Beginner Sewing Techniques for Kids

In our home, my sewing area is a space you can’t miss because it’s dead smack in the middle of our living room!  It’s literally in our faces all day long. And that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it serves as a constant reminder to create.

As a homeschooling mom, every day I make a conscious effort to encourage learning through daily tasks, school work, arts and crafts, and play. This isn’t always easy to incorporate as each child is different in age and stage and has their own skills and interests. Regardless, I always encourage them to…

  • Try new things
  • Explore their curiosity
  • Help one another so they can learn together
  • Have fun

I’ve been wanting to introduce my son (8 years old) and daughter (5 years old) to the basics of sewing now that they’re getting older & because my daughter is showing serious interest in it. She wants to make doll clothes and play dress up any chance she gets. She’s naturally curious about everything fashion… Just like her momma!

Even though I’ve wanted to teach them how to sew for a while now, I feared the accidental poke from the sharp needle – turning it into a disastrous, regrettable experience. To prevent that from becoming our fate, I found myself pondering the best ways to teach youngsters. I wanted to show them how easy and fun it can be. And more importantly, I wanted to give them the opportunity to make something with their own two hands.

Can you imagine the possibilities if they develop a love for it, now? At 8 and 5 years old?

Pondering ultimately led me to searching the wise and all-knowing Google for beginner sewing kits. Lo and behold, I came across some felt hand-puppets from Amazon…

I purchased these puppets to see if my kids would like them, and they were only $12 for a pack of 5! I think thats pretty cheap considering you get to create your own hand puppets that you can use!  They have pre-drilled holes so kids can know where to push the needle through. And the coolest feature of all? This “sewing” kit used a plastic yarn needle instead of the sharp “scream-if-you-get-poked” needle. THE IDEA BEHIND THESE SEWING KITS IS GENIUS! It’s strictly to teach kids the “ins and outs” of sewing. How neat!

Candidly, the quality of these puppets wasn’t amazing though, and I won’t be purchasing them again.  The felt was a bit stiff and made my hand itchy – oh, the irony! They are hand puppets after all. However, if I dare complain about something, I better be ready to make my own or come up with another solution… and I did!

Keep reading to find out what I’d recommend you do instead.

My kids loooooved the idea of making the hand puppets because they knew their toddler sister, Kari, would have a blast with them! She loves puppets and all that pretend play stuff! So yes, hand puppets for the win!

And if your son is like most young boys, he could benefit from new activities geared towards further developing his fine motor skills, otherwise known as dexterity.

 Sewing is GREAT for dexterity!

It’s a wonderful way to get kids to use their fingers, eyes, and hands, together. From grasping the needle to pulling the thread through the holes, there is so much hand-eye coordination required to complete a single stitch!

I wish I had known this sooner! I got the idea to teach Addi and Zali  after a quick conversation with a friend of mine whom mentioned how sewing is especially beneficial to boys – as it helps them improve their fine motor skills.  Girls usually tend not to need as much intentional practice as boys do… and that’s what flipped the switch in my brain to teach Addi how to sew, too!

There is nothing wrong with finding activities to help kids gain better control of their fingers and hands.  The more activities the better – though I tend to stick to every day tasks for practicing these skills.  But I have to say, after “sewing” these puppets together with Addi and Zali, sewing is going to become an everyday task at home for my kids as well. Yeah, right. Who am I kidding? More like every week……ish. Haha!

I believe wholeheartedly that it contributes to developing those fine motor skills to a significant extent.

Zali enjoyed the activity and kept at it with little frustration.  Addi didn’t find it as intuitive and became easily frustrated, but he kept at it and completed it. And in the end, he gained a new skill…  He’s now a whip-stitching master! You see the pride on his face every time we mention those puppets.  He achieved and completed a task that he didn’t think he could do initially; and for that, and many, many other reasons, I am so proud of HIM!

Teaching your child to sew - LOVEMADE HANDMADE

This blue puppet was his… Doesn’t it look fantastic?!
Teaching your child to sew - LOVEMADE HANDMADE

Teaching your child to sew - LOVEMADE HANDMADE

And this one was Zali’s… she did running stitches instead.
Teaching your child to sew - LOVEMADE HANDMADE

Remember earlier how I mentioned a DIY alternative?

