no thread) with lines and curves till we got control and coordination with speed control and acuaracy. We had to learn to stop at intersections lift the pressure foot and pivot all get comfortable with the basics of the machine. We all started in about the third grade.
    I loved learning that way .. and moved on to taking pages of my coloring books , "sewing them" , making them all perforated on the lines , then punching out the pieces and glueing them onto another sheet of paper... Guess my mom knew how to keep us busy and teach us something at the same time.

  12. #12
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    my youngest granddaughter was 4 when she made a very special quilt for her daddy (who was deployed & missed terribly!) she used my *walmart special* brother machine-that had speed control- I have found that the kids do great as long as you can slow the speed down on what ever machine they are going to use- also set it up on a table that is *THEIR SIZE* we used her little care bear table & chairs- she did all of her own sewing- we even turned a dresser on it's side for her to stand on so she could quilt it herself with the long arm. every year the pre-school kids make a quilt too---they also use that good ole $89 brother- the speed control is the key.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  13. #13
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    That's how i learned, too. Must have been 8 or 9. No real sewing till i could show i could follow the lines

  14. #14
    Super Member Sierra's Avatar
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    My youngest student has been 7 or 8 (she wanted to make her grandmother a lap quilt for her 90th birthday). I've had 3 children start at that age. I dig out scraps with straight lines and have them practice on my featherweight until they can keep their sewing where it belongs. I have had some start and stop cold with a quilt half done. Wish the mamas would encourage them to continue. But one grandson came back from a year abroad (he was now 15) and came up to where we live to "get in touch with his artistic side again". He made a wonderful quilt for his grandfather on the other side who had had a stroke. It turned out beautiful! Much brighter than I would have done, but when it was done it was really a winner. The family near the grandfather said he hugged it and cried. He lives across the world from us.

    By the way. One way to help a child understand the flexibility and feel of fabric is to give them your smaller scraps for making posters. We had several G-kids with us for several weeks recently and they made a (1) fathers day banner for their grandfather, (2) a "Welcome Daddy" banner for their dad who was coming from Alaska to take them home, and (3) a "Happy 12th Birthday" banner for a cousin who couldn't be here for the 4 weeks but wanted to share her birthday with them (a 3 hour trip each way!). The banners were outstanding! I have a whole lot of 2" squares from water color quilts I did some years ago and they glued those around the edges. Something of which we all were proud!

  15. #15
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    i learned with a heavy piece of foam in the foot pedal so it wouldn't go screaming fast

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all your input. I have a machine with speed control that can go REALLY slow. My grandson is 4 and mature, but not so great at following directions. I like the idea of giving him scraps to glue on paper. Maybe I'll start him there and then let him sew on paper. THANKS

  17. #17
    Super Member Ps 150's Avatar
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    I have a daughter turning 9 this month and one turning 11 next month. Both of them have been sewing on their own Janomes since they were 5. The machines have a button that regulates speed and at the slowest speed, it goes 1 stitch per second. I set their machines next to mine and then we started work on the same project so they could see and do as I did. Before they were 5 I gave them hand sewing projects. I still give them hand sewing projects alongside their machine sewing projects and they have fun. I think it's important to hone a hand sewing skill so they always have that into adulthood. Because we homeschool, I give them sewing lessons throughout the summer as part of their home economics class.
    "Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove."

  18. #18
    Super Member dellareya's Avatar
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    I have 2 grandsons that are always interested in watching me use the sewing machine. They would stand right next to me and watch every move I made. Finally one day I let the 7 year old give it a try. I changed the needle to a very old needle and took out the thread and bobbin. I put it on slow speed and gave him a piece of lined binder paper. His job was to sew on the lines. He went back and forth. I watched him the whole time. He finally mastered the art of staying on the line. Now when I have nice straight sewing to do, I let him do it. He loves it. Now the 4 year grandson wants his chance. I started him on my feather weight following lines. Both boys are very patient and follow my directions carefully. The really enjoy the chance to sew with Nana.
    Last edited by dellareya; 07-10-2013 at 06:33 PM.

