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sewing lessons

artistic1 | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi Everyone!

I have been asked if I would teach sewing to a few 14 year old girls.I would love to embark on this opportunity. I need some advice however what would I charge for lessons? how long should the lessons be?? when choosing a first sewing pattern any suggestions? I know there are probably many of you who have done this before and I would like some good solid advice. Thanks so much!



  1. starzoe | | #1

    Definitely begin with having the girls become familiar with the sewing machine(s), get them to stitch straight lines, curved lines and around circles without thread on paper It will teach them how to control speed as well as the obvious movements.It is important to start at the very beginning before even thinking about sewing with patterns. Working with patterns should come along once they are familiar with the machine, safety in sewing and use of all the other sewing instruments, scissors, etc., then begin with sewing two squares of fabric together while maintaining seam allowances.Girls of that age pick up things very quickly, if they are motivated.

    Edited 10/6/2009 9:15 pm ET by starzoe

    1. artistic1 | | #2

      Thanks..i was going to start with the basics..notions machine use, different fabrics, and terminology. What would be a reasonable time and price?

      1. starzoe | | #3

        Time in class? At first I wouldn't make it a long time, nothing over an hour. Nice to leave them with some idea, something to look forward to at the next class.As for how much, I have no idea. I have taught my grand-daughters only on their vacations so time was limited. It helped a great deal that their mother bought them a sewing machine of their own so they could "play" with it at other times. At 14 and 12 they can now sew a simple garment, shorts or pjs or skirts without supervision. The elder girl was quite chuffed at school when the Home Ec class made pjs, she and her partner (also knew how to sew) finished the project in the first two weeks while the rest of the class took the whole semester.When you figure the fee don't forget to count in the time you spend on lesson plan, on supplies, on the time spent setting up the class with fabric, etc.

    2. stillsuesew | | #9

      Someone suggested teaching how to thread the machine and wind bobbins. I disagree. Set them up with machines that function right away and then when a bobbin runs out you get them all together and show them how its done. Most machines are basically the same. I did the same with threading and changing needles. After a few days they will each have done this without spending a boring hour on it during the first class. JMHO

  2. lou19 | | #4

    Make lessons  project based. Magazines are full of easy projects and  the ideas look fresh.

    1. Sancin | | #5

      You probably wouldn't use this reference but can give you some ideas http://www.homeschoolradioshows.com/resources/Stitchery.pdf - Fun stuff developed in 1911!I had cut and pasted following information some years ago from another sewing form. I thought it had good ideas. I hope I am not infringing on anyone's copyright but cannot remember where I got it. I have too many bookmarks!!"When I taught sewing classes to children, my course was for 2 weeks - 3 hours a day. On day one, we learned the function of a sewing
      machine - how to thread, wind a bobbin, and trouble-shoot, then we made a scrunchie after sewing straight lines on notebook paper. Day 2 - we learned about fabrics, correct needle size, and thread and then we made a tote bag. Day 3 - we learned about fit and pattern sizes and then we shopped for pattern and appropriate fabric. Day 4 - we cut out pattern and fabric and marked our garment. Day 5 - we made a pair of pajama pants. On week 2 - we made a T-shirt, skirt, and jacket with set in sleeves and front facing, buttonholes and buttons learning new details each day. All of the children used the same pattern and on the last day, the parents were invited to come for a fashion show with refreshments. I played popular music and every hour, we had a 15 minute break so the children could move around. It was successful and the outfits really looked cute. If a child can use a computer, then they can sew is my theory. Each child brought their own sewing machine and basic supplies. I always had extra things on hand for those who "forgot". I used my larger scraps for some of the projects and a furniture store donated fabric samples (18 x 18) for the tote bags. Hope this helps."

