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Thread: what is too young?

  1. #1
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    My DD loves to help mommy sew and cut fabric and use the sewing machine. She is always wanting to do it on her own though. She is getting good at the sicssors and using a needle, but is she really too young to be doing more than just "playing" with them? she is only 2 1/2. (I got those lacing boards with string to help her get the idea of put the thread threw the hole and pull it out the other side) Is there a good way that I can teach her how to hand sew and use the machine? ( I am new to quilting and don't know a lot myself.) And when I get her her own sewing machine what is a good age to do that at? I was figuring probably between 6-8 years old, depending on maturity and how much interest she has at that point.

  2. #2
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    How adept is she at other things?

    My daughter's third-born was very adept at physical things at that age.

    Maybe when she is able to operate the controls?

    Better to show her so she does it right, than to have her "experiment" on her own.

    Give her some squares that are "good enough to keep" (but not so expensive that it would really hurt to not be able to use them) and see what happens.

    Sometimes kids totally amaze me at what they can do.

  3. #3
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    I have given her needle and thread and two squares of fabric to "practice" sewing on. she had trouble pulling the needle through the fabric and she would just randomly insert the needle. I was going to try and draw lines with a pen for her to follow. looking for very cheep light colored fabric to do this with however.
    She is able to use the remote control on the TV and loves to push buttons and everything. She also gets a kick out of stepping on the foot peddle and making the needle go up and down real fast. or slow.

  4. #4
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    lines might help. If I plan to do any hand-piecing, I draw lines on the fabric.

    how about unthreading the machine needle and let her make holes in paper now and then - when she has been very very good?

  5. #5
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
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    Two things I have done with my daughter, who is 4:

    I bought some plastic canvas and let her practice sewing with yarn and a blunt needle.

    Also, I cut cookie cutter type shapes out of felt and made dots around the edges to show where to sew. Put two shapes together, sew together, leaving a gap, and stuff. She did really good at that, actually.

    I've found she has a short attention span, and after it is exhausted, she's going to do things deliberately wrong just to get my attention, so when she starts making mistakes I just put the sewing away.

    I haven't let my daughter use the machine at all yet. I know she's not ready to give it the sustained attention it would require.

  6. #6
    Super Member GrammaNan's Avatar
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    That's a tough question. She is very young but you want to encourage her curiosity. Can you find her a toy sewing machine to encourage her but not put her in danger? At her age, instead of getting a poke in the finger like us big girls, it could really damage her tiny fingers. Let her help you pick out fabric and hold her in your lap as you sew. If she can control the pedal, put the pedal on a stool and let her press it when you sew. I love that she is interested and that you are doing your best to encourage her. Best wishes to both of you!!!

  7. #7
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    My dd was 18 months old when she said, "Uppy mommy, my do." So I sat her on my lap and held her hand while she guided the fabric through the machine. She has a thin blanket that she hemmed and a polar fleece robe that she sewed. I was 3 when my sister piled encyclopedias on the sewing chair, sat me on them and said, "Don't tell mommy you're sewing on her machine because she'll think you're too little and we know you're not." My sister was 11 or 12 at the time and knew how to sew on the machine. I did too after a couple of hours. She even taught me how to wind a bobbin, put it in, thread the machine and the needle. So, IMHO, if she wants to learn, teach her. Before I went to kindergarten my oldest sister had taught me to sew on mom's machine, my mother had taught me to hand piece, grandma taught me to crochet, and my older twin sister's had taught me to embroider---I still have my two sets of pillow cases that were made before I turned 5.

  8. #8
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
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    My grandma taught me how to sew, she sat me on her lap to start with and she operated the pedal and helped me guide the fabric thru. I still remember the day I was big enough to operate the pedal. I did the same thing with my daughter putting the machine on slow. (She is not a seamstress but does know the basic skills!!)

    As far as hand sewing she taught me the correct way to do the basic running stitch at an early age and let me make my own mistakes. I did prick my fingers a good many times!!

    So the moral is: teach her the right way to do things but keep a close eye on her!

