This blog post will go through my philosophy and some things I’ve learned on sewing WITH children and sewing with children AROUND. These are 2 very different things and in my experience have required different strategies. I love involving my children when it is a charity project. I want them to understand what it means to give of yourself to others and sewing is a great way to do that.
On Sewing WITH Children
I’m not going to lie, we do not do this often. It requires a level of patience I usually just don’t have to give. I don’t want them to be stressed or feel my stress when they are working on a project. Sewing should be fun, especially when kids are involved. When I do feel up to sewing with my children, here is what I try to do.
- Expect that whatever you are working on will take about a million hours longer than expected. Literally. Break the project up into tiny parts. You do all of the cutting, and then maybe you have them help pin for the first day.
- Speaking of pins, if it is possible at all, I cannot recommend using clover clips or some other kind of clip highly enough. This lets your kids be in charge and in a safe way.
- Depending upon their age, have them sit on your lap for the actual sewing. Their hands can go on top of yours and they can help guide the fabric. This is exactly what I’d recommend for younger kids or for kids who are trying to sew for the first time.
- Once your kids are a bit older, let them control the foot pedal. If your machine has speed control, turn it ALL the way down. Just have them be in charge of the pedal and you guide the fabric through. We did this recently and it worked so well with my almost 8 year old.
- Eventually you can let your kids loose and they can control everything, but once again if you can turn the speed down, do it.
- You should always be in charge of ironing/pressing. I haven’t reached an age with my kids where either I am comfortable with them being in charge or they are comfortable.
We recently made these pillowcases to donate to Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Salt Lake City. I’ve posted before about why I donate to Shriner’s. This is so important to me to have my children and husband be involved. It is an important part of my father’s life and I want them to know that there are such wonderful people in the world that we can help support.
On Sewing with Children AROUND
I used to get asked all the time how I got so much done with little kids around. The truth is, I’m not entirely sure and I know I have very good, mostly obedient boys. I have exposed them to me sewing ever since they were young. I really feel like that has been a huge help. They learn from an early age that the iron is hot, that pins can poke you, and that when mom says NO forcefully, it is because she’s trying to keep you from cutting your finger off. 🙂
When my second child was a baby rolling around and into things, I would get out a piece of scrap fabric for him. He loved sucking on it, pulling on it, etc and I found this gave me more time to spend sewing. He loved this.
Since both of my boys have gotten a bit older, I try to find age appropriate ways to involve them, if they are wanting to be involved. Sometimes that means letting them sit on my lap and “help” me sew. Sometimes that means letting them carry my cold iron to get water in it. Sometimes that means letting them get me a cup of water to put into my already hot iron.
The thing my 4 year old has loved doing most by far is handing me pins. It takes a lot of patience in the beginning, but he has learned that he hands me one pin at a time and only when I say I’m ready. He is also in charge of throwing away my trimming trash or scrap trash, but he knows to ask first before throwing things away.
I feel like we should absolutely involved our children and spouses and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and anybody that we’d like to in our sewing. I love passing on some skills and excitement with my children and I am excited to see what things continue to evolve into as they grow up!