For many people today hand sewing has ceased to be something familiar and friendly. Having no first hand contact with this once pervasive skill, and having never experienced its creative potential, many parents tend to view hand sewing with their kids through a mist of myths and misconceptions.
Three Common Myths about Hand Sewing with Kids
1) Sewing needles are too small and too sharp for children to use.
Young children’s hands are very agile. Once shown how to thread a needle and how to make a running stitch they are fine and will act responsibly under supervision. I sew with children as young as 3 years old and they love it.
2) Trying to sew with young kids will be stressful
Relax and be well prepared. You can pre-thread needles. I always do this for my workshops as some kids find threading difficult and I don’t want them to be turned off the fun of hand sewing. If you enjoy the process your kids will enjoy it too.
3) If kids try to sew, it will just look a mess
Young kids begin to sew with large, wonky stitches but with a little practice their stitches improve rapidly. Let them sew their own stitches, they will be proud of what they've accomplished. Often young children’s work becomes messy simply because they forget to look at what they're doing. A gentle reminder to look at their work while sewing can bring about a miraculous improvement.
Exploding the Myths: A Sewing Crafternoon
A few weeks back, I ran a hand sewing “crafternoon” at Dymock’s city store in Sydney. We had parents and children sewing cushions together…it was problem free and fun for all:
Here’s 6 year old Josh sewing:
Josh stuffing his cushion. If you look closely at the photo you can see his first stitches in the blue square and how they improve:
Josh's mum, Mariane, cutting the fringes for him:
A proud Josh with his finished creation…apart from cutting the fringes and gluing on pom-poms with a low temp glue gun, all the hand sewing and decorative work were Josh's:
…all done in just over an hour.
Many thanks to Mariane for the two photos above of Josh sewing and stuffing his cushion…and also for her great blog post on the crafternoon.