  9. #9
    Quilting Di's Avatar
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    When you do decide to get her a sewing machine, don't make it one of those cheapie ones. I bought my, then 5-year old granddaughter a $39 machine at Meijer. It really gives them no idea of how a machine works. It is loud, clunky and hard to control flow of fabric. I will teach her on my oldest Pfaff. Right now we are working on loom "knitting" of hats and scarves for all her family and girl cousins for Christmas.

  10. #10
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sahm4605
    I have given her needle and thread and two squares of fabric to "practice" sewing on. she had trouble pulling the needle through the fabric and she would just randomly insert the needle. I was going to try and draw lines with a pen for her to follow. looking for very cheep light colored fabric to do this with however.
    She is able to use the remote control on the TV and loves to push buttons and everything. She also gets a kick out of stepping on the foot peddle and making the needle go up and down real fast. or slow.
    But putting the needle in and out of a specific spot is different than the remote. Give her another 6 months or so. In the meantime, get some of that plastic needlepoint canvas, a large plastic needle and some yarn. She can practice with that without hurting herself and you don't have to watch her every second. I got my DGD a sewing machine at 5 and she actually did quite well, she is now 12 and would rather horseback ride and do all things outside. My other DGD is 9 and last summer made herself a skirt almost by herself. This summer she made a purse. And she can use the embroidery machine unattended. They all progress at different paces.

  11. #11
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I put kids on my lap, they put their hands on mine and we sew away :D I control the foot pedal.
    Two yrs old and up, for as long as their attention span lasted. It is fun for both of us :D:D:D
    When they can show me, that they are VERY safety conscious, then I will let them sew on their own.

  12. #12
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I got my DGD a Jamone Sew Mini when she was almost 5. It sews a little slower than a big machine but she can thread it and wind the bobbin. It sews just like my "big one". She has her own little table to sit at when she sews.

  13. #13
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    Your story almost made me cry. I would have loved for my mom to get me started. She knew how to so but was a very poor teacher. Even when I was in 4th grade she would have sooner slapped me across the face. I learned to sew when I went to high school. Those days all girls had to take home economics. I learned fast and have been sewing ever since.

    Now I have several machines. My favorite is my Bernina. It's also an embroidery machine.

    I had to teach my self to quilt and it has turned into nothing but love for me. I love to retreat to my sewing room sometimes I just sit and look at my fabric and go though some books or magazines. I was lucky enough to get some of my older sister's fabric and books when she passed away at the age of 63. I feel so close to her when I'm in there and my learning is getting better and I know it's because she is with me.

    Just felt the need to vent.

    Good evening to all.
    dean's wife a.k.a. Karol

  14. #14
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    My DD never wanted to sew but my DGD loves it! When she was about two and a half I took the needle out of my machine and put the pedal on a stool and she was off and running. She learned how to control the speed sooner then I thought she would. She also learned how to guide the fabric straight all without a needle to hurt her. She loved doing her sewing. I let her pick what fabric she wanted to sew. She loved all fabric with dots and stars.

  15. #15
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Forgot to say when she was 6 I bought her a Janome Gem Gold portable machine. When she was 10 she asked for the 3/4 size Hello Kitty machine. I thought well, when she gets older the Hello Kitty machines will probably be a collectors item that most will remember having. The 3/4 size Hello Kitty is a real machine, made by Janome. There are toy Hello Kitty machines which are 1/2 size.

  16. #16
    bertadel's Avatar
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    That's awesome!
    Quote Originally Posted by raptureready
    My dd was 18 months old when she said, "Uppy mommy, my do." So I sat her on my lap and held her hand while she guided the fabric through the machine. She has a thin blanket that she hemmed and a polar fleece robe that she sewed. I was 3 when my sister piled encyclopedias on the sewing chair, sat me on them and said, "Don't tell mommy you're sewing on her machine because she'll think you're too little and we know you're not." My sister was 11 or 12 at the time and knew how to sew on the machine. I did too after a couple of hours. She even taught me how to wind a bobbin, put it in, thread the machine and the needle. So, IMHO, if she wants to learn, teach her. Before I went to kindergarten my oldest sister had taught me to sew on mom's machine, my mother had taught me to hand piece, grandma taught me to crochet, and my older twin sister's had taught me to embroider---I still have my two sets of pillow cases that were made before I turned 5.

