Teaching your child to sew will open a new life skill to him or her that they’ll be able to use for their rest of their lives. An easy and affordable hobby, you’ll need to start with the basics, such as simple stitch types and lock stitches.
But, you’ll be surprised just how fast your child masters all of these techniques.
This is something you can do together. And, even if you don’t know how to sew well, you can learn together and turn this fun activity into a true bonding moment. You want the best for your child, and a life skill like sewing is definitely a good start.
When Can Kids Start Learning to Sew?
One question that parents always ask is when can I teach my child to sew? The answer isn’t as easy as it sounds. If a child is very mature and interested in sewing, you can teach them as young as age 4, but you’ll need the utmost in supervision at this time.
Kids have short attention spans, and it’s not uncommon for injuries to occur when sewing.
Instead, I recommend teaching your child at 6. Just keep in mind that this will still be a time when they need supervision so that you avoid potential mishaps from occurring.
Unsupervised sewing can usually occur around age 8. Granted, you’ll want a kid’s sewing machine that has all of the appropriate safety features to keep his or her little hands out of harm’s way.
Tip: When kids are younger, you should control the foot pedal while allowing him or her to control the fabric. This allows you to have a safeguard to stop the machine if little hands are about to get in the path of the needle.
Real vs Fake Machines
I’m an advocate of allowing your child to sew on a real sewing machine. You want him or her to get confident with the sewing process, and a fake sewing machine gives a false sense of safety and security.
There are several smaller kid’s sewing machines that will work well.
What’s a Kid’s Sewing Machine?
For all intents and purposes, a kid’s model is similar and will produce the same results as a normal sewing machine. When a machine states that it’s for “kids,” this usually means the following:
- The unit weighs less.
- The unit is smaller in size.
- The unit has a kid-friendly exterior.
- Safety features have been included to protect little hands.
The most dangerous part of the sewing machine is where the needle meets the pressor foot. If your child’s hand gets in the way, they can sew through their hand and will require medical attention immediately.
A machine built for kids will prevent this common mishap from occurring.
Fake machines, or toys, are only good for younger kids. When you start the actual sewing process, you want your child to be able to make something they can wear or use regularly. A headband or a scarf is usually a good place to start.
Or, you can even make small decorative items that aren’t too intricate as a starting point.
=> Click the link below to see which sewing machines I recommend for kids
Teach your Kids Sewing Terms
Boring or not, your child needs to know the basic sewing terms to get started. The three terms to teach are:
- Seam: The visible line where stitches hold the item together.
- Right Side: The side of the fabric that will be visible when worn.
- Wrong Side: The opposite of the “right side.” This is the side that won’t be visible.
Teach your Child How to Do Threading
You’ll want to teach your child how to thread a normal needle. This can be done away from the machine with a simple needle and thread. Many machines will have needle threaders built in, which will make the process easier.
Teach your Child How to Do Stitches
You’ll find sewing machines with dozens of stitches, but you always need to start with the basics. There are a few that need to be taught immediately:
- Back Stitch: A stitch taught when fabric will be stretched along the seam.
- Straight Stitch: Used the majority of the time when sewing.
- Lock Stitch: The invisible knot used at the beginning and end of a project.
There are several other stitches, such as zigzag and overcasting, but these are too complicated at this point. After all, you want sewing to be fun, and these three stitches will allow your child to make a few nifty projects on their own.
Now, you can begin the actual sewing process.
Note: Also teach your child the basic parts and function of the sewing machine.
Once everything is set up, is time to start teaching your child to sew. I recommend starting with an easy pattern that doesn’t have too many curves or turns along the way. Something that requires a lot of straight stitching is ideal.
Headbands, pillow covers and scarves are good options.
You need to teach your child how to sew in a straight line, perform lock stitches and how to perform proper knots before you go into something complicated like a shirt or pants.
Once your child is ready and old enough you can also move onto sewing books. There are a lot of great sewing books for kids and beginners that you can use to build up their skills, confidence and creativity. You can find more sewing books for beginners that I recommend here.
Jessie has spent her whole life sewing and crafting. Her passion is to teach others to sew, especially her grandchildren. She currently lives in Washington State and loves to spend time with her family and enjoy the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest.