Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sewing With Kids - A How To

Cheap Flights by House Of Travel

Yesterday while I was sewing a dress for myself, Milla, in 4 year old fashion, asked what age she would be allowed to sew. 

She took me by surprise, and I suggested that she could learn any time. 

And so, capturing the moment, today we sewed up some fabric that I had purchased for her, with the idea of making her and Katie a matching skirt and dress.

My 4 year old is a concentrator and a rule follower, so I knew that she would ace this. My aim wasn't for her to sew the whole skirt herself, but to introduce her to the machine, how it works, and for her to feel respect, and also a healthy fear, towards the needles, pins, scissors etc.

Here are some easy tips on sewing with Little People for the first time::

Sewing with Little People:
  • Keep it simple! A project that can be completed in an hour will bring instant satisfaction, and something they can wear or play with is an added bonus. 
    • Think easy: Skirts, shorts, tote bags, peasant dress, pillow cases, head bands, PJ pants. Are you feeling inspired yet?
  • Have everything you need prepared before you begin, I had my measuring and pattern piece already cut out and ready to go, along with my sewing machine all set up before I even mentioned sewing.
  • If your person is really little, like mine (only 4 years old!) set them up at a smaller table so they can have the joy of pressing the presser foot with their feet!
  • Explain different parts of the machine to them, let them have a go at lifting up the presser foot, doing the back stitch button and the foot pedal. Try them out on a large piece of spare fabric first. 
  • Breathe and encourage. You may suddenly realise just what you have gotten into! 
  • If your Little Person is older and you are leaving all the sewing to them, use little pegs on the edge of the fabric in lieu of pins.
  • Change it up at each step. For one part I asked my daughter to be the presser foot controller, another time she was in charge of back stitching, then she had a go at the foot pedal, another time she helped me feed the fabric through, and then she was in charge of taking out all the pins. 
  • You'll know based on your own child how to keep them interested, safe and learning. 

We made a circle skirt for our Intro to Sewing 101. Milla had a go at all parts of it, and she tells me her favourite was pushing it down with her foot. 

I clued myself up on the Dana Made It Circle Skirt Tutorial so that when it came time to sew, I knew exactly what I was doing. 

The maths (pi and radius, yikes!) checks out, and fits perfectly! 

Instead of using the wide exposed elastic band like in the tutorial, I made a little casing with some extra fabric and the same waist measurements, and used 3/4" elastic inside it. 

To finish it off we used pre-made bias binding along the edge, which I let Milla choose the colour of. She was thrilled to have some choice and control in a process which is completely new to her. 

As binding is quite tricky for little fingers, I pinned it all in place and sewed very slowly around. I noticed half way through that Milla also had her foot on the foot pedal, ever so gently, just feeling for how I was pushing it down. During the binding step, Millas job was to pull each pin out before I sewed over it. 

She was so careful, and was a real delight to work with! 

We will definitely be sewing together again soon. 

Her twirly skirt is SO whirly! She loves it! 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog, your encouragement spurs me on! x



  1. We have been working on a project here these holidays with my 7 yr old (this is probably the third or fourth sewing project with her). I would add
    -don't push them to sew when they don't want to sew.
    -also while sewing dolls clothes sounds like a good idea as a quick project they can be fiddly and so something with straightforward seams is easier.
    -Don't expect perfection.
    -It is quite scary letting them use the sharp scissors or control the sewing machine but sewing with kids is fun.

  2. This is so awesome Sophie! You have been inspiring me since you began sewing *or some time early on!). Now I'm a million miles behind you, but when our days settle a little I'm keen to get into it. What a great mum you are! xxx

  3. What a cool first sewing project! Wow!

  4. Hey Sophie, This is Fab. I am so glad I am not the only person in CHCH who know a 4 year old who wants to sew. I found that using hair clips or quilters clips was better than pins... and great for binding.. Cheers

  5. This is SO cool! I love how she's so into it! LJ wants to have a go, but I think it's more to make the machine roar... So he'll have to wait a little longer.

  6. Sophie you are an excellent Mum - love how you have involved Milla in sewing!!

  7. love the idea of pegs Sophie - you are such a gun and this will always be such a precious thing for you both - a symbol of shared life, creative journeys and success! Well done both of you. Also the photo of her in the middle in the skirt - GORGEOUS!


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