  17. #17
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    I'm starting my DGD (age 3-1/2) out by watching me and explaining what this and that does. So far she knows what a hem is and knows what a jump stitch (on the emb machine) is. I will sit her in my lap to watch.

    I think pretty soon I will let her sew with me guiding her and working the pedal too.

    Her daddy's birthday is Aug 31st so maybe we will make him something??

    Any suggestions on what?

  18. #18
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    My grand daughter is 3. She just started her first doll quilt on her little Janome.Its all crooked but I am proud of her and she was so tickled. I am more concerned with her learning to opertate the machine than get seams right,and she is well on her way...
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  19. #19
    Senior Member stefanib123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dean's wife
    Your story almost made me cry. I would have loved for my mom to get me started. She knew how to so but was a very poor teacher. Even when I was in 4th grade she would have sooner slapped me across the face. I learned to sew when I went to high school. Those days all girls had to take home economics. I learned fast and have been sewing ever since.

    Now I have several machines. My favorite is my Bernina. It's also an embroidery machine.

    I had to teach my self to quilt and it has turned into nothing but love for me. I love to retreat to my sewing room sometimes I just sit and look at my fabric and go though some books or magazines. I was lucky enough to get some of my older sister's fabric and books when she passed away at the age of 63. I feel so close to her when I'm in there and my learning is getting better and I know it's because she is with me.

    Just felt the need to vent.

    Good evening to all.
    dean's wife a.k.a. Karol
    And YOUR story almost made ME cry! I'm sorry your mother was like that.

    I'm glad you have your quilting now. Especially with the memories of your sister. Maybe those memories can outweigh the bad ones of your mother?

  20. #20
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    Your right. The memories of my sister do get me through.

    Thank you so much for the reinforcement. Some time we all need a little kick.
    Karol

  21. #21
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    My daughter was 6 when she used my machine for the first time. She wanted to use it several years before tht but I made her wait. She sat on my lap while I did things. She is now 12 and has made 10 quilts.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Diannia's Avatar
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    I bought my granddaughter (4yrs) a felt sewing project at Joann's. It has prepunched holes in the felt and she made a cute tooth pillow. I had to help her remember to go up or down sometimes and had to pull out a few stitches but she got the hang of it. I think we sat down 3 or 4 different times for 10 to 15 minutes each time. That's about all her attention span and frustration level would handle but she was very happy with it when done. I have since picked up a couple more kits and put away for Christmas.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Diannia's Avatar
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    Another thing I've done for 2 of my granddaughter's (same 1 and her little sister that's almost 3) is a got them each a display board (one of those project display boards that folds up into 3rds) and covered them with a vinyl/felted tablecloth. Now they each have a design wall of their own. I give them scraps and they go to town sticking them onto their design wall. When done I just fold them up and put them behind my cabinet. The older one (4 yr) had designed her own doll quilt. I gave her 6" squares and let her lay them out how she wanted them on my design wall. Then she sat in my lap and helped me sew them. I had my hands on the fabric first and her hands on top of mine. After she got comfortable with that we switched and my hands were on top of hers. Finally she held the fabric and I kept my hands close but not touching. During all of this I had my machine on it's slowest setting and I ran the foot pedal. She picked out the borders and the backing. I birthed it and we finished it by her picking out a decorative stitch and we "tied" it w/the decorative stitch on my machine. She then practiced her cutting by trimming the threads between the stitches. This project took us some time as again her attention span was 10-15 minutes at a whack. Sometimes I'd ask her if she wanted me to sew a bit w/o her and if she said yes then I did but mostly we did it together.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Diannia's Avatar
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    I bought a little Janome almost a yr ago and have been thinking of giving it to her for Christmas this year...

  25. #25
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    The Hello Kitty machines are adorable! I almost bought one for myself (just for the cute factor) lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo
    Forgot to say when she was 6 I bought her a Janome Gem Gold portable machine. When she was 10 she asked for the 3/4 size Hello Kitty machine. I thought well, when she gets older the Hello Kitty machines will probably be a collectors item that most will remember having. The 3/4 size Hello Kitty is a real machine, made by Janome. There are toy Hello Kitty machines which are 1/2 size.

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