I haven't taught my children to sew. It's horrible I know. I cook with my kids and make art with my kids all the time, but sewing I've always kept for myself. When sew mama sew sent me the book, A Kid's Guide to Sewing, I figured it was high time I started sewing with my kids too.
My daughter picked the backpack charm project in the book. You could choose between making a flower or an ice cream cone. Even though I tried to get her to think of something else (kitty? donut? bike?) she was dead set on the ice cream cone.
All the templates in the book are very sweet and hand drawn, but I urged my daughter to create her own pattern. The book is actually written by an 11-year old (well, her parents helped a lot), which makes all the projects feel much more approachable for a kid--and doable!
Then she cut the pattern out, traced it on felt, and cut out all the felt pieces.
To make the cone look more like a cone, I showed her how to do a simple running stitch. She immediately ran off and came back with a piece of chalk. She wanted to draw lines on the cone to guide her stitching. Turns out that I have been teaching her to sew, if only by sewing when she is around. They pay attention to us much more than we think.
Sitting next to my daughter, watching her embroider an ice cream cone, I realized sewing isn't all that hard. A running stitch is up, down, up, down. A whip stitch is around and around, around and around. The thing I was teaching her was patience. Sewing takes time. It took me a long time to learn that, but when I did--when I really started to love taking my time--then my sewing got better, much better.
I noticed another thing about sewing while we were working on this project together: sewing is quiet. Cooking with kids can be frantic (the cookies are burning!!!), making art can be messy (who poured glitter on the baby's head?!), but sewing is slow and contained and practically silent.
We sat at the dining room table, my daughter and I, talking about the day, stopping now and then so I could tie a knot or show her a stitch, and just having a quietly wonderful time. Thanks to sew mama sew, and their fantastic FunStitch Studio Summer Camp, I taught my daughter a bit about sewing and learned a lot myself!