Simple sewing skills. That’s about where I am in my sewing life, and I suspect that’s where I will stay. Even these most basic skills, however, have been picked up by me in the last few years. So, prior to that, I was still taking things to my Mom that needed things like buttons put back on or a small rip on a seam.
I know that we all love to be helpful to our children and hope that they will continue to come to us for help as they grow older. However, there is no joy in being 30 years old and having to ask your Mom to sew a button on something for you. (And then remember the other day when I said a friend was paying $10 per button to have them put back on at the dry cleaner? Whew!)
Because of all these things, I’ll task you with the challenge – if your children don’t currently know at least a few sewing skills, teach them just a few.
Activities to Do to Teach Simple Sewing Skills
Sewing on Buttons
Can you tell this is a hot button issue for me? (Hey — get it? Hot button. Buttons. Oh well.)
If you own clothes, this is just the kind of thing that comes up, even with the most well made wardrobe. It just happens. Empower your children to know how to deal with this instead of needing to come to you with a button in one hand and a pair of slacks in another.
If you don’t know how to sew on a button yourself, learn along with your child. Here are a variety of videos showing how to sew on a button, as well as a picture tutorial about how to sew on a button. It’s easy, and you’ll both be happy not to have to pay a dry cleaner $10.
An Early Introduction to Simple Hand Sewing
I have done simple hand sewing activities with all of my children. It started off when they were much younger with some simple activities.
I purchased a loose knit burlap, some plastic needles, and yarn. When I first introduced these to them, I just let them play around and make any designs they wanted. Just something to get a sense of the experience.
After that free play, we then moved to using the same materials, but I would drawing a simple shape (of their choosing) on the burlap to follow along with their stitches.
A follow up activity to the burlap sewing that we did was to make felt puppets from a kit that had all of the holes already punched, much like this felt puppet set.
If you need help, here is a tutorial of how to sewing a running stitch.
Creating Their Own Hand Sewing Projects
Continuing with a simple project, but moving up slightly from a pre-made kit or burlap, my two younger kids have loved making little dolls and pillows out of felt. Felt is great because the edges don’t fray, so there is no need to finish edges. Perfect for kids and crafting! They can cut out simple shapes (two of the same) and then sew them together most of the way, stuff them, and then finish sewing.
When my daughter had just turned seven (and being a new hand sewer), she was able to make this heart pillow (with a heart design on the larger heart) on her own.
Another fun project is to make felt cookies, such as with this felt cookie tutorial that I shared on The Happy Housewife. (It includes this link to a tutorial on how to do a blanket stitch, which can be a great stitch to teach children who find they enjoy make felt creations.)
Being able to do simple stitches like running a stitch and blanket stitch, as well as to be able to sew on a button, can help your child to be able to fix a lot of simple sewing issues throughout their lives.
More Sewing Skills to Learn
If you are a person who loves to whip out creations with her handy dandy sewing machine, you can continue to teach your children sewing skills. For me, I have my cute Singer sewing machine, and I can do things that a child could probably do.
When one of my sons showed an interest in learning more about sewing, I was blessed to have him be able to take classes at our homeschool co-op about machine sewing (he is in his second year and making a messenger bag) as well as a hand sewing class where they are making lap quilts. There is a lesson to be remembered in this. When I didn’t have the ability to teach these skills, I was able to seek out others who knew how to do them and were happy to share that knowledge.
Books We’ve Liked About Simple Sewing Projects
My kids love little sewing projects, and I actually think they’re fun too. Here are some books we’ve enjoyed, and they are for a range of hand sewing skills:
Made by Me (by Jane Bull) – This is my kids’ favorite project book, hands down. Molly will read this for pleasure, and talk about what projects she wants to do next. The kids are blessed to have a Grandma who even worked on the project to sew a doll with them.
Felties: How to Make 18 Cute and Fuzzy Friends (by Nelly Pailloux) – Who doesn’t love cute creatures? These are so sweet! (This book is currently a steal at just $6.00.)
Kata Golda’s Hand-Stitched Felt: 25 Whimsical Sewing Projects (by Kata Golda) – What can I say? I love whimsical.
Final Thoughts on Teaching Basic Sewing Skills
Not only is sewing something that could turn into a real passion (or even small business!) for your child, but, at the very least, it is a skill that will come in handy over and over throughout their lives. Save them from being the 30 year old asking Mom for help with a button!
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