a kid’s guide to sewing

September 5th, 2013

a kid's guide to sewing

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.

ice cream charm on elsie marley

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.

ice cream charm on elsie marley

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!

ice cream cone charm on elsie marley

Then she cut the pattern out, traced it on felt, and cut out all the felt pieces.

ice cream charm on elsie marley

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.

ice cream cone charm on elsie marley

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.

ice cream cone charm on elsie marley

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.

ice cream backpack charm on elsie marley

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!


Posted in kid art, library.

11 Responses to a kid’s guide to sewing

  1. jess says:

    This whole experience sounds lovely.

  2. Nicole says:

    Her ice cream cone is great!! thanks for the inspiration, I will have to try more sewing with my 7 year old.

  3. lisa g says:

    thanks for the review, i’ll have to look into this book. i have four young ones, and they’re begging to learn how to sew! i haven’t really set aside to teach them much, but lately they’ve been hand sewing together some doll clothes. i’m sure they’re capable of so much more if only i would set aside the time!

    • meg says:

      this book is good for, I’d say 6 or 7 and up. And there are a wide range of projects. It’ s good all around!

  4. Cathy says:

    This is so fantastic. I just started sewing this year (I know) and I already daydream about teaching my now 2.5 year old to sew. I’m definitely pinning this book for when the time comes.

  5. Katie says:

    Very sweet. And a beautiful ice cream cone to boot!

  6. Annanic says:

    Haha! “Who poured glitter on the baby’s head” just made me burst out laughing. That sounds like craft time at my house. My son is four now and I’ve been thinking about getting him started doing some sewing type crafting. Remember in elementary school they’d give you a piece of paper with holes punched unit and a string with some tape around one end to “sew” with? I think he’s ready for that. Maybe not so much with the pointy objects just yet though. Your daughter sounds like a born sewist marking her lines with chalk… And it’s sooo cute! Love it :)

  7. Tara says:

    wonderful time together! I tried showing my oldest how to embroider running stitches a while ago, but she was having a hard time not wrapping the thread around the side of the hoop and back through the top side. Since weaving went well recently maybe I’ll give embroidery another try. You’re right, the biggest lesson when teaching kids to sew is patience. My poor grandma tried to show me when I was little and I was horribly impatient and frustrated. Wish I could go back and really learn.

    • meg says:

      oh lord, the fits I through when my mother was teaching me to sew. And I was well beyond little–they were full-on teenage fits. Not pretty. I barely listened to anything she said and ended up having to teach myself all over again as an adult. Why?! why?!

  8. […] Meg from Elsie Marley and her daughter also worked with A Kid’s Guide to Sewing. Meg’s daughter made a fun backpack charm… […]

  9. erin says:

    it’s adorable! i bet she is proud. and maybe ready to make something else?!