Readers were also invited to ask any burning questions that they may have about sewing with kids and we were happy to help! Maybe you have the same questions? Here is the Q & A session (I added some links to previous posts that elaborate on the answers as well.):
1) What's a good age to start teaching kids?
As soon as you feel they are ready. Toddlers can begin to use lacing cards and plastic needles and then move up to scissors and tapestry needles. We start sewing with kids around age 4. You'll know when they are ready. Be sure to teach safety and talk a lot about how to respect the needles, scissors, and pins.
2) Any favorite beginner projects for teens?
Teens love to make the Just Right Pouch, a little mp3 or phone pouch from Sewing School. There are lots of ways to embellish them. Skirts are also a popular choice for those who are beginning to machine sew.
Whether or not she has previous sewing experience, a mom can help her kids learn how to sew. In fact, in some instances, moms who are accomplished sewers may need to dial back their own skills and expectations, and let their children explore the ins and outs of hand sewing on their own.
4) Any tips for when the kid gets frustrated and wants to give up?
Sometimes kids are frustrated because they keep making the same mistake again and again, which can be easily corrected. A few examples: they need to learn to hold their needle at the eye to keep it from coming unthreaded; or they are using a piece of thread that is entirely too long, so it keeps tangling; or they are trying to cut fabric and thread using dull scissors. In that case, set them on the right track and see if they don't regain interest. Other kids — Amie and I seem to have one in every camp session — just don't see the reward in completing a project. If they are struggling but seem to truly want to finish, give them some one-on-one attention, or sew a few stitches until they ask to continue. Otherwise, let them move on to something else, and see if they want to return to sewing a few days later. Whichever the case may be, emphasize that sewing projects don't have to be finished in a set time – it's fine to take a week on a project, and it's often more enjoyable if they take frequent breaks during the sewing process. Even during sewing camp, we break for stories, snacks, and swim time.
5) When can I start teaching my children to use a sewing machine?
You can start sewing with a sewing machine at an early age. First, have them push the foot pedal down with their hand or foot and watch you guide the fabric. When you feel they are ready, let them move to the machine. Amie's daughter Phoebe got her machine when she turned 6. We use the Janome Sew Mini (hint - if you get one, wait until it goes on sale at Hancock's) with kids because it's a real machine, but is smaller and goes slowly. Stay away from toy machines or those meant for mending - they usually are more trouble than they are worth!
We hope that this was a wee bit informative. If you ever have any questions, please ask! We are here for you and your sewing with kids needs.