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sewing machine for a child

marijke | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

When discussing what she wants for her birthday, my daughter, who will turn six soon, told me she wants a sewing machine.  She sew one of those toy ones in a catalog.  I’m inclined to have her wait a year or two and then get her a basic sewing machine from a decent brand.  My question:

— At what age would you start to teach a child to sew?  My kids have done some stitching on my machine, sitting on my lap or standing right in front of me.  They recently made a small doll pillow and I let them use the foot pedal themselves.

— Are those toy sewing machines any good?  Or would it be better to have my kids use a regular machine?

Thanks for your input.


  1. SkiNsew | | #1

    I think the toy machines are a waste of money.  They work terrible and would destroy anyone's interest in sewing.  I suggest letting her use your machine or getting her a low end mechanical machine.  I gave my 6 year old granddaughter my old machine and she is able to handle it with adult supervision.


  2. mimi | | #2

    I was 9 or 10 when I first took lessons, but my aunt would let me sew simple things under her supervision at about age 7.  I let my daughter sew by herself (with a little help) at age 6.  Don't waste your money on toys, see if your local stores have any used machines that they would recommend.

    Another sewer is born, wonderful!!


  3. mem | | #3

    I agree about the toy ones They are a travesty to any young lady wanting to produce a set in slleve for her barby doll dresses NOW! That was me 40 odd years ago. My mother recently bought my niece a simple Janome sewing machine with speed control and I have been teaching her to sew on it. She is 1-0 years old and is doing well . Last time I saw her we made her a skirt . Its great to use the smae pattern again and agin as learning gets consolidated.

    I wonder whether at 6 years of age she would have the neurological control to handle a machine .Afterall handwriting is a similarly challenging activity at that age . I think that if she can write well and is advanced in that respect then go for it . Otherwise I think learning runnning stitch by hand  would be a good start.My niece who just loves to sew even though she actually has no one living nearby who is much help to her , started with a cushion which she made up and made simple appliques out of felt and other fabrics cut on the cross. Her picture was a kite with each of the tail flags made of different fabric .This is still one of her treasured items and was made entirely by her and by hand .I bought her a bsaic embroidery stitches book and she reads well and apparently often gets out her scrap bag and makes up little embroidered bags etc.

    She has a whole book full of fashion drwings complete with possible accessories etc. She must have a genetic predispostion as it certainly isnt environment.Teaching her is very rewarding and I thoroughly enjoy it.


    1. marijke | | #4

      Thanks for the suggestions!  That confirms my suspicions about the toy machines. 

      Good point also about the fine motor skills.  She can write some nice letters, but it still takes effort.  She's done some simple projects with precut felt shapes, but it might be worth having her cut some shapes herself and sew or (raw edge) applique them.  

      Thanks to all for the suggestions.

      1. midnitesewer | | #5

        What a nice story.  Your niece will have some very nice memories to look back on when she is older. My aunt taught me some hand stitching and let me "help" her sew when I was around age 6. She made my sister and me lots of cute matching outfits. She got married and moved away when I was about 7. We share a love of sewing and crafting now.

         I recently bought a lightweight Sears Kenmore (possibly made by Janome) mechanical machine for travel. It only weighs 11 pounds and is 3/4 the size of a regular machine.  It  cost $80 and so far works well. I was surprised at how quietly it sews. I wanted the convenience of snap on feet, so I spent $10 at a dealership to get a new "ankle". Now I can use snap on feet or the screw on ones that came with the machine. Let us know what you decide.

        This is the one I bought


        This one is a Janome/Harmony


        Edited 9/12/2005 6:07 pm ET by midnitesewer

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