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sewing with children

sewphaedra | Posted in General Discussion on

This weekend my daughter–just turned 7–and I were making a fleece boa scarf for her friend’s birthday gift and my daughter decided to try sewing it herself! She has sat on my lap and guided fabric before for her projects, but we discovered she is now tall enough to reach the foot pedal. She was very excited and carefully guided the scarf through. I felt silly to be so proud, but I was beaming.
I want to encourage her, I thought I might ask if she wants to make a vest. Any suggestions for other easy kid-sewing projects?


  1. clairez1 | | #1

    Let your daughter try a pair of flannel pants, they are very easy and she will get a kick out of them, They are also all the rage. Very few seams, and elastic waist, what could be easier, This was the first project i did with my granddaughter, at just about that age. I think we made short, not as much material. Can proberly make her a pr with 1/2 yd

  2. HNYMAMA | | #2

    Pillowcases in some cute prints:)

  3. Tish | | #3

    Dear snappy, when I was a child I had Barbies.  I didn't like them, but people gave them to me.   I made tons of Barbie clothes.  It was the only thing those dolls were good for. 

    My mother let me have unlimited access to the fabric scraps, and I could use any notions or uncut fabric or anything from her button boxes if I asked first and she approved it. It was a good way to begin working with fabric and notions and good practice on the machine.  I began doing hand sewing at about the age of four (my mother's doing) and knitting at about six (ditto) but the doll clothes were first time I ever just took the raw material and created with it. 

    Setting your daughter up with projects is fine, but I don't think there's any substitute for access to materials and freedom to mess around.

    1. sewphaedra | | #4

      I agree, Tish. I remembered that I always loved making things out of scraps best, so a few months ago I gave my daughter an "anything" drawer in my sewing space. I put scraps, trim, buttons, empty soda bottles, spools, yarn, whatever in there and she's been having a blast making things from that. She started hand-sewing some of that stuff so I gave her a little sewing kit of her own.

      Maybe I should just back off and let her lead. She knows I can make almost anything and she does ask when she wants help with a new project.

      1. daynamay | | #5

        what great ideas--my 10 year old likes american girl dolls and wants to learn to sew--we did an apron on my old white bottom of the line sewing machine that is 18 yars old and never been serviced--she wanted to know why is kept jamming!!--well honey--it never did work!--so i bought a brand new sewing machine- computerized and everything and are learning to work it--we are supposed to take a class together to make a polar fleece headband and scarf--but wouldn't you know --the stores in ohio are almsot out of polar fleece --on end of the year specials --and it's on ly the second week of jan!!--joanne's seems to be the only fabric store around--maybe they have more flannel than fleece--she loves her flannel pj bottoms!

  4. Crafty_Manx | | #6

    If she likes to help out in the kitchen as well then see if she'd want to make her own apron.


    1. daynamay | | #7

      that was the first thing we did--that started the whole thing cuz she kept asking why the mahine kept jamming!!--cuz it has always done that honey......so that led to a new machine and new incentive.......so i am glad for new projects --she wants to make aprons for everyone.....thx!

  5. e1ande2mom | | #8

    My 7.5 year old daughter just got a sewing maching from Santa.  She was SO excited.  She is currently working on a set of pillowcases for my mom.

    1. sewphaedra | | #9

      Oh my, she's 7 and she got her own sewing machine? Where does she keep it set up? Does she use it on her own or do you have to be around? What kind of machine?

      I can't imagine giving my daughter her own machine yet! But maybe I should consider it.

      1. e1ande2mom | | #10

        We set it up near mine.  She only sews when I am supervising and is actually quite responsible.  This is a kid that like to go to the fabric store to "hang out".  She got a fairly basic machine, but I am ever so glad Santa sprung for a model with a re-threading gadget.  She can completely thread (and re-thread) it herself.  She also enjoys practicing.  I give her a piece of broadcloth and bright thread.  She likes to make row after row of stitching just to see how even she can get the spacing.

        The most important thing is that she is respectful of the machine and has always taken my safety instructions seriously.

        One more thing... Emily was speechless Christmas morning when she saw her machine.  Actually, she was speechless for quite a while that morning.  This is a child that started talking at 6 months (yes, 6 months) and has not hushed since.  She truely felt honored.

        Janome 415


        Edited 1/11/2003 2:24:14 AM ET by e1ande2mom

        1. stitchmd | | #11

          Your daughter is lucky, she has both the interest and the support for learning to sew. As a kid I had some support from a relative, but not from my parents, so never had my own machine until I was an adult. My kids would have my support, but my daughter has only minimal interest and my son squashed his interest since he thinks sewing is only for girls. You're lucky your daughter has an interest in something you can do together.

  6. Homebody | | #12

    My daughter loves to make warming pads for the body. You just have the child dew 2 pieces of fabric together, 9 inches by 16 inches, leave one side open, (like an open-sided pillow). Fill it with rice and sew closed. Microwave 2 minutes or so to warm and use it to warm their little feet or for aches and pains. This lesson gives them practice in sewing straight stitches, controlling speed and fabric.

    1. daynamay | | #13

      so---does the rice ever cook??!!--can you tell i'm not a cook?

      1. Homebody | | #14

        No the rice does not cook. You are not adding any moisture for it to cook in. You are just heating up dry rice in the microwave. These are sold in lots of stores. You can also fill them with buckwheat hulls or dried cherry pits. Some girl scout troops make them as sewing projects. If you scroll down on The Taunton Gathering Forums, all the way down, you can read the chats about how to make the microwaveable neck pillows. They have been telling me to use Jasmin Rice because it smells nice when it is heated up, although I never smelled a "ricey" smell from the regular rice.  I just bought a basic Viking sewing machine for my daughter. She also loves to buy fleece by the yard, I pin blanket binding on the fleece, and she sews it on and gives these as lap blanket gifts. In the beginning with kids, you just want them to learn the basics of the machine, straight sewing and controlling the fabric, and not to be afraid of the machine itself. Good luck!

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