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classes for a 14 year old

user-53191 | Posted in General Discussion on

hi all,

i’m looking for classes for my daughter in beginner sewing. unfortunately she wants to begin with very complicated ideas and from someone else i think she will be more willing to start from the beginning.

also, if anyone knows of a “workhorse” machine she can learn on, (and most likely abuse a bit), that would be of great help. i’m a little reluctant to have her use mine as its a bit tempermental. 

she is very much interested in garment design and i’d like to get her started on the right foot. she is 14.


  1. nmog | | #1

    Hello.  I am a junior high sewing teacher, and I frequently have students who want to design and sew intricate garments eventhough they don't know the basics. I get around this by having them pick out a basic pattern (pyjama pants, one shoulder t shirt) , get them to sew it according to the instructions and then add fringe, grommets, trims, rhinestones, etc to make it their own.  That way they learn the basics but feel that they have designed something as well.  In terms of lessons, you may wish to contact sewing machine stores,as they frequently have classes in a variety of areas.  Depending on your city, you may find sewing instructors through your home schooling association.

      There are a number of sewing books out there that talk about embellishing your own clothing.  That may be a place to start for ideas.

    The school I taught at (I'm on maternity leave) had both singer and brother machines.  The new singers were a bit too tempermental, but the older models (5170 I believe) were quite good.  The Brother machines (sergers) stood up to 400 students per year as well.  Good Luck!

  2. JulieP25 | | #2

    See if there is a local shop that offers classes. The above suggestions are great as well. jules

  3. sewhat | | #3

    You might want to check out your local 4-H.  I am currently teaching an intermediate class for them.  I did just start doing this, so I am not a wealth of information, but I know that your daughter can take free sewing lessons, and that they are grouped into different levels of sewing skills.  There are competitions that the young sewers can be involved with.  A young friend of mine, whom I have been giving sewing lessons to, won a new sewing machine with her first entry.  It does give the kids something to strive for beyond just learning how to sew. 

    A thought on a sewing machine for her.  I would recommend going with a computerized model, like the latest model Walmart carries.  I believe it is a Brother PC-8050, but not sure of that model no.  The computerized machine is so much easier to use, and less frustrating, especially for a person new to sewing.  You can purchase one for a fairly low price, from about $230 to $300.  Check out the prices at some of the online stores and E-Bay.

    Edited 11/21/2003 12:11:54 PM ET by ckaya748

    Edited 11/21/2003 12:12:59 PM ET by ckaya748

  4. sabrina | | #4

    I wouldn't be too worried if she stubbornly insists on starting in the middle, biting off more than you think she can chew.  I know personalities vary widely and you might be afraid she'd get discouraged and be turned off sewing forever if her first too-complicated project didn't work out.  But if your daughter is bright and creative, as I'm sure she must be to have ideas and want to learn design and sewing at only 14, it might not be such a bad idea to let her start at not the elementary level.  14 isn't the same as 9.  14 year olds are making lots of very adult choices and juggling very difficult school workloads.  Being forced to starts slow and with the basics might also really bore her and turn her off sewing anyway.  And lots of people who are impatient to start making things they actually would want to wear and be proud of will use a big complicated starter project to learn the skills they need as they go.  It will make your daughter feel great if you show her you are supportive of her decisions to do thing her own way.  And when she has trouble getting things to work out the way she wants, she will care enough about her project (because it is "her" project and not something she was assigned or forced to start out with) to be willing to ask you for help, as a resource she can trust.  This is much better than the frustration she probably feels at being "held back" as it might seem to her.  I started making things at a young age and it's the most discouraging thing in the world to be always hearing "you can't do that, you won't be able to, that's to difficult/complicated for you to handle."  Knowing her mom trusts her and has confidence in her intelligence might make a bigger difference to your relationship (and her attitude toward sewing) than whether or not her first sewing project turns out perfectly or not.  Don't hold her back.  I hope I don't sound preachy.  Of course I don't know much about your situation, but I've been in your daughter's shoes and wanted to share the perspective.  Good luck.


    1. sarahkayla | | #5

      You may want to let her take the lead in choosing a project to work on -  you can be there to uncritically catch her when she falls off -

      "yes.. parts of this project are hard and I will help you where you need it "- may help - also for this age if you explain the reasoning behing the rules.. she may fight you less - also her work may be less fussy than yours, she may tolerate puckers and loose threads in a way that you can't or she may be obsessive about details in a way that you are not - let her be herself and walk out of the room if it drives you crazy....

      above all do not do what my MIL's mother did. She was an accomplished seamstress and worked in the industry. My MIL asked to learn.. her mother let my MIL try to learn for about ten seconds and then said "Go away you will never learn how to sew" MY MIL never did - what a shame.

      I keep telling my kids that errors are just a part of the process.. and that it's ok to mess up. also buy fabric that is wonderful...

      sarah in nyc

  5. sewhat | | #6

    I just finished reading some of the psycho-babble, and got so lost I had to go back and read the original question posed again.

    hlambert, you are right on target about your daughter.  If she wants to learn how to sew, she really needs the basics to get a good foundation.  If she jumps into something over her head, she could easily become disappointed and discouraged, no matter how bright or creative she is.  She can be creative with a first project that is as simple as a pair of drawstring pants or a tote bag, and with a little instruction, she will have success and want to continue learning.

    If you feel she would be more willing to begin at the beginning with someone other than yourself, by all means get her enrolled in some type of class.  I wish she lived close to me, as I would love to teach her.  It can really be a lot of fun at every step of the way.

    Good luck finding an instructional environment where she will thrive. 

    Incidentally, I hope you read my earlier post, as I do highly recommend a computerized machine for her, especially if she wants to get creative.

    Edited 11/23/2003 6:25:12 PM ET by ckaya748

  6. callie1 | | #7

         I started sewing when I was about 6 or 7.  My mom sent me to one sewing class at the local sewing machine shop where I learned to make a pillow and a doll dress.  I've been sewing ever since.  My mom would tell me things like, "zippers are too complicated for you."  Of course this meant that my next project would have to include a zipper.  I was a very creative kid and quickly surpassed my Mom's sewing level.  I always chose the weirdest, hardest patterns I could find and then altered them.  I found that the most important thing with sewing is patience.  Even the most complicated project is only a matter of putting the pieces together. 

        I also remember chopping things up and throwing them in the trash.  I always came back again though.  My mom refused to teach me because I was too stubborn and difficult.  I think a good basic class will give her the starting point to take off on her own.  You can then help her through the rough spots.  At 14 I think she's plenty old enough to figure out her own projects. 

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