Teaching kids to sew

Sewing pajamas

My favorite hobby is sewing; especially quilting. When I started having grandsons, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to share my love of sewing and quilting with grandchildren. After I thought about it a bit, I realized that I can share my love of sewing and quilting with boys as easily as with girls. We may be sewing different things with the grandsons than I would have with granddaughters but it is just as much fun. Every year, when we head out to Idaho to visit our grandsons I plan a sewing project.

The boys are finally old enough to work with patterns and follow the written directions. I like to choose the pattern before we leave Iowa as I can ensure the pattern will be easy to follow with a little guidance from me.

This year and last year, we opened the patterns and looked at the instructions before heading out to the fabric store. We circled the size we planned to make so that we were prepared when we selected fabric. They boys choose a fabric, take the bolt to the cutting counter, and tell the clerk how much fabric they need. The also read the pattern to select any thread or notions they might need to construct their garment. Of course, this is the fun, easy part of the process. They do love to shop at the fabric store.

I find it easiest to work with one child at a time. We preshrink fabric if needed and then cut out the pattern pieces. Pinning the pieces onto the fabric and explaining straight of grain makes this process take a bit of time. Explaining that careful cutting saves time later is often a difficult concept for them to understand.

Finished Ppajamas

I’ve taught them to pin the pieces together and I try to get them to sew slowly enough to follow the seam guide imprinted on the needle plate. Their skills have improved over the years, but it is still hard to sew a long seam or a curvy seam. This year, I set in the sleeves on a pajama top and I always take out mistakes for the boys when they make an error. I want sewing to be fun and challenging, not discouraging.

Choosing pajama or shorts patterns ensures that the finished garment will be useful. They are always proud to wear something they made themselves.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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