Before teaching children to sew, there are some considerations that should be taken into account. These concerns are pretty much related to the fact that we are dealing with children, so their way of learning is going to be different from the adults.
Firstly, it is important to remember that they have less patience, especially with their parents. So if you are going to teach your children try to schedule short sessions for them not to get bored or impatient and try, as well, to exercise your own patience!
If you are planning to follow a sewing manual, you might have to reduce the number of rules presented. You can simplify them or bring them up when it is necessary. Otherwise, too many rules may make sewing tedious or daunting.
Being the first time, it is better to start with hand sewing to introduce basic concepts for your children such as securing thread, right sides together, what is a seam, undoing mistakes, among others. This would help them understand how to work with a sewing machine later on.
Children can learn this art at any age. However, ages 6-9 might be a great time. They are ready to mastering a new skill, and they are able to think independently. They still play with many toys like a doll, so this could be their first sewing.
As they like dolls, they will be working on something of their interest which is going to make the experience more enjoyable for them. You can start with a simple dress that requires seaming and basic hemming. This idea might develop the basic of garment constructions which will lead to sewing clothes for people.
Children and Parents Labor
At the beginning, you might divide the labor not to overwhelm them and to allow them to concentrate on stitching, so they start feeling confident, and then, they will move on to the other skills. You should try to avoid controlling all the activity, let them try and make mistakes to learn the sewing techniques.
The Sewing Experience
Children are going to be excited and anxious to start sewing their own things, that is why you might try to control the situation and help them get the hang of stitching if it is their first time. After that, you cut out the pattern. They will need to feel comfortable with needles and how to use them.
It is recommended to use a size 1-5 darner needle because they are large enough to make the stitching easier for them. You might use Perle cotton thread instead of the basic one.
Teach them to knot this thread for them to get familiar with the fabric. A double-stranded might secure both ends of the thread into the knot, not letting the needle slide off when they are sewing.
Practicing Hand- Stitching
To start practicing, it would be better to sew two pieces together. At first, there might be some inconsistently sized stitching, and they might have trouble staying close to the edge. But it is natural and part of the learning process.
What you can do is to have them practice getting smaller stitches of equal size. When they master it, they can work on keeping the line straight. To do this, they need to use the needle to do several stitch “bites” at once. It might help to sew straight and to keep the size right.
Cutting the Fabric out
There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to cutting the pattern; you may pin the paper pattern pieces to the fabric, you may copy the model onto freezer paper and iron it onto the fabric, cut and then peel it off or you may trace the pattern pieces onto the fabric.What is more, you might have the fabric folded in two so you are cutting two pieces at once, or you might have the material unfolded, so you only need to cut through one layer.
Choose among these ideas knowing what your children are capable of and what might be easier for them. Consider that for children under 10; it might be better to trace the pattern onto the backside of an unfolded piece of fabric for many reasons:
- There are no pins involved.
- Most patterns are printed on regular paper which might be difficult to pin.
- No ironing needed
- It is easier to cut one layer at a time.
- It preserves better the pattern pieces.
Easy Steps to Make Pattern Pieces
- Use a copier to copy the pattern pieces onto Matte White Sticker Paper. Roughly, cut the pieces out and stick each of them onto white poster board,
- Cut out each piece in the center of the black outlines.
- Have your children trace the shapes onto the backside of the fabric.
- Finally, your children should cut along their traced lines and start sewing the pattern pieces.
Now that you have all the material and steps needed encourage your children to experience and learn this new skill. They will enjoy the process if you are patient and if they are able to create things they like. Give it a try and enjoy with your kids!