Sewing is one of the few skills still popular after generations. From grandmothers to young children, it indulges creativity, precision and provides a remarkable sense of accomplishment. Teaching children to sew is a great way to bond with them and foster a shared passion for creating everything from stuffed toys to clothes.
Many parents often wonder what age they should introduce kids to needlecraft and teach them to use sewing machines, but this depends mostly on the child. For particularly dexterous kids who are comfortable using their hands, learning to use a sewing machine can happen as early as four years old (if they’re interested!). Otherwise, six is a good age to start learning the basics.
It's always good to go through the safety stuff first. The coordination required to steer the fabric and work the pedal comes easily with practice, but it can get a touch out of control if kids aren't comfortable or confident with either. One of the best ways to teach kids to use a sewing machine is to steer the fabric while they work the pedal, this keeps their focus on one thing at a time (and their fingers away from the fast-moving needle).
Take it Slowly
It's important for kids to understand that sewing quickly doesn't mean sewing better. Let them work at their own pace, even if it's painfully slow at first. The trick is not to rush them and to make sure they’re at ease with the machine and can manoeuver and control it. In reality, most kids will be able to steer fabric all by themselves after just a few minutes of practice.
Let Them Choose
Part of the fun of sewing with kids is to see the wacky and creative things they come up with. A lot of this hinges on their ability to choose materials for themselves. Let kids choose everything from the pattern to the fabric to the thread color. Get ready for bold, outlandish combinations (!), but that's all part of the fun.
Giving your child the opportunity to express their creativity is never a bad idea, and when you're able to help nurture it you better understand their sense of style. The one exception to this rule is that you should try to dissuade kids from overly complicated patterns or fabrics that will be difficult to work with.
The ultimate goal for teaching kids how to sew should be to just have as much fun as possible. It's highly likely that stitches will come out crooked, fabrics will clash and buttons and ribbons will be loose, but most importantly, kids will have a great time expressing themselves and working on something that they're proud of. If sewing is fun for them, they'll want to do it more and more and, in turn, their skills will improve.
It's rare to find a hobby these days that parents and children can share, which is why sewing is such a wonderful activity. Getting kids to take a break from staring at screens and nurture a tactile hobby is a satisfying and heartwarming experience. This can ultimately build a bond and a common interest that lasts a whole lifetime.