Tuesday, June 30, 2009

teaching a child to sew

this photo is of moonpie mending a night gown - age 5

one of my fondest memories from visiting my grandmother as a child is learning how to hand sew. i would sit on her little couch and she would hand me an old rag and a threaded needle. i don't remember any real instruction, but i'm sure it was there- just very gentle. i would sit and sew and sew and sew. i remember the shock i felt when i went to college and i was the only person i knew that could sew by hand and for that matter, sew on a button.

i didn't learn how to sew on a machine until about 4 years ago. my mom bought me a small machine for christmas and i just started reading the manual, trying different things out. i had no instruction, just lots of practice. and with that came lots of failure! reading a pattern was just one more step in the confusion for me, so for the first 3 years, i never used a pattern. just kind of did what felt right. i still rarely use patterns, but i have found online tutorials so helpful in learning small finishing skills and neater ways to do things.

i've always disliked the fact that i had to teach myself how to sew (and knit). i feel like hand crafts are something that should be passed down from someone that loves you! john and i think that it is important for both of our children learn how to sew. not only are you learning a skill, but there are character lessons there as well, like patience, perseverance, being quiet.

the first stitch i taught moonpie was the whipstitch. i think this is the easiest stitch for a child to learn first off because there is no real skill needed. to do a whipstitch you
  • start (insert needle) from the back of the project so the knot is in the back
  • instead of going back in on the front of the project, you 'whip' around the edge to the back of the project
  • continue this pattern
once you are done the stitches go all around the outer edge of the project. i know youtube has plenty of instructional videos if you need to see it in action!


Corin said...

That's so great! A five year old sewing, what a sweet sight!

nicola said...

sweet post! i am teaching my 4.5 yr old as well. when i am at my machine, she also likes to sit on my lap and help feed or to press the pedal, which she is surprisingly good at. just being with me cutting fabric scraps is fun for us, too!

mandi, i wanted to tell you your mini doctor outfit/kit idea is fabulous! i thought one could even use the silve round lid from a juice concentrate can as an old-school head strap mirror doctors (used to?) wear.


Diane said...

I also enjoy hand sewing. Very relaxing. Need to start having my daughter practice more!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I loved this post so very much! Thank you for sharing the stitch, I would love to hear about more I will teach my children along with you : )