Even if the idea is not new, it’s been a few years since DIY is back in vogue. Thanks to audio-visual-oriented social media such as YouTube or Pinterest, Internet users are now aware of all the magnificent objects and clothes they can make by themselves, through tutorials posted on these platforms. For some time now, people have been making shelves for their bathrooms, they have been building benches for their balconies, or they have been customizing old clothes to give them a new life. Lately, people have been realizing that making stuff is within easy reach and all these tutorials got them more interested in learning real skills.
In the past, all the ‘do-it-yourself’ activities seemed to be reserved to middle-aged women and men looking for a hobby. Lately, barriers have fallen: there is no age or gender to do a specific activity. Sixteen-year-old girls have been building furniture for their pets, dads have been customizing flowerpots with paint for their gardens, and kids have been sewing.
If you believe this is not a kid’s activity, you’re mistaken. Most of the kids whose mothers are sewing love participating while they are doing it. And if you’re not into sewing, maybe your kid is. Kids surely need to frequently play sports or a music instrument for their physical and artistic development but it’s also important that they learn how to make a project from A to Z. Sewing is a great way to learn a know-how and specific skills so as to create a garment they can use afterwards, out of pieces of fabric.
There are a lot of places that actually offer sewing for beginners but if you already want initiate your kid to sewing, here is what you need to know:
6 years old is a great age to begin but if you want to start before, there are actually a lot of stuff that you can make them do step by step: show them firstly how to fold the pieces of fabrics, then let them pin pompons for example, the third time give them a crochet needle until she is able to understand how sewing is working. Then you can give them fun cards to sew with a round needle.
Teach concepts, not rules. Kids need to be focused on the activity and if you’re talking too much about theory, they will give up pretty quick. Plus, rules prevent from thinking outside the box. You can start by talking about sewing basics (how to work with layers and stiches for example) while showing them how to do it.
Use simple supplies. Felt, flannel and knit fabrics are probably the best in order to teach kids how to sew, standard and crochet threads are the easiest to use, and sewing around simple shapes like stars, circles or hearts simplifies it.
Have your kids pick the fabric, pattern, and needle…even if you think that it is going to look odd. Your kids need to feel that they are making the project by themselves! They will enjoy it more if they that they have decided everything to make it happen. You can of course give them some advice but they need to feel they will have the last word.
Make it easy by showing them firstly how to do it by drawing actual lines on the fabric they can follow so their sewing will be approximately right.
Let your kids sew the same piece over and over so that they have time to properly learn how to sew this same piece by learning from their past mistakes. It will also boost their confidence by having them grow comfortable with this pattern. To make it less boring, you can change small details that don’t affect the main process (colors, fabrics…). One simple project can actually teach them a variety of sewing skills!
If teaching is not your cup of tea, you have to know that sewing classes are popping up here and there, and from now on, they all have classes for kids. And don’t worry, workshops for kids is a good thing. Indeed, teachers have the power to push the kids to go beyond themselves whereas you would think they are not ready or too young to understand. Moreover, kids have less patience with their parents and reciprocally, so they will be more eager to listen to someone that is not their parents. Also, workshops allow the kid to meet others kids who share the same passion and to socialize in a new context.