Its cheaper, readily available… and just as fun.

You can use paper!

Thats right, good old construction paper! Or even better, a heavy weight card stock.  We used construction paper – and it worked just fine!

All you need is:

  • paper
  • a small round hole puncher
  • some yarn
  • a yarn needle to sew the yarn through each hole
  • and some tape

We cut out heart shapes for Valentines Day and practiced sewing our love into each stitch.

Teaching your child to sew - LOVEMADE HANDMADE

Teaching your child to sew - LOVEMADE HANDMADE

Teaching your child to sew - LOVEMADE HANDMADE

Teach your child how to sew! LOVEMADE HANDMADE

Teaching your child to sew - LOVEMADE HANDMADE

Teaching your child to sew - LOVEMADE HANDMADE

The only thing with paper is that its tends to rip easily. So if your child accidentally pulls the yarn through swiftly, the paper rips right through the hole!

No biggie though – just get some tape! And show them how to tape it back together… and let them do it themselves. Remember – this is to allow them to get as much practice using their hands and fingers; and the ultimate goal is for the kids to do these tasks by themselves without your help.

Teaching your child to sew - LOVEMADE HANDMADE

Here are a few tips for absolute beginners who are learning the basics of sewing…

  1. Help your child get the yarn through the eye of the needle.
  2. Secure the yarn to the needle by tying a knot.
  3. Measure out enough yarn to go around your shape at least 2 times and cut it free from the ball of yarn.
  4. Tape the end of the yarn to the back of your project. This will prevent it from being pulled through each hole as you sew.
  5. Show your child how to sew a few stitches and hand it over to them to try.

 Important reminders:

  • For a child completely new to sewing, a yarn needle is a must. It’s not sharp and it is large enough for small hands to hold.
  • Use yarn instead of regular thread
  • Stay nearby – for  when the yarn tangles… because it WILL! And let your child help untangle it.
  • Teach children REPETITION and the simplicity of making a running stitch: weave the yarn in through the top of the project, in through the back of the project, in through the top, in through the back… and so on.
    TIP:  If the yarn is coming out through the front of the project, put the needle in through the next hole in the front to get to the back. If the yarn is coming out of the project through the back, put the needle through the next hole in the back until it comes back out in the front.  Sewing is all about repeating stitches to create a decorative effect or to secure two pieces of material together – show them how it’s all being secured if using more than one layer of felt or paper.
  • Build on the basics – When they have mastered the running stitch, teach them another stitch such as a whip stitch. Or let them choose which stitch they like the look of and teach them that! My son LOVES whip stitches because he knows he only needs to repeatedly push the needle in through the back of his project and out through the top and repeat.

When teaching kids, remind yourself to keep it simple.  If you are getting overwhelmed or they are becoming frustrated, step away for a few and return to it later.  No one has to learn sewing in a day – especially a young child!

The important thing is exposing them to it so they can grasp the concept little by little… and everyone should have FUN in the process…

As soon as they get use to pushing through and pulling out the yarn, sewing with an actual sewing needle wouldn’t be as terrifying to you nor to them.

In my next post, I’ll be showing you how easy it is to teach children how to sew using an actual sewing needle. Stay on the lookout for it!

 

HAPPY SEWING!

Karina,

31 COMMENTS

  1. Dara | 16th Mar 17

    What a fun activity! My daughter actually just got her own sewing machine. She is 11, so a bit older than yours!

  2. Vicki @ Babies to Bookworms | 16th Mar 17

    This is awesome! I definitely want to teach my daughter to sew early on!

  3. Meredith | 16th Mar 17

    This is a great activity! My 5 year old son practices like this in preschool to practice their motor skills. Plus, it helps with tying shoes!

  4. Amanda | 17th Mar 17

    This is good on so many levels: creativity, fine motor skills, patience, life skills, etc. Great mommy and child activity. It would also be a good activity to take to a nursing/retirement/rehabilitation home for seniors. They would love helping the children with the project, and perhaps doing some themselves.

  5. robin Rue | 17th Mar 17

    I think it is wonderful to get kids interested in sewing at a young age. It’s a great skill to have!

  6. Allison | 17th Mar 17

    How awesome! I plan to teach my kids sewing. It’s sad because it’s almost a lost art. Great techniques- thanks for sharing!

