Hi! I’m Sarah from Small Town Seams, and today I’m going to share some tips for sewing with kids to make sure that everyone has a fun (and safe!) experience.
This may seem like a silly place to start when discussing sewing, but this is definitely at the front of my mind when sewing with my girls. With scissors, rotary cutters, pins, and needles, sewing has the potential for a range of injuries. I’ve been pretty lucky to date and have only stabbed myself while pinning items, but I have heard horror stories of sewists cutting themselves with rotary cutters, injuring their eye as a result of a needle breaking while sewing, or sewing through their finger.
So, what can you do to help keep kids safe while sewing? A great place to start is having a conversation with the child, pointing out possible activities (cutting, pinning, sewing) that could lead to injury, and stressing that they need to keep their fingers away from the sharp objects. Barriers, such as safety glasses and finger guards, can be a great injury preventer as well. A finger guard is a metal or plastic piece that attaches to the presser foot bar to help block any unintentional touching of the needle during sewing.
As for cutting fabric, my daughter uses scissors for the time being, but as she gets older, I will introduce her to using a rotary cutter. Same goes for clipping vs. pinning. For now, my daughter uses clips to hold pieces together, but I will teach her about using pins as time goes on.
Supervision is another important safety measure. Make sure that any child that you are sewing with has the supervision that they require based on the task they are performing, their age, and their skill level.
Spend Time Teaching the Basics
When my daughter got a “sew your own sock monkey kit” from the dollar store, I was confident that I would be able to hand sew the sock monkey pieces together easily. Was I ever wrong! Not only did I struggle, but the resulting monkey looked nothing like the picture. I decided that it was important to learn how to properly hand sew, as even though there are no more sock monkeys in my future, I do use hand sewing occasionally to close gaps after turning an item. I also thought it was important to teach this skill to my daughter. My favourite way to do this is to put a piece of scrap woven fabric in an embroidery loop, draw a picture (or let her draw the picture), and have her hand sew the picture with embroidery thread.
Sewing machine basics such as teaching the names and functions of sewing machine parts, how to properly start and stop, and practicing sewing a straight line, are also important basic concepts that kids can master through instruction, guidance and repetition.
Do not Expect Perfection
This tip is self explanatory, however, as a perfectionist, I find myself having to remind myself of this repeatedly. So here we go again… Do not expect perfection from the kids that you are sewing with! This is a chance for them to learn a new skill, bond, and give them the confidence to continue learning and nurturing their craft. And who knows, maybe by slowing down and teaching the basics, your skills will improve as well… I know that my hand sewing skills did (at least a little).
I hope that you find the tips helpful. If you have any pointers for sewing with kids, do let us know in the comments below!