Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sewing Lessons at Grammas

We had sewing lessons at Gramma’s house last weekend. I invited only Grace, 4 yrs old, and Anne, 5 yrs old, to come because having lots of little ones around can be dangerous with needles, pins and scissors. Anne has sewn with me before, but this was Graces first time. We had another attendee too; Ryan who is 11 yrs old. He was visiting Anne’s family and thought he would come and do art while the girls were sewing, but right away he asked to sew too; he thought it looked fun.

I gave him a piece of cloth and showed him some basics; threading a needle, tying the thread, a running stitch. He quickly mastered it all and asked for more instructions. I was not prepared for a project for him but soon we found something he would like to make; a holder for his ipod. I have a stocked sewing room and we picked out fabric for it. Here is were I found the instructions for the ipod holder. It seemed simple enough so we proceeded. I watched him do a practice run on the sewing machine, and he was great at it, so I watched as he made his holder.

And here is his finished project! We put a hook and loop closure on it and belt loops on the back too. He was so happy with it and he wants to come back for more lessons.

Anne wanted to make another hair accessory as a present for yet another friend, and she quickly finished. Then she asked to do something else using a technique like Grace’s project. She made a small heart, and glued a picture of her family on it.
Grace is not into girlie stuff and her favorite color is red. She loves dinosaurs, and that is what I picked for her very first lesson. This is the first time Grace has used a needle and she did an excellent job! We used a 2 ¼ inch steel yarn needle; it’s thick and not as sharp as a regular needle. As young as she is and her first time sewing, I didn’t want her to hurt herself with a regular needle. I had her color a dinosaur I had outlined onto a piece of loosely woven cloth. (fabric with a loose weave works great for beginners, starting with yarn instead of thread)

We used two separate pieces of fabric and she colored both. I heat set the crayon colored fabric with my iron, making sure to cover my ironing board and the fabric with paper to protect both surfaces from melting crayon.

With front and back pieces of fabric together, design side out, I slipped it into a hoop. I used a marker to make dots where she should put her needle in. I turned the hoop and fabric over and marked again the barely visible dots on the back side.

I showed her how to put her needle into a dot and pull it tight, but not too tight. Then how to hold the base of the needle where the yarn is so it won’t pull out of the needle while pulling it through the fabric.

She tried so hard to do it just right; look at that concentration! When she was tired of sewing, I took the project to the sewing machine and did a zigzag stitch around it leaving an opening for stuffing. I showed her how to stuff her dinosaur, pushing the small bits of stuffing all the way down using a pencil. When it was full I stitched it close on the sewing machine.

We had such a good time and the kids gained self confidence, and learned some valuable skills. I know I can't wait to do this again!

There is a book that has a project very similar to the dinosaur project that Grace made, it's titled Sewing School. It has great projects for boys as well as girls, and includes patterns enclosed in the back of the book. Look for it under 'Shop My Amazon Store.'


  1. What a great project! The concentration on her face is so sweet and you can sure tell them are intent on what they are learning! Good Job Grandma!

  2. It is often a challenge to write instructions clearly and well, but you do a great job here. The kids' projects turned out nicely, and it is clear that everyone involved had fun and came away with a feeling of accomplishment. Kudos to you!

  3. Great photos. What fun projects! Proves that even boys appreciate sewing fun, especially considering the awesome product that results. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Loved the ideas. I plan to try the dinosaur project with my own grandkids.
    Thank you.

  5. Thanks everyone! We had a recent ‘incident’ with sewing. The 2 older girls talked me into allowing them to sew while I was also looking after the 2 babies. Usually that is a big NO because they can keep you busy enough helping them without the added stress of 2 crawling babies. Well, a needle was lost on a bathroom run and panic set in while we searched and searched for the needle! I had immediately put babies in the pac n play to keep them safe. Just remember to enforce good safety rules with the kids. Needles and pins (count them so you know when 1 is lost) stay in sewing area and are placed in a pincushion when you do not have them in your hand. All sewing tools/items are put down before leaving sewing area.

  6. Cute blog! Thanks for finding me - and good for you to teach your grandkids to sew! I love the dinosaur stitched around the edges in the hoop then stuffed! I love it because sewing is more of a lost art nowadays.

  7. I sew with my grandaughters too but they are mostly older now - it is their favorite birthday present - a workshop with Grandma to make a project. Last one was a bag to hold music books for piano lessons. Next week we are making doll clothes and embroidering them. They have graduated to using the sewing machine. I sewed for years when my kids were young and then quit. Now I am enjoying it again.! Thanks for all the good ideas!

    1. Gosh it sounds like you could write a few good post about sewing lesson yourself! Glad you found me :) Stop by again.


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