Amie Plumley is co-author of Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love To Make. With more than 63,000 copies in print, Sewing School is in Amazon’s top ten for sewing. Her second book, Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing, was awarded a gold medal in 2013 by National Parenting Publications.
Amie is also co-creator of Sewing School Day Camp, oversees an after-school sewing programme, and teaches sewing workshops to both children and adults. She lives, teaches and crafts in Memphis, Tennessee and is the mother of two little sewers aged 7 and 10. She blogs at sewingschool.blogspot.com.
The most popular sewing project you make with kids?
Kids love the Stuffie Project where they design their own stuffed animals based on their original drawings. Making huggable artwork is the best!
One piece of advice you’d give to parents who want to teach their kids to sew?
Take the time to get the right supplies for kid-friendly sewing before they start. It makes things sooo much easier. And I know you only asked for one piece of advice, but my second is don’t worry about the little mistakes and oopsies that will happen along the way. Just let kids explore and create, they will eventually begin to sew more correctly.
Why should kids learn to sew?
Oh my, where to begin! Besides the wonderful life skills and creative aspects of sewing, kids gain fine motor skills, concentration, patience, and self-esteem. It feels so good to say “I made it myself!”
How did you get into teaching kids sewing?
When I began teaching kindergarten 11 years ago, I began to share my own passions for crafts, cooking, and gardening with the children. Luckily, my teaching assistant also sewed, so we jumped right into it. Our first attempts were so exciting! We made little pillows and the beginnings of the Stuffie Project. Over time, I began to find tools and supplies that were more kid-friendly.
What things have surprised you in teaching kids to sew?
The kids are constantly surprising me! I love walking around a busy room of sewers and seeing them at work. Kids use fabric and sewing as another art outlet. While they are learning valuable life skills, they are mostly just concerned about the process and making something new.
I also love how many boys get into sewing. For them it’s just another way to create, plus they get to use sharp needles!
Why do you like sewing?
Sewing is relaxing and a way to express myself. I can easily get caught up in the process and totally forget to make dinner! When I sew for myself, it’s usually to make clothing. I am obsessed with fabric and love wearing skirts and dresses made from favorite fabrics.
Best sewing experience?
For me it’s watching my own children enjoy sewing. In fact, as I write this, they are sitting in my craft room making zippy pouches. Sewing with them, I have been able to share my love of the craft as well as learn from them. They are constantly suggesting new project ideas or ways to make things.
Worst sewing experience?
Hmmm…..I can’t think of one right now. It’s all been pretty good!
Favorite sewing experience?
This summer I had some sewing “alums” be my assistants at Sewing School Camp. It was so much fun to see these teens helping out the first-time sewers. One took such pride in showing a young sewer how to make the same project that she made for the Sewing School book. I knew exactly how she felt because it’s the same feeling I have every time I see a kid get excited about sewing.
You can find Amie’s latest sewing tutorial The Never Ending Journal HERE.