Saturday, 6 April 2013

Teaching Children to Sew - or how my 10 year old made a dress.

How old were you when you learnt to sew?

Remembering to take those pins out as you sew.

As for me, I can't quite remember when I learnt. I know I made a skirt (very badly without any help at all) when I was a teenager. I also remember sewing a toy hedgehog at middle school. I think the first item I made with any success was a fitted blouse from an Essentials magazine, probably in about 1988, and I remember it didn't fit too well, but I know I learnt a lot about construction and following a pattern as my mum took we through the process step be step.

So when is a good age to learn to sew? I sometimes see posts where very young children are sewing confidently, and there are places out there that will teach your child to sew -  Sew in Brighton for example run parties and classes for children aged 8 and up. There's nothing like that where I live and as I am a teacher I think I have the skills needed to do the job myself. I have tried in the past to encourage my daughter to sew, and she's done little bits, usually a straight seam, I've pinned it and she's sewn it with me watching her like a hawk. I haven't felt confident enough to allow her to get going on the machine by herself.

In the last few weeks she has been pestering me to make her a dress, an orange one to match her new handbag - no doubt she will want shoes to match! I had some orange fabric in my stash and set about drafting the bodice (The skirt is softly pleated).  I asked her if she wanted to make it, and the answer was a definite YES!
Pressing the seams under a press cloth

So yesterday we cut, pinned and sewed. I showed my daughter how to put in the pins and reminded her about not sewing over them and keeping an even seam allowance using the guide on the machine. She did each of the darts and seams, with some help for the sleeves - they're tricky enough for a confident sewer so she needed a bit of help there. By the end of the afternoon she was confidently pinning and sewing the seams together, matching the edges, neatening them on the overlocker and pressing.
getting to grips with the scary overlocker!

The dress isn't quite finished, as the local haberdashery didn't have a zip in the right colour. so it will be finished on Monday - just the zip, back seam and hem to do.

It seems like just turning 10 is the perfect age for my daughter to learn.

Find part 2 of this project here.

What was your first successful sewing project and what age were you when you learnt to sew?


  1. I was 11 when I learned how to sew. My oldest daughter is 9 and she is just starting to learn. We are making doll bedding. But the real surprise was my 6 year old. We started a project to help with her dyslexia. She traces letters onto fabric and then embroiders over them. I was amazed! At 6 years old her stitches were so perfect, even better than mine are now. I think every child will reveal to you when they are ready in their own time. I can't wait to see the finished dress.

    1. So true, they all learn at their own pace. I'm looking forward to seeing her wear the dress too!

  2. I will have to show this to my ten year old. It may inspire her!

  3. I hope it does! I can't wait to post images of the dress it's lovely.


I'd love to hear your views, so come and share.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...