Top tips for machine sewing with children

haberdashery in Kendal

We have a fantastically active group of young customers visiting our haberdashery in Kendal. They have reminded me that there are so many good reasons to get children started on a sewing machine at a young age: to improve motor skills, to avoid boredom during the weekends, wet days and holidays, to encourage thriftiness and a make and mend attitude, to boost creativity, to help them develop a sense of their own unique style…the list goes on.

So we thought we’d put together some quick tips on getting children started on machine sewing. Have fun making.

Faye & team x

Three steps to machine sewing for children

1. Let them fiddle with the machine.
Long explanations of what each button and switch does won’t go down well so keep it simple and let them get hands on. Flick the on/off switch, turn the hand wheel, lift the foot, press the foot pedal down softly and then fully. If you do all of this without thread it is much easier for young sewers to take in and get used to the feel of the machine.

2. Sew on paper without thread.
This is a great way to get started on control. Straight, curved and zig zagged lines on paper will help them get a feel for the needle and how to guide the paper. They get chance to understand how the needle moves and when you need to lift the foot to turn, and they get to play around a little with speed. Once they are feeling good about simple lines you can throw in some mazes or dot to dots to develop their skills.

3. Sew with thread.
Talk them through the threading process and let them retry their paper sewing exercises with thread to build confidence and get used to the two threads working together to create the lines. Free sewing is a natural step from here and they can freestyle their own squiggles, designs or create something more recognisable. When you feel they’re ready to handle a more challenging material, substitute the paper for fabric and let them practice the same exercises.

Ready to get started?

Gutermann threads are guaranteed knot free so that takes prevents some of the potential frustration.
Top tip – use a different colour in the bobbin so your young sewing enthusiast can see how the threads interact.

Print off some great patterns for them to sew on paper or scrap fabrics.
Top tip – if you want to add an extra level of creativity pick up one of our laundry markers and let them draw their own freehand lines to sew over (they make a good clear line to follow).

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