One of the most rewarding things I have done in my life is teach my children to sew. Early on, they showed a great interest in sewing and wanting to do what mommy was doing. I tried to nurture their curiosity while also trying to keep them safe. There are so many benefits to sewing that I was eager to get them started too.
One of the questions that gets asked a lot is:
How young can you start teaching a child to sew?
This is a tough one, but my belief is that you can start teaching them to sew when they start to show an interest in it. However, it really does depend on your child and how coordinated they are with their hands. I started with my children when they were around 4 ½ years old. They used their first sewing machine at 5 ½. You absolutely must supervise them when they are this age though. Kids can do unpredictable things so you need to be there to help, guide and teach. This will increase their confidence, skills and keep them safe.
After I showed them how a sewing machine operates and showed the sewing needle moving up and down on the fabric they were quite nervous about getting their hands anywhere near the needle.
Therefore, I had them control the pedal first. As I pushed the fabric through the machine, I instructed them to either “start” or “stop” pressing on the pedal. This got them used to the speed and control of the foot pedal without putting them in harm’s way. Both of my children really enjoyed this and felt involved in my projects. It only took them a few times to feel comfortable enough to take control.
A Note About Kids Sewing Machines
Please, please, please do not buy one of those toy sewing machines. If you’re goal is to waste your money and frustrate your child, then by all means get one. If however, you want your child to love sewing and learn in a frustration-free environment, then stay away from these machines.
There are so many inexpensive sewing machines that are perfect for your child that you should never have to use a toy one. You can get a decent beginner sewing machine for well under $100 and get an amazing one for $150. There are many Brother sewing machines for kids that are around $70 and are perfect for beginners. You can find a bunch of good reviews and inexpensive options at www.bestsewingmachineforkids.com that will help you make your decision.
When kids start out they move slowly. So be patient, don’t rush them and let them gain some confidence. You actually won’t believe how slowly my children went. It took all of my will power to not push the fabric through the machine myself. With a little practice they were moving at a much more bearable pace.
Give Them Freedom to Choose
Let them choose everything they want to use in their project. The fabric, thread, pattern, etc. All of the freedom you give them allows them to expand their creativity. Who cares if it doesn’t look very nice when they are finished? I guarantee you they will love it anyways and have fun doing it. The only thing you shouldn’t let them start with is an overly-complicated pattern. There are so many simple sewing projects out there for them to choose from that you shouldn’t have any problem finding something they will enjoy and learn from.
That Thing Again??
You’ll find that your child will want to make the same things over and over again. Don’t let this discourage you. By repeating the skills to make one thing, they are perfecting their technique and you will see them improve quickly. Does it matter that you have 25 pillows for their favorite doll? ☺
Once they gain more confidence, they will want to do something more complicated or something different. Be patient and let your child explore sewing at their own pace.
It doesn’t matter that what your child creates isn’t perfect. What’s important is that everyone is having fun. If they enjoy it, they will continue to sew and eventually want to do more wonderful and creative things. Enjoy this time with your child. They are only this age once and time flies.