  3. stillsuesew | | #6

    When I taught children's classes, I started them with machines that were threaded and ready to go. Nothing is more boring than the home ec classes that spent the first two weeks learning the parts of the machine. Get them sewing after a brief safety introduction, showing them the three things the hand wheel does and how and why to put the presser foot down. We started with a fairly heavy piece of plain fabric and I had them simply sew across it, first straight stitch, then zig zag, trading machines so they got different color threads. Then I drew a disappearing line for them to follow, straight, curved, sharp corners. Just lots of stitching practice. Then we changed the presser feet to a zipper foot and sewed a zipper to the two ends (learning "right sides together" and then sewed the ends to make a bag. The parents response was always "You put in a zipper?!!!"
    I think we charged $25 for a week of classes that lasted for about an hour and a half, so that's about $5 per class with a limit of 6 in the class.

  4. gailete | | #7

    I am almost 54 and STILL remember how boring sewing on paper was to learn to sew straight/curved lines. As the other poster said give them threaded machines (many machines won't sew without thread now--mine won't) and have them sew on fabric scraps. Scrunchies and a tote bag are great ideas and easily accomplished as a first class. Kids aren't dumb and hate being treated dumb even worse. Give them a project that they can use and finish that first day and they will  be motivated to come back. After totes bags, boxer shorts is another good project and then a simple pullover top, then work your way into the tougher stuff of zippers and buttonholes, etc. although with many machines those are easily accomplished things these days. If you have embroidery capability so much the better!

    As to charging, do NOT charge by the class but for a series/group of classes, money up front. You don't want half your class not showing up the next week and so any money owed to you vanishes also. See how much other types of classes are in your area for the same age group and see if you can go with an average of that as it is obvious that is what parents are forking out. Don't enroll more kids that you can personally cope with and have room for unless you want to hire another seamstress to help you.

    1. artistic1 | | #8

      Thanks Gail!!


      I was thinking like a 4 or 6 weeks series. Good point charge up front for the series that way if they miss the class it is at their expense. i am really excited about it b/c I dont have any daughters only sons and always wished I had a girl to share my passion for the arts. I am a painter also. I took sewing and tailoring in high school and remember how excited i was to actually sew something as opposed to the classroom instruction. thanks everyone your input and different perspectives is really appreciated!


      1. decoratrice | | #11

        It's wonderful that you have the opportunity to get the next generation hooked on sewing.  I agree, have the machines ready to go.  Kids now expect to push a button and have something happen, like on their computer.  I have taught twice, and started both times with a trip to a fabric store--isn't that what it's all about?  Maybe a quilt shop and let them choose a fat quarter for a scrunchie.  And purchase the pattern for the boxer shorts and let them take it home--that way they have something to look forward to.  Give them some internet sites to check out, starting with this one.   Interior designers clean out their samples periodically and that is a good source for tote material.  I charged $20 per hour, but it was one on one.  Kids learn amazingly fast and are fearless.  Sewing straight and curved lines on paper probably turned off more sewers than it created!  Good luck! 

        1. User avater
          Thimblefingers | | #12

          I've taught many children's sewing classes from 8 years to High School, both boys and girls. I teach them sewing lines on paper before they get to sew on fabric but with a twist. For straight lines, I use simple mazes and connect-the-dots copied from colouring books. They get to "sew" a bonnet and dress (dot-to-dot) on the first day. For curves, I use colouring book pictures with large very simple pictures. I do this with my adult beginners, too. Everyone loves it! And they learn many skills including turning corners, sewing straight, controlling the fabric (paper), stopping, and controlling their speed.

  5. regatta | | #10

    I teach sewing (with a friend) to Grade 5 children in their lunchtime   We have found it to very helpful to have a ready to start sewing  kit made up for each child, for each project, just at first.

    We found that some go much faster than others.  We started them off with a project that some did in one week and most did in two or three. Of necessity we sew by hand and have 10 and 11 children in the classes on two different days and find that is the absolute maximum as none have done any sewing whatsoever.

    A good pattern that isn't hard is a peasant blouse.


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