  19. #19
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    My grands start by playing with the thread, then embellish tea towels - they pick a fun stitch, thread the machine and sew a line, then do it again. They all get to their own pillow cases at age 7, and at age 9 they get to go to sewing camp for a week. Any time they come up they get to sew if they want to. One granddaughter made a quilt when she was 7. I have an 11 year old that made pajama pants, an apron, and a cool bag to take to school this year. Last year she made aprons for others for Christmas. I always have projects cut out and ready for them to sew on. They all love to sew, even the boys.

  20. #20
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    As far as hand sewing goes, I have found that doing plastic canvas is a good way to start. The needle is big and not sharp. The stiffness of the canvas helps with control.

  21. #21
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    My feeling is if they are interested they are ready. If the attention span is five minutes then deal with it in short spurts. And let them just "help" you to begin with.

    I remember sitting on my moms lap at the sewing machine when I was probably about 4 years old "helping" hem dish towels for my grandmother. Then I eventually graduated to using a needle and thread to hand stitch doll clothes for the precursor to Barbie.

    When I was 13 I made my first garment for myself, a pair of Bermuda shorts. The zipper wasn't done exactly right and they were a bit too big but I wore them around the house all summer.

    By the time I was in college I was making about half my clothes. And anything that was for a special occasion.

    Wish I had been a bit more patient when DD was initially trying to sew as a young teen. I think I discouraged her unintentionally, criticizing her crooked seams.

    She's beginning to show interest again and I got her a machine for Christmas. She hasn't really used it yet, but its there when she wants to use it.

    Am thinking about ways to let DGS become more involved than just picking out fabric, which he has been doing for awhile. He is very observant and knows pretty much how things are supposed to be done but also very short attention span.

  22. #22
    Super Member kiffie2413's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori S View Post
    When my Mom taught all of us to sew ..we started out on regular machines... but sewed on paper (no thread) with lines and curves till we got control and coordination with speed control and acuaracy. We had to learn to stop at intersections lift the pressure foot and pivot all get comfortable with the basics of the machine. We all started in about the third grade.
    I loved learning that way .. and moved on to taking pages of my coloring books , "sewing them" , making them all perforated on the lines , then punching out the pieces and glueing them onto another sheet of paper... Guess my mom knew how to keep us busy and teach us something at the same time.
    Great ideas!
    K
    Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest~Mark Twain

  23. #23
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    One of my nephews helped me make a quilt at 5.5. Another nephew and niece started at 7 and 8. Go for it!

  24. #24
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    I have used the children sewing machines with children aged7-8 but it was too slow.
    I did allow my young nephew at 4/5 use my brother sewing machine to sew on. I had just purchased the machine and he had stood very quietly and listened to all the information. Because it has a speed control I set at slow,.he also used to sew his quilt . Although I did most he did have ago. And sewing in the ditch.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  25. #25
    Power Poster Annaquilts's Avatar
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    These bigger machines are great to teach children on because you can set the speed. also the foot doesn't seem to lift as high as compared to a Feather Weight. I always worry about running over a finger with the needle.

    My youngest to learn to sew was 3. She sat on my lap and chained sewed 2 1/2 inch squares together on a bigger Janome embroidery machine. The speed was set at slow and I pushed the pedal. She is now 16 and is an avid crafter and quilter. One of my oldest children to learn is 15. she came to be my daughter at 11 and just had not had the opportunities to learn to sew or craft. She is now some what challenged with crafts, arts and sewing. I think it is partially her personality and her lack of opportunities when she was younger.

    I know my mom let her children play sew on her Pfaff from the 60 ies. That is how I learned at about 8-10 yrs old..

    Quote Originally Posted by klgls View Post
    I'm teaching my 7 year-old grandaughter to sew on my machine (Janome 6600). She is doing fine. One of the first things I stressed was to keep her fingers away from the needle and I'm trying to show her that by example, but I have some very bad habits.
    Anna Quilts

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