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left-handed child wants to learn to sew.

user-203570 | Posted in General Discussion on

My ten year old granddaughter wants me to teach her how to sew.  She is left-handed and I am not sure how to deal with this situation.  Would some of you have any suggestions as to how best help her?




  1. MaryinColorado | | #1

    Good for you wanting to teach her!  I have been teaching my grand daughter and two grandsons on and off when they feel like it.  It seems immediate gratification is a good thing at first.  If they feel as though they can accomplish a finished item fairly quickly, they gain confidence.  Scarves and mittens and small lap quilts are nice.

    My DH (dear hubby) learned everything from his southpaw father.  I will ask him tomorrow for suggestions for you.  He has many stories and fond memories of learning to tie flys for fishing and such.  He still ties his shoes like a lefty and taught our kids and grandkids this, I still can't do it!  It is like a mirror image...Mary

  2. User avater
    Becky-book | | #2

    Dear Constance,

    I am left-handed and will gladly advise.

    Many sewing skills are double handed, you need them both, like feeding cloth through the machine.  My right hand is better at some chores than my left.

    Show your girl how you do things and let her experiment with either hand; like threading a needle, do you hold the thread or the needle in your right hand? it can be done either way.

    When it comes to handstitches, let her sit facing you,(instead of beside you) to watch you handle the needle.  The stitches you do from right to left, she will do from left to right.  ( They say left handed people are the only ones in their Right mind, because the right side of our brain is more developed LOL!!!)

    Shears and scissors can be a problem.  I learned to use right handed ones before left handed ones had been invented!  Lefties can use 'regular shears' by learning how to push where others pull and vice versa, some of the newer high end shears are so well balanced it probably won't matter who uses them, except for the shape of the handles. That nice curve that fits a right hand can be a real pain in a left hand!  I have some pinking shears that have a straight bar type handle, great for right or left hands!

    Hope this helps you get started,


  3. mimi | | #3

    Constance:  I am right handed and my DH is left handed, so tool wise I would suggest scissors by Fiskars.  They are omnidextrous, so the cost is not as prohibitive as buying something that only lefties can use!  Teach her to use an awl to feed (push) the fabric if she is uncomfortable fitting her right hand in the space on the sewing machine.  Put a light source on the left as well as the light provided by the machine on the right so she can clearly see what she is doing.  I seem to remember left handed sewing machines in Home Ec back in the sixties, just basic machines reversed:)

    As for handsewing, let her find what is comfortable.  I sew with either hand, depending on the light source!

    Have fun!


  4. Teaf5 | | #4

    Great suggestions from all the posters!  Here's one more:  any time you are learning something new, you have the opportunity to use whichever hand works best for each part, instead of relying on a lifetime of habit.   Many times, I've wished I were more lefthanded while sewing, as the needle is on that side, and my left arm and hand have more space to move;  sometimes I teach myself to use my left hand for certain tasks so that I can rest my over-used right one.

    A left hander will need to cut out the fabric in the opposite order that a right hander will, keeping the scissors to the left of the pattern piece, but other than that, it shouldn't make much difference.

  5. Beth | | #5

    Quite a few decades ago, I was that left-handed child. From early in life, I have been flexible about handedness. It is a right-handed world, after all. If you help her learn the techniques and allow her to adapt she will adjust to her particular version of handedness.

    I agree about scissors. The soft round handeled ones are comfortable. The ones with a tilted thumb hole are very uncomfortable. Using a sewing machine is not a problem.


    1. mariadelicia | | #6

      I have three left handed daughters and I taught the three of them how to sew.First Iput them in front of me ,like a mirror image and taught them handsewing.There is no prblem with machine sewing.The real problem are scissors,because even if they have rounded handles the blades are in a different position so if you can find them lefthanded scissors are better,if not Fiskars softouch scissors are good.

  6. cat42 | | #7

    My Mom was a leftie and she taught me to sew, knit and crochet. We had one advantage, tho--she had been forced to use her right hand as a child and so could show me the right-handed way if nothing else worked.

    The suggestion of facing each other so that the lefty is doing the mirror-image of the right-handed person's steps worked very well for Mom and me, especially with knitting and crocheting. And also for needlepoint.

    Scissors for cutting are a real problem, not just the way the handles fit. Right-handed scissors have the lower blade to the left, while left-handed scissors have the lower blade to the right. Thus when cutting along the cut-line of a pattern, or when grading seams, if the lefty holds right-handed scissors, the end result may not be as clean. If the lefty holds left-handed scissors, will have to cut the opposite direction than a righty. This is hard to explain.

    1. MaryinColorado | | #8

      Fiskars makes snippers and scissors that are great for either hand.  Also I use rotary cutters alot due to arthritis.  They work great for garment cutting too, not just for quilting!  Mary

  7. SewNancy | | #9

    My left handed son loves his left handed Gingher shears. A good investment.

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