Well we just picked up a starter sewing machine for our 8 year old future fashion designer… WHat would you suggest in getting for her to practice with some basic patterns or just material to work on the different stiching.. We also hav aquired an older Kenmore/sears machine from my grandmother tha we just cleaned up so we hope to be learning this as a family… let us know… Z
A little talk at the beginning about safety would be a good idea. And then I would start her, not with actual sewing, but with practicing following lines on paper without thread or bobbin in the machine. This will have her learning control with speed and accuracy in following curves, edges, and straight lines.
The next thing would be to "play" with the machine with scraps of fabric, this time with the machine threaded. Teach her to thread the machine and to fill the bobbin. You will be surprised what she will come up with.
You don't say if you yourself sew. If you do not, it would be helpful to enroll yourself and your daughter in a mother/daughter sewing class if this is available to you. There are also children's sewing classes and I believe they can learn a lot from the experts there (something like learning to drive!).
That's how I learned to have some control over the machine: by "sewing" designs drawn on paper.
You know The Bishop Method of Clothing Construction by Edna Bryte Bishop is a little dated, but still the most clear and useful book I've ever used. We still dp need aprons, little tops, and skirts. Gail
If you purchased your machine from a dealer take advantage of their classes on using the machine. You could also check with your county Extension Service to see if there is a 4-H sewing club or if they have any sewing classes offered. Some states have Master Clothing Volunteer or similar groups within the Extension Service who teach sewing classes.
When I learnt to sew, I just jumped right in. Didn't know I was suppose to practise on paper ect and likely wouldn't have done it anyway. However to each their own and all that stuff.
My granddaughter was way too antsy to practice on anything that wasn't what she thought was "real" sewing.
We got some of the fabric that is pre-sheered with elastic; the kind that you put in one seam and wear it as a summer dress or top or skirt. It was very simple and quick, but good for the basics...threading the machine, winding and setting the bobbin, needle positioning, stitch type and length, etc. And it gave her immediate gratification (which most kids seem to need these days), so she didn't lose interest before she got started good.
Hope ya'll have fun! My mom didn't sew so I got my first machine and pattern in 1960. The pattern came from a newspaper: tissue, holes for darts, and minimum instructions; the dress turned out awful, but I wore it to church (much to Mom's dismay). I have improved some since then.
In addition to the suggestions already mentioned, I use dot-to-dot pictures from colouring books to parctice on. It's lots more fun than straight lines on a paper and a great way to practice turning corners. I use it in my kids sewing classes and my adult classes - even they have fun with it. The only time it was ever a problem was when I used an alphabetical dot-to-dot in an English-as-a-Second-language / sewing class! They didn't know the alphabet (Polish and Cambodian) so we had an alphabet class along with the sewing.
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