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Teaching Children to Sew

Dragana2 | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hello sewing friends,

My 6 year old is keen to learn how to sew. I have heard of books published on “teaching children to sew”. Does anyone know best place to get them? author and title would be great.

and have Threads ever run an article on such a topic? what issue?

thank you.




  1. lilah | | #1

    I've seen one book about teaching children to sew.  I looked at some of the pages and there were excercises like having the child sew along a dotted line to get comfortable with operating a sewing machine (unthreaded at first).  The excercise started with following a straight line, then gentle curves and finally a spiral shape.  I think this might be good if you make a lot of copies so the child doesn't get frustrated.  There were also some handsewing ideas, but I haven't seen the book for several years now and my memory is foggy at best.

  2. ChloeSpring | | #2

    I have twin nieces that are 6 years old. We spend a lot of time together and I have been sewing for them and around them all their lives. Two years ago, I bought a couple of books by Winky Cherry, "My First Sewing Book:Straight Stitching" and "My First Sewing Book:Hand Sewing." Of course, my intention was to use these books to teach the girls to sew. So far, the books have remained on the shelf and the girls have been learning to sew by watching and doing. They get frustrated so easily, that I've given up on "lessons," and just let them help me when I'm doing something and they're in the mood.

    When I hand sew, they often sit in my lap or in a chair next to me at the table and we take turns stitching something up. A month or so ago, we cut up a foam chair pad and covered it with fabric to use as beds for their "babies." Now they want to make sheets, pillows, etc. to go with it.

    Friday, they spent the night and we cut out dresses (simple A-line pattern) and sewed them on the machine. I cut and sewed the neckline and armholes and they did the side seams and hems. I assured them when they were cutting that it's very difficult to cut that long straight line correctly. I told them to use the paper as a guide and make as straight a line as possible. Then I explained the importance of pinning the pieces together before sewing (especially when the cut line isn't very straight). I guided the fabric and they used the foot pedal (after a serious talk about how the machine could be damaged if they sewed over a pin and the needle hit it and how much it would hurt if they sewed my finger). They both promised to remove their foot as soon as I said stop and I promised to move my fingers out of the way if for some reason they didn't do it fast enough. (One of them was so concerned she didn't want to try until I promised to move my fingers.) I also explained that we could always take the seam out and do it over if something went wrong. They were sooo proud of themselves.

    My mother taught me to use the sewing machine the summer between first and second grade - I was 6. I know how good it feels to be able to do something like this. One of the first things I did without my mother standing next to me was "fix" the pocket on my father's shirt. (He was a carpenter and used his shirt pockets for pencils and nails.) When I asked Mom how to fix it she said, "Here's some fabric and here's the shirt. You can do this." Then she went out into the garden. I made the patch the same width as the pocket and the same length as the shirt. He would have had to take the shirt off and turn the pocket inside out to get his pencil out of it, but he wore that shirt until it wore out.  I remember him telling my mother that the guys at work wanted to know what that thing on his shirt was. He told them that his "baby girl" fixed his pocket and he was very proud of it and her. I'll be 52 soon and it still brings a smile to my face. I wonder if my mother made a seam across the "pocket" where it should have ended.  It's something I've done with the girls when their stitches didn't go thru both pieces of the fabric. They'll get better with practice, just like we all do and in the mean time, I don't want them to get frustrated and stop trying.

    Let me know if you find any good books for teaching children to sew. Maybe I'll actually read these two now and see what Winky Cherry has to say. :-) 

  3. fuzzer | | #3

    I'm also teaching the grandkids.  We sewed a very simple poncho.  We all hunt so it was out of camo fabric.  Now we're doing pillow tops.  If there is a quilt shop around I know that there are books for children to make quilts.  Good luck.  I think the most important thing is to not let them get discouraged.  Have fun.

  4. mygaley | | #4

    Two of the important days in my life was when my granddaughters asked me to teach them to sew.  The oldest one was then 8, and I purchased My first machine sewing book, straight stitching.  This book comes with a kit and as I was buying mail order and I am very particular about giving children excellent tools, I did not order the kit. When I had the book in my hands I then purchased/stash-shopped to provide what she needed to do every project in the book and a clear container big enough to keep it all in.  I also included some fun trims, buttons, iron-ons, etc., and made multiple copies of the stitching practice pages.  This particular dgd is very scientific minded and considered it a challenge to "conquer" the stitching practice alone.  I went over the machine threading diagram with her until she was confident about that and we posted a large sign that said PFU!  This was her birthday gift from me in July and at Christmas time she was very proud to have her own-sewn gifts and ornaments to give out.  She is very competitive and finished every project in the book.

    What I liked about this book was everything was clearly illustrated so she could work with minimal assistance and every project in it was worthwhile to a girl of her age--no aprons or dishtowels, ugh.  Since then she has sewn some accessories, some decor items for her room, and done some mending.  The best thing about our work together is now if she wants to hem or mend or even sew a garment, she has the freedom to do it, because she knows how.  God bless you as you work with your child--knowledge always means freedom.  Galey


    1. Dragana2 | | #5

      Thank you all for so much advice. I am really keen to get going with teaching my 6 year old. I will inform you of our progress.

  5. midnitesewer | | #6

    There is a show called Sew Young Sew Fun on PBS. It is geared to young sewers. Sue Hausmann (sp) is involved in producing the show. I like watching it and learn new things or see new products. Companion books are available at the website.



    Years ago I saw a book for young sewers written by Nancy Zieman. It may be available on her website. http://www.nancysnotions.com

    Good luck. Your child will cherish the memories of learning to sew. You may be getting a very special "sewing buddy" for life. I still remember learning a few techniques from my aunt before she moved and learning hand sewing from my dad! My sister and I sew together now.

  6. Woody37 | | #7

    What is it with 6 year olds?  When our grandson, Thomas, was 6, he was very curious about the sewing machine.  He cut out a printed fabric soccer ball, sewed around the edges, then it was stuffed and now he uses it as a pillow.  It's the machinery that intriques him and he has a good idea now about how a sewing machine works and he is careful when using it.  As well he happily figured out the vaccum cleaner and pull it around and find bits to clean up.  What a guy!

  7. goatlady | | #8

    You may want to check out bunkhousesewing.com as they have some VERY good books for teaching kids to sew, even one for boys (or tomboys)!  Hope this helps. 

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