  7. karen | 17th Mar 17

    Ok – how adorable are these sewing ideas for kids? I kinda think should start with these to get my skills sharp! haha!

  8. Jessi | 17th Mar 17

    how fun! I wish I would have learned how to sew as a kid. I still am terrible at it. This would be fun to do with my daughter though.

  9. Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh | 17th Mar 17

    These are cute! I can’t sew, so I think this is something that my daughter and I can do together!

  10. Amber | 17th Mar 17

    Awesome skill to start teaching now. I learned how to sew really young and its anazing how many people have no clue how to do basics.

  11. Devon | 17th Mar 17

    Great post! I think my younger two kids would love this.

  12. Angela | 17th Mar 17

    I think my first sewing machine lesson was when I was 8. My mom bought a guard for her machine to protect my fingers and that guard has not come off in twenty years as she continues to teach!

  13. Mehgan | 18th Mar 17

    I want to introduce these skills to my youngest. This could help him work on his motor skills. He tends to pay close attention to detail so this would be right up his alley. Thank you for including affordable DIY instructions.

  14. Terri | 18th Mar 17

    These are super cute and the paper ones were an adorable idea. When I was in fourth grade my art teacher introduced us to sewing by giving us large pieces of burlap and lots of colorful yarn. We drew our designs on paper, then stitched the designs on the burlap. We all thought they were gorgeous!

  15. Ilka Elise | 18th Mar 17

    This is adorable. I used to sew with kids a lot in my old job, I really liked to teach them. We started with a paper heart,just like yours and in the end we sewed a little, sweet owl. 🙂
    I find it’s ‘important’ that kids learn how to do certain creative things, and sweing is just so easy xxx

  16. Lisa | 18th Mar 17

    Hand puppets! What a great idea! I started my girls out sewing aprons (they helped me pin and push the pedal!)

  17. Journa Ramirez | 18th Mar 17

    These are great ideas for kids! It’s manageable and fun..the kids will definitely love this!

  18. Anna nuttall | 18th Mar 17

    Awww this is super cute. It really sad that kids now day don’t really learn sewing in school. xx

  19. Heather | 18th Mar 17

    This is such a fun project for little ones! I always loved sewing as a child so if I had kids I know this would be something that I would want to share with them. Great idea!

  20. Melissa | 18th Mar 17

    Those puppets were really cute and they get the satisfaction of making it themselves. Great teacher and mom with a lot of patience.

  21. Lydia | 19th Mar 17

    I love that your teaching your kids to sew! I never learned but wish I knew how to sew!

  22. Toughcookiemommy | 19th Mar 17

    I think it is so important for kids to learn how to sew from an early age. My grandmother taught me when I was a little girl and the skill has served me well over the years.

  23. Jasmine | 19th Mar 17

    What a neat activity!

  24. Tereza | 19th Mar 17

    These are so adorable! You say these are for kids but I’m honestly so bad at sewing that this is perfect for me! I might make these for my niece and nephew:) x

  25. Rose Sahetapy | 19th Mar 17

    I’ve no idea that kids can learn sewing in their young age, knowing the risk of those needles. Your kids must have had a lot of fun sewing their puppets. They’re cute!

  26. Angela @marathonsandmotivation.com | 19th Mar 17

    My daughter wants to learn how to sew so this was a great post to come across! I love all the ideas yu shared here.

  27. Dawn McAlexander | 20th Mar 17

    I haven’t done much sewing in my day, but I do remember doing crafts like this when I was young. I thought it was fun. It’s really great that kids today still do this. It can really help develop motor skills.

  28. Nikki | 20th Mar 17

    This is a fabulous idea!! My friend and I were just talking yesterday about how we need to make sure our children learn these skills. I’m going to talk to her about having a craft night with our kids now and teaching them how to do this!!

  29. Jeff | 20th Mar 17

    My daughter is going to love this. Thanks for the easy lesson!

  30. Stephanie Lee | 26th Mar 17

    This is a great idea for kids! I loved learning how to sew and crochet when I was younger. This kit makes it so easy for kids to learn!

  31. Dilraz Kunnummal | 31st Mar 17

    This is such an important life skill. I am still grateful to know the basics. So I know what to do in emergencies. Will definitely get my boy interested